A significant event in St Austell Golf Club’s Centenary Year was the Cornwall Golf Union’s Cornwall Amateur Championship Meeting, held for the very first time at St Austell in May 2011.
The first Championship was in 1896, and for many years it was held predominantly at the five courses: St Enodoc, Trevose, Newquay, Tehidy and West Cornwall. In 1974 Carlyon Bay was added to the rota, and since then other courses have been included.
Pictured above Captain Glyn Rowett with President of the English Golf Union, Anthony Abraham, President Barry Ross and Cornwall Golf Union President Gerry A. Fitter, MBE.
The greens staff have been up since dawn preparing the course, with Simon Harper selecting the pin markings. The course and surroundings look fantastic, with the County Golf Union flag flying alongside our new Centenary flag and flowers in the county colours at the entrance to the club house and surrounding the first tee.
At 8.00am, with the sound system kindly donated by St Mewan School all set up, our proud starter, Ray Allen, in his original club tie, is ready and waiting to announce the players. Day 1 is the County Goblets, in which we have six pairs playing in a massive field of 114 pairs. There are mixed fortunes for club members, with a commendable 4th place for Dave Behennah and Brian Waters. Many positive comments about the course relieve our trepidation.
At 7.30am our A Team have a briefing and the players are kitted out with their new team jumpers and windproof tops. In the morning round we play Perranporth and triumph 2-1, Alex Symes and Simon Harper winning the first match out. P.J. Lund and Dan Olver win 1 up, with Chris Bailey and Billy Couzens losing on the 18th in a close encounter.
In the afternoon we are drawn in the quarter finals to play Truro, who are favourites to win with an average handicap of +1. Chris and Billy have a fine win 2 & 1, Simon and Alex lose on the 18th and after 18 holes still level, P.J. and Dan Olver have to go to the 19th, which they sadly lose.
It is lovely to see two ladies assisting on the tee as starters; the Lady Captain, Sylvia Rawle and Jan Bridges, from the Centenary Committee. In the final of the team championship Tehidy beats Trevose to take the Club Championship. There is also a good field for the Royal Cornwall Challenge Cup, In the evening I collect the English Golf Union President Anthony Abrahams, our guest of honour for Wednesday’s dinner, from the station and take him to the White Hart Hotel. This is kindly paid for, in addition to their donation, by St Austell Brewery.
The main event of the week, the Cornwall Amateur Championship. Three of our members take part in the 36-hole stroke play, where the field is whittled down to 32 players who move on to the match play stage.
Pride of place goes to Darren Wisdom, who shoots two excellent rounds of 74 and 72 for a total of 146 and qualification in a tie for 9th place. Playing off a handicap of 6, Darren’s net score of 134 is enough to earn him a one-shot victory in the Handicap Challenge Cup.
The other two players have a much harder time, Simon Harper’s total of 154 (76 + 78) is only good enough for a five-way tie for 31st and a place in a five-man play-off for the final two places. The first two play-off holes (1 & 2) see one player clinch a place with a birdie at the 1st and another two players eliminated after bogeys at either the 1st or 2nd, leaving Simon and one other to do battle down the 18th. This hole is halved in par-4s, but Simon’s birdie on the 4th play-off hole (again up the 1st) is enough to earn him the final spot in the draw. Nigel Tucker is disappointed to miss out after his total of 155 (81 + 74) leaves him just one shot outside the play-off.
In the evening a Centenary Plate Presentation Dinner at the Golf Club is organised by the Centenary Committee. Among the 60 attending are representatives from most golf clubs in the county, our sponsors, St Austell Brewery, with Sales Director Ian Blunt, many past Captains of the club and the Cornwall Golf Union, including the current County President, Mr Gerry Fitter.
Following a first-class dinner the President of the English Golf Union, Mr Anthony Abraham, presents the Centenary Plate to the Captain of St Austell Golf Club, Mr Glyn Rowett. The attendance by the President of the English Golf Union is a great honour and appreciated by all. I make one error in my speech and justly get my rewards when following the presentation the diners are entertained by local comedian Johnny Cowling.
