Tiger Woods may have complained about deep bunkers and long rough when playing links golf at the Open, but for Northcliffe members facing the might of Royal St. George’s it was all about the challenge!With the wet weather conditions of the past few months the rough at this Championship course which has hosted so many Opens, was as fierce and thick as could be. Despite all the heavy recent heavy rain though, the fairways and greens were in great condition.For those who ventured into the rough, maybe losing the odd ball or two, the local advice was pretty simple and something Tiger should have done … keep it on the fairway and you won’t have a problem.That is what two players did as they both scored a fantastic 43 points each and had to be separated on count back! What a finish to the morning “President’s Cup” competition and it was such a shame that the winner, Mike Wall from Evenbase, had to be determined this way although the only consolation for the runner up, Rob Thomas, from Jobsite, was that he was only cut 2 shots to 12 handicap under the Society’s rules for his 43 points while Mike was cut 3 shots so that he now plays off 9!

There was a five shot gap to the next two finishers who again had to be separated on count back rules and it was Jonathan Brooke, again from Jobsite, who had a better back nine with his 38 points over Nick Stevens from the Mail newspapers. Close up in 5th placed with 36 points was retired Mail on Sunday executive Phil Barber and that infamous Wooden Spoon had a new owner, UK Metro “Captain” John Leitch.

“What a wonderful experience to come and play such a great course. We are so lucky with the courses that we get to play but this is really extra special,” Mike said as he received his prize from Committee member Lisa Heywood who was deputising at the evening prize-giving for Society Captain John Bird who was unable to stay for the afternoon round of his “Captain’s Day”.

Mike had such a slow start to his winning round that he thought there would be no way that he could win, but things changed dramatically for him when his third shot to the green on the long Par 4 fourth hit the flag and dropped into the hole for a birdie!

“When things like that happen you just know that the golfing gods are with you and everything seemed to go right afterwards,” he said.

The guest prize was won by former Northcliffe and retired HQP member Bob Villa with 39pts who was invited by Captain John Bird to join him for the game.

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Trophy winner Mike, who the handicap committee now think they may have caught up with after his recent triumphs, had the good sense to pick himself in the fund raising “Back the Winner” competition, along with John Leitch, Alistair Potter and Stuart Passmore. They all won £40 each with £80 raised for Society funds.

There were five winners in the 2’s competition, Derek Price, David Crump, Graham Fuller, George Deedes and Rob Thomas who all received £15 each.

The afternoon greensomes competition for the Viscountess Rothermere Cup was just as fiercely competed for with Northcliffe Media’s John Tucker, assisted by guest John Stevens, winning with 48 points. They were just one point clear of Nick Stevens and partner Paul Hunt from Euromoney with morning winner, Mike Wall and his partner Dan Martin from Broadbean in third with 43 points and Alistair Sinclair, former deputy Editor of the Daily Mail in fourth with Daily Mail photographer David Crump.

Nearest the Pin in the morning on the 6th was Graham Fuller and the 16th Barry Theobald and in the afternoon on the 3rd Nigel d’Cruze and the 11th Nick Stevens.

The Northcliffe Committee has agreed that at least one fixture during the Society’s year should be played on a links course and next year the Society has book Royal Cinque Ports, Deal, for Monday, July 8.

Before the prize-giving, secretary Garth Burden, paid a special tribute to long time member and supporter of the Society, John Drysdale, who had died a just over a week earlier.

“It is such a really sad thing when you lose a good friend and colleague like John but the only consolation is that he really enjoyed life, his golf and this Society and he lived life to the full” Garth said.

“If he had been looking down on us today as we missed putts and hunted for balls in the rough he would have had a big smile on this face. He will be greatly missed”.

John’s name appears on many of the trophies in the Young Street Trophy Cabinet.

His funeral at Croydon Crematorium was very well attended by both his golfing friends and former colleagues at the office.

The next Society golf day will be after the Inter-Company competition at Coombe Hill on Sept 24.

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