A great 2018 - with Biggs' efforts leading the charge
PUBLISHED: 12:18 04 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:54 04 January 2019
The year of 2018 in Suffolk golf will be remembered for the feats of James Biggs of Diss, writes Tony Garnett.
He made a clean sweep of the Suffolk Golf Union silverware as well as getting his name on the prestigious Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog Golf Club previously won by Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Andy Sullivan and Russell Claydon.
Biggs and Chris Bartrum won the Macleod Cup as Suffolk Amateur Foursomes champions for the fourth successive year at Bury St Edmunds in April.
Biggs retained the Todd Cup as Suffolk Amateur champion at Rookery Park in June after a play-off with Sam Debenham (Hintlesham). He went on to win the President’s Mashie (the Suffolk amateur match-play) at Diss.
In August he won the Faraday Trophy as Suffolk Open champion at Bungay when he finished one shot ahead of professional Neil Mitchell who plays regularly in PGA East Region events.
Open holder Alfie Halil (Flempton) was unable to defend his title because he, together with Habebul Islam (Ipswich), was playing in the British Boys’ Championship at Royal Portrush.
It was a memorable year of learning for 17-year-old Habebul who played for England in the Boys’ Home internationals at Royal Dornoch. He also won the Ealing Trophy after a play-off and came fourth in the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters as well as making the cut regularly in national events including a third-place finish in the Tillman Trophy.
Suffolk men’s county team, under the captaincy of Jack Cardy, won three of their five Anglian League matches including a fine victory over Leicestershire who went into their final match at Stowmarket undefeated expecting to win the title. Suffolk’s victory let in Northamptonshire as champions.
Debenham used all his vast experience to be a solid county player while Paul Waring (Felixstowe Ferry) won the World Deaf Golf title at Carton House in Ireland. He also took third place in the Selborne Salver at Blackmoor.
Calvin Sherwood (Rookery Park), who plans to turn professional, was a consistent county player who won the Sir Nick Faldo Commemoration Jug at Welwyn Garden City in July.
Suffolk have four talented juniors. George Fricker (Woodbridge) won the Suffolk Junior Championship and put up a splendid show when third in the Boys’ Champion of Champions event at Woodhall Spa.
Fricker lost in the junior match play final to Halil who had been given a great battle in the semi-final by Max Adams (Bury St Edmunds).
Habebul, Fricker, Halil and Adams (all with plus handicaps) should form the backbone of Suffolk’s six-man team in the South East boys’ county qualifier at Orsett on July 4.
New Suffolk under 18 manager, John Maddock, has a realistic chance of leading his team to the boys’ county finals at the end of August.
Little was seen of Monty Scowsill (Aldeburgh) who was laid low by glandular fever or Gregor Tait who made his mark at Seton Hall in the United States.
Richard Beadles (Royal Worlington) became Suffolk PGA champion once again while Joe Cardy (Hintlesham) beat Will Farley (Rushmere) in the SPGA match play final at Diss clinching victory with an eagle on the 18th hole.
Cardy has taken over from his brother Jack as captain of the Suffolk men’s amateur team.
Andrew Robinson, then at Southwold but now at Felixstowe Ferry, won a trip to Portugal in the PGA National Pro-Am in the regional event at Thetford. His partner was James Smith. They both played in the finals at Vila Sol on The Algarve.
Robinson also won the SPGA Winter Cup winning a trophy which was originally the Seiko Trophy won by Bobby Ferguson, Jon Marks, Lee Dinmore and myself at Royal Mid Surrey at a Football Writers’ Association Golf Day. Seiko ceased to sponsor the event when it switched to Mottram Hall and I was given permission by FWA to give the trophy another use.
Jamie Abbott (Ipswich) remained a force in the Jamega Tour while Sam Forgan (Stowmarket) and Hugo Dobson (Woodbridge) always seemed on the fringe of a break through. Maybe they will enjoy better fortune in this year’s PGA European Tour qualifying school.
Alice Barlow (Hintlesham) was the Suffolk Ladies’ champion once again and has taken over as junior organiser.
Lottie Whyman won the Aster Salver at Sunningdale but fell ill overnight before the start of East County Week at Woodbridge.
Suffolk were also missing Fiona Edmund (Ipswich) who was suffering from an elbow injury which caused her to miss the main national senior events.
Even so Vanessa Bell came close to leading Suffolk to a second successive East title. Had Whyman and Edmund been available Suffolk would probably have retained their title.
Vicki Inglis takes over the Suffolk captaincy. She was another leading player unable to tee off in East Week.
The year saw the passing of Jon Marks, a former Suffolk captain and England senior international. He had dominated golf at Woodbridge being club champion on 18 occasions. He won the Golf Illustrated Gold Vase in 1983 and the Sherry Cup in Sotogrande the following year.
SGU presidents Dick Berendt and Vic Brega also passed away.
PARKS AND BEAUMONT DRAWS
This is the 18th season of the Parks Trophy which was presented by former SGU president, the late Maurice Parks.
Diss have won four times with Thorpeness and Ipswich three each. Rookery Park and Woodbridge have both won twice.
Holders Thorpeness visit Stowmarket in the second round.
Parks Trophy (for seniors with handicaps no higher than 12).
First round: 10 Diss v Bungay; 11 Flempton v Fynn Valley; 12 Haverhill v Ipswich; 13 Rookery Park v Woodbridge; 14 Southwold v Gorleston; 14 Hintlesham v Bury St Edmunds; 16 Ufford Park v Halesworth.
Second round: 15 v Felixstowe Ferry; 16 v Newton Green; Seckford v Aldeburgh; 11 v 14; 13 v 10; St Audrys v Brett Vale; Rushmere v 12; Stowmarket v Thorpeness.
The Beaumont Trophy is in its 10th year. Only Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds have won it twice. Other winners have been Brett Vale, Ipswich, Seckford, Ufford Park and holders Haverhill who entertain Fynn Valley in the first round.
The trophy was presented by the late Ray Beaumont of Bungay.
Beaumont Trophy