East Devon Handicap Challenge joy for Robert Dance

PUBLISHED: 08:55 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:55 04 July 2019

East Devon golf club. Ref exsp 25 17TI 5401. Picture: Terry Ife

East Devon golf club. Ref exsp 25 17TI 5401. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

The second round of the Scratch and Handicap Challenge took place at East Devon on the final Saturday of June, writes Paul Willoughby.

The handicap bit you can understand but the Scratch bit/portion you might not; it's where there is no handicap advantage and you play level with your opponents and the course.

The best description would be like pitting the worst player in the club against the best, on equal terms or like me playing against Tiger Woods. It is a very impressive challenge and requires everyone to raise their game.

Well, Wimbledon starts today and whilst that heralds the start of an exciting action packed fortnight, I use it as a reminder that The Open is not far away.

This is the highlight of the UK's golfing year and will take place on the Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland between July 18 and 21.

There will be 156 players and at the moment, Rory McIlroy and America's Brooks Koepka are the bookies' favourite with odds of 10-1. Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods are just off the lead with odds of 12-1. The concentration required to maintain a good score is immense - it's bad enough when we play just one round at East Devon but imagine having to keep that concentration for four rounds with thousands of people watching you and millions more glued to their television screens!

Lesser mortals would crumble. Watching the US Open a few weeks ago I was heartened to hear the many golfing experts in the crowd shouting, 'In the hole' when the ball has just been hit from the tee on a par 5, 520 yard hole.

Oh what joy that brought to my heart and reminded me how glad I am that I live this side of the Atlantic!

Unfortunately some of those 'experts' (from the order Dipsticcus Stupidus - and we have some home grown ones as well) will be attending Portrush so you'll no doubt hear their outbursts; they should be asked to leave the course as their stupid shout does nothing to aid the concentration of the players.

Now those results; first the Handicap Challenge and the winner was Robert Dance with rounds of 70 and 71 giving him a total of 141. Well done, Robert. Second by a whisker was Tom Peters with 72 and 70 -142 and third by an even smaller whisker and on countback was Tom's father, Guy Peters also with 70 and 72 - 142.

The Scratch Challenge was also won by Robert Dance with scores of 73 and 74 - 147. You were on fire that day, Rob. Second was Robin Murray with scores of 75 and 75 - 150, and third was our head greenkeeper, Paul Newcombe with scores of 74 and 77 - 151.

Well, that was my last golfing article for the Journal. After six and a half years I've decided to hang up my quill so I hope you have enjoyed my verbal meanderings and thank you for reading them.

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