The draw for the knockout stages see Darren Wisdom pitted against former champion Richard Simmons from Tehidy and Simon Harper against the No.1 seed Adam Taylor of Perranporth. Unfortunately, Darren is unable to repeat his excellent Wednesday form and goes down 3 & 2, but Simon’s form improves as he gains a 3 & 2 morning win over Taylor, which he follows with a 1 hole afternoon win over Max Billingsley from Lanhydrock to set up a quarter final clash with Simmons on Friday morning.
In the Western Morning News Challenge Cup Chris Bartlett has a fine Nett 67 to finish runner-up closely behind Jack Smith from the China Fleet Club, who features in just about every daily competition. He is later asked his handicap by the County team Captain when he names the County team.
The President of the CGU entertains the Captain, President and Secretary of the Club, together with the Vice President and Secretary of the CGU and our wives. He personally thanks the Club for hosting the event and for the support we had given his team. I respond that we are proudto hold the County Championships in our Centenary year at St Austell Golf Club.
Friday dawns chilly and overcast, with a hint of rain in the air but this does not deter the B Team as they set off at 08.24amin search of silverware against old rivals Tehidy Park. With successes by Danny Pearce and John Richards, and Simon Smith and Glyn Rowett, the B Team win 2-1 and set up an afternoon semi-final against Newquay. This is another tight match which sees Darren and Nigel losing on the 18th and Simon and Glyn winning by 2 up.
With the teams tied at one game apiece Danny and JR halve their match, forcing extra holes. This turns out to be a marathon affair going to five extra holes before Newquay prevails to go through to beat St Enodoc and win the final of the B Team Championship.
The morning action in the Cornwall Amateur Championship sees Simon Harper take on Richard Simmons of Tehidy Park in the quarter final. A see-saw first 12 holes sees Simon take a narrow one-hole lead into the last third of the match. The match is decided dramatically over the next few holes when first Simon holes from 200 yards on the 13th for an eagle two before finishing the match off on the 16th with a hole-in-one to move into the semi-final for the first time.
Unfortunately, Simon’s luck deserts him in the afternoon when a lost ball in the trees on the 8th is sandwiched by birdies at the 7th and 9th by his opponent, Tom Fox of China Fleet, and sees him three down at the turn.
A level par back-nine is not good enough to make any major inroads into his opponent’s lead and he eventually goes down 3 & 1 when Tom drives the 17th and two putts for his birdie and a place in Saturday’s final against Josh Greenaway of Bowood.
Saturday’s programme starts at 9:00am with the Amateur Championship final 1st round between Tom Fox and Josh Greenaway, followed by the B Team final at 9:40am. The Saturday Medal starts at 10:00am and gives a good field of St.Austell members one last opportunity to pick up some silverware before the second round of the Amateur Championship final. Dan Olver does the club proud by winning the Saturday Medal competition with a Gross 73 Nett 69. In the evening he is correctly dressed with the help of the President.
At 1:00pm the finalists go out for their second round and some of the finest golf ever to be witnessed on our course is played by these two young golfers. Peter Marriot keeps us all updated on their phenomenal driving and excellent golf. Indeed this is one of the best finals in the County’s history. With Tom Fox 1 down playing the 18th, he birdies to put the game all level. The final has to be played to a conclusion over extra holes being the 1st, 2nd & 18th. With both players driving in a good position it is Tom Fox who plays the ball close to the 1st hole and sinks the putt in front of a good crowd to win the major event of the week, the County Amateur Championship.
The finale of the week is the presentation to all the week’s winners in the clubhouse at 5:30pm in front of a packed clubhouse. The County President invites me to say a few words on behalf of the club. My thanks go to all of the team who put in the extra hours to make this event function so well. I also thank the Cornwall County Golf Union for entrusting St Austell Golf Club with this major golfing event.
The staff are all invited to the presentation to hear the appreciation for the tremendous job they have done during the week. Special mention is made of Simon Harper for his help on the course and Ray Allen for his weather predictions, passed on to him by the buzzards and swallows. We have now greatly raised the club’s profile in Cornish golfing. We are now recognised as one of the county’s best kept courses and catering establishments.
As a committee we need to ensure we do not rest on our laurels and that we keep up these standards for the enjoyment of our members. Many thanks also to the Centenary Committee for their support in the preparation of this highly successful event.
All in all, I am a very proud captain of St Austell Golf Club.
Centenary Club Captain
To cap the week it was lovely to hear some great comments about our club: