After weeks of persistent rain it was fortunate that The Bainbridge Shield final this year was held at Copt Heath Golf Club, one of our driest courses, which was in excellent condition for the time of year and perfect for this late match.
This year the finalists were the pairings of Liam Phipps and Mike Pell from Olton Golf Club and Arran Brown and Ross Anderson from Ladbrook Park.
The players and officials were met by Tony Moon, Copt Heath Club's Manager, who turned up at the crack of dawn to ensure that everything was in place for a prompt start at 7.45am for the 36 hole Final.
It is fair to say that with both Olton players having plus handicaps, they were probably the favourites for the day.
However, the morning round saw Olton make a mistake on the 1st hole by missing the fairway and losing a ball in the bushes to go one down. This seemed to set the scene for the morning round with Ladbrook playing the steadier golf and Olton making the mistakes, allowing Ladbrook to go into lunch with a 5 up lead.
The afternoon round turned out to be an extraordinary game of golf with the match swinging both ways.
Ladbrook got off to a poor start dropping 2 shots on the tough opening 4 holes and then with Olton making birdie 2 on the 5th, the Ladbrook lead was reduced to 2up. It appeared that Olton were now in the driving seat and Ladbrook were beginning to struggle.
A fine putt on the 6th from Ross saw Ladbrook hang on to their 2up lead and then on the 7th hole when Olton looked like making a birdie 4, it was Ladbrook who made the 4 and won the hole bringing them back to 3up. This seemed to settle the Ladbrook players and with more steady golf from them over the next 3 holes saw them go 5up with 8 holes to play.
From this position it seemed to be Ladbrook were sat firmly back in the driving seat. However, it was Olton who settled down to play steady golf and Ladbrook's putters turned little cold by 3 putting 3 times on the way home together with a poor drive brought them back to 1up with 2 to play.
A great birdie 3 on the 17th by Olton brought the match back to level for the first time.
Olton appeared to waste no time in deciding that Mike would take a driver from the tee on the par 4 332yard final hole. Straight from the Clubface the ball never left sight of the green and pitched in the green centre, stopping on the putting surface. A fantastic drive setting up Olton’s victory.
Congratulations to our champions, Liam and Mike, and commiserations to Arran and Ross who continued to fight to the end. It was a great achievement to get to the final of this event considering that over 60 teams entered.
Both teams were extremely complimentary to Copt Heath Golf Club and Liam also thanked the Union for all their support.
by Graham Barton
Warwickshire Union President