THE WINNING STOCKS TEAM PICTURED WITH STOCKS CLUB CAPTAIN DAVID GOOCH (CENTRE). STOCKS TEAM FROM L TO R, ROSS KEMP, ALEX GROOM, CARLO NOVIELLO AND RYAN SMITH.
35 pairs of low handicap golfers made up the field yesterday for the Men's County Foursomes Championship hosted this year by Stocks Golf Club, a private members club located in the very Western extremity of the county.
The weather forecast for the day had looked fairly bleak in the days leading up to the event, with heavy rain and even thunder and lightening predicted, but thankfully the weather experienced on the day, although unpleasant at times on the day for the competitors, was benign enough to get 36 holes completed.
The course which sits on a chalk subsoil drained exceptionally well considering the wet weather leading up to the event and a deluge overnight.
The blustery wind which gusted up as they day went on provided a real test for the players on the fairly exposed to the elements par 73 course, that combined with the long and thick 'tiger' rough punishing offline shots created the greatest challenge on the day. Despite being a long course on the card, 6700 yards+ from the white tees, the design and set up actually favours accurate hitting from the tee over long and potentially wild hitting. Many of the pairs who hadnt played the course prior to the day spent a lot of time searching for balls in the aforementioned rough!
After the morning round the scratch handicap Royston pair of Ollie Bance and former Cambridgeshire county player Stuart Philips led the field after an excellent round of 70 (-3), by 1 shot from the Harpenden Common pairing of the long hitting Josh Emerton and the ever reliable Lewis Watcham on 71, neither of which had played the course before. Also under par after 18 holes were the home pairing of Alex Groom and Carlo Noviello with a 1 under 72 and a shot further back were the former County Champions pairing of Alex Collman and Tony Wilkins of Harpenden Common after a round of level par 73.
In the afternoon round in arguably worsening conditions the home pair of Groom and Noviello stormed through the field to take the title with an fabulous pm round of 70 (-3) to add to their am 72 (-1) for a highly impressive 36 hole gross total of 142 (-4) for the day. Bance and Philips faded in the afternoon with a 78 (+5) for a total of 148 (+2) and 4th place. Collman and Wilkins added another 73 in the pm and a total of 146, level par for the day and good enough for the runners up position. In 3rd place were the Emerton and Watcham pairing with 147 (+1) after a pm 76. The round of the day was achieved in the pm round by current County Champion Joss Gosling and partner Tom Speyer, fresh off his excellent showing at the recent England Champion Club Final at Romford (-6 for 36 holes), of Harpenden with an excellent round of 69 (-4), unfortunatetly their morning round left them too much to do to overly trouble the leaders.
In the team event with the cumulative score of the pairs used, despite Harpenden Common having the 2nd and 3rd placed pairs, they were pipped the Peggy Harkett Memorial Trophy by the home team of Stocks with the winners aided by the pairing of Ross Kemp and Ryan Smith with a total of 150 (+4) across the day, taking the title by a single shot with a impressive score of 292, level par for the day versus Harpenden Common's score of 293, +1 for the day.
Our thanks go to Stocks for hosting the event in such excellent fashion. The course was presented to an excellent standard, particularly considering the weather leading up to the event and the food on the day was 1st class as was the welcome and service in the clubhouse. We hope to return to Stocks in the near future for more county events.
Next year's event will be hosted by Letchworth Golf Club on Sunday 20th September 2020.
WINNING PAIR ALEX GROOM & CARLO NOVIELLO OF STOCKS WITH CLUB CAPTAIN DAVID GOOCH