New professional team takes over at Worlebury

PUBLISHED: 12:39 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:39 13 December 2017

Scott and Roy.

Scott and Roy.

Archant

A new team of professionals has been announced to take over at Worlebury Golf Club.

Weston Golf Club held its annual presentation evening when all the cups, trophies and shields are presented to the winners of the competitions from throughout the year.

The awards were presented by club captain Glenn Taylor.

The seniors held their annual prizegiving and Christmas lunch. The event was presided over by seniors’ vice-captain Eddie Langford with the prizes being presented by captain Robin Webb.

The major competition winners this season were: Neil Horsfield (seniors champion), Robin Webb (matchplay cup, after defeating his vice-captain in the final), Nick Bohin (Jonathan Latham Trophy), Phil Eastman (Alan Holt Trophy), Alan Harris (Captain’s Trophy) and Peter Alcock (Over-80s Cup).

The winners of the inaugural 125 Cup, created to celebrate the club’s 125th anniversary, were Steve Strange, Ron Kelley and John Stokes.

The weekly chairman’s roll-up saw the annual end of year competition which consisted of a team bowmaker and an individual Stableford with the winner receiving the Thai Cup.

The individual competition was closely fought with the top three players recording a score of 38 points and having to be separated on countback. The winner of the Thai Cup with the best back nine was Paul Chesney; runner-up was Dave Snowdon with Alan Harris in third. Mick McKee came fourth with 37 and John Whitewood fifth with 36.

The winners of the bowmaker competition were Dave Holder, Dave Snowdon and John Whitewood with 81 points. Just one point behind on 80 were Alan Harris, Jimmy Sookphanich and Paul Parker and in third spot with 78 were Ian Pitt, Mark Short and Kenton Simpson.

Most notable statistics from the season included best average points scored by Jimmy Sookphanich with 37.21, Jimmy also recorded the most individual wins with six, followed by Fred Donbavand on five. The players who came in with most bowmaker wins were Ricky Chow with 16 and Fred Donbavand with 12.

The seniors held a Stableford and the first qualifying round of the winter eclectic with a much-reduced field due to a cold, windy day.

Thirty-six hardy souls braved the wintry conditions and the scores returned were reflected by the weather. Just one point covered the first five places with all of them being decided on countback.

In first place with 35 points and the better back nine was Ron Kelley with Tony Barry in second. Third position went to Steve Thomas with Terry Holden in fourth and Mike Dyer fifth with all three on 34 points. Just three twos were achieved by John Blackett, Paul Chesney and Dyer.

In a period of change, Worlebury saw the new professional team taking up office and the ladies’ and seniors’ captains appointed for next year, following their respective annual meetings.

Lady captain Lorna Macivor will bring her own brand of leadership and experience to the section. A retired PE teacher from Bolton, Lorna moved to Weston for family reasons 10 years ago, taking up golf just before the move.

Lorna is eagerly looking forward to the year ahead and aims to put a smile on every golfer’s face, have fun, encourage the higher handicappers to improve their game and raise funds for her chosen charity, the Freewheelers. With Eunice McAdams they will form a great partnership.

Mike Strang took over as seniors’ captain for the second time. Mike, who needs no introduction, is a popular choice and while Barry Newson will be a hard act to follow, with his experience and having John Yates as his right-hand man, the future for the section is bright.

Scott Thompson has taken over as head professional at the club. Scott is part of a Worlebury golfing dynasty that goes back several decades when his grandfather, John Devoto, became a member.

John was a well-loved and highly respected Worlebury character and is one of Scott’s golfing heroes. Scott’s dad, Roger, is a long-standing Worlebury member and his cousin, Pete Blunden, was a prominent junior, who captained the section in 2004.

With John’s encouragement Scott joined the junior section in 1990. He started with a handicap of 40 which quickly tumbled as he worked hard and showed a natural aptitude for the game.

By the age of 14 he was down to single figures and won his first board competition, the WD Payne Flag Cup. As a junior he won the nett junior championship and represented the club’s second and third teams in the Bristol and District League.

At the age of 17, Scott was invited to join the professional team at Weston and shortly after this started his professional training. He went on to gain experience at The Players Club, Bleadon and Mendip Spring, where he still has an attachment.

As well as developing the commercial and coaching side of the game, Scott has continued to play tour golf and has had a good record over the years playing in the South West pro circuit.

Scott is taking over at Worlebury from Gary Marks, whom he counts as another one of his golfing heroes.

The next generation is on its way with Scott’s nine-year-old son Jacob, showing an interest and early promise in the game.

Scott’s assistant is 26-year-old Roy Baker, who started playing golf as a junior at Burnham and Berrow after a serious leg injury put his rugby playing on hold. His successful time in the juniors had many highs.

It helped develop his passion for golf, saw him getting down to scratch, being junior captain and representing the county.

Roy decided to move his interest in sport up to another level and went to the University of the West of England (Hartpury College site) to study sports exercise science and psychology. Whilst there, Roy captained the university golf team.

During this time he was a member at Brean winning their club championship in 2011 and being part of their Somerset Bowl winning team that year. At one stage Roy played off plus two.

Roy made a decision to turn pro in 2013 and took up his first position as an assistant at Brean. He started playing on the SW circuit and won his first pro event shortly after turning pro.

He qualified as PGA professional in 2016. Whilst at Brean he was approached by Nick and Carole Pope at Isle of Wedmore to become their assistant, working there before joining Scott at Mendip Spring.

Roy will be the front of house at Worlebury and is relishing the opportunity to further develop his career. He aims to work with the members in providing a quality service and through lessons improve the physical and mental side of their game. Roy, like Scott, has an interest and commitment to junior golf.

Roy lives in Cheddar and has a budding golfer in his three-year-old son Hugo.

The team is completed by seasoned professional George Ryall, one of the most prominent competitive professionals in the region. George has more than 30 years experience as a PGA professional and had many notable successes in that time. He continues to play on the European senior tour and the South West circuit.

Barry Newson’s final event was to host the traditional senior’s Christmas competition and lunch. The golf had a full field and was won by John Ratajczak, partnered by John Taylor with an amazing 49 points.

Frank Barlow and Mike Strang came second on countback edging out Andy Francis and Steve Zanelli, both pairs scoring 47 points.

The nen’s December Stableford also drew a big field. Mark Terry top scored with 42 points to win Division 2. Kevin Marshall was runner-up with 41 and Rich Exon third with 39.

John Melwani won the Division 1 with an excellent, 39 points. Countback was required to determine the rest of the prizes with Ken Hanson pipping Jim Walton and Tony Westren, each scoring 38 points.

A relative newcomer, Ricky Bennett, won Division 3 with 41 points. Adrian Heeney was runner-up with 39 and Chris Taylor third with 38.

The majority of prize winners were further rewarded with a stroke coming off their respective handicaps.

The open pairs saw a photo finish with countback needed to separate the top three. Roger Thompson and Keiron Osmond took the honours, pipping Andy Nicholls/ Lee Grant and Keri Allchurch/Steve Taylor, each pair notching 43 points.

Former lady captain Michelle James had her first hole-in-one playing in the winter knockout when partnering Maxine Gardiner.

It came on the sixth hole when Michelle launched a beautifully flighted five-wood that pitched just short and right of the green, rolled down the bank and nestled against the flag. This helped the pair win the tie and progress to the next round.

Twenty-seven professionals came to Worlebury to take part in the Gloucester and Somerset PGA medal. Conditions were difficult which may explain only two players shooting under par.

Clevedon assistant Ashley Mansell and Brickhampton’s Ross Langdon shared top spot, both shooting 68s. Tall Pine’s Luke Collins had a roller coaster round which included seven excellent birdies, but could only finish third with a one over par round of 71. The highlight of the day was Chipping Sodbury’s Robin Goodey’s hole-in-one on the second.

Rain was not enough to stop a visit from Father Christmas to the ladies at Wedmore.

He was there to see them off on the bowmaker that preceded their Christmas party and the rain had little effect on the scoring either.

This was particularly true for the winning team of Annya Patten, Linda Roberts and Ashley Ribi, who amassed a wonderful 46 points which put them three clear of the next three teams.

This log jam was cleared as usual by countback which gave runners-up place to Claire Biggs, Val Rosser and Jan Simmons, ahead of Marlyn Jackson, Jenny Thomas and Jill Cornelius with Rachel Lockley, Marion Warren-Smith and Marie Mackle pushed down into fourth.

Earlier in the week, the seniors had played the second round of their Winter Stableford League with some excellent scores. Peter Bennett scored 44 which won Division 1 and jumped him to the top of the overall league.

Bradley Speller took second place on 41 with Graham Clifford third on 40, which was enough to put him second in the cumulative league. He is joined in that position by Mike Peacock who won Division 2 with 42 points.

Chris McGowan took second place in the division on 39, one point better than third-placed Barry Royal.

There was a close finish in Division 3 with Keith Bellingham just winning on countback from Mike Nicholls after both scored 41. Gary Cutter was third on 40.

Highlight of the club Stableford was a one under par gross 69 , winning Division 1 on 42, two better than Dave King, who in turn was two better than third-placed John Wormald.

Best points score of the day though was 43 points from Jay James, winning Division 2 by four points from Brian Webber with Brian Fry third on countback.

A tight finish to Division 3 saw Michael Sinclair beat Richard Taylor on countback with both scoring 41, one better than third-placed Pete Beavan.

Claire Biggs was the clear winner of the ladies in a restricted field.

Brean seniors’ secretary Tony Roper was the overall winner of the December Stableford with a superb 42 points, but shot of the day went to the Division 1 winner John Cranley.

Despite only carding 36 points, Cranley was the Division 1 leader and that was thanks in part to a hole-in-one at the 14th. Neither Cranley or his playing partners saw his hybrid struck tee shot land and assumed it had gone through the back of the green until they found it nestling in the bottom of the hole cup for an ace.

The four Stableford points he gained helped him edge past Ron Edmondson for victory with Brian Read finishing third.

In recent months, the lower handicaps had produced the lowest scoring but this was not the case in the final Stableford of the year.

Roper won’t be in a position to win Division 2 again for a while though as his handicap dropped by two shots to 18 as a result of his success. Roger Phillips was the runner-up with 38, while Bob Hurrell was third on 35.

Pete Dunn gave his Winter League qualification hopes a boost with a win in last Saturday’s round. The former winner of the event scored 42 points to win by a single point from Matt Haskins.

Both Dunn and Haskins had their handicaps reduced as a result of their excellent scores.Third place was decided on countback with Pete Barton getting the verdict on the better back nine of all the 36-point cards that were returned.

The poor weather of Sunday morning led to the final monthly medal of 2017 being cancelled.

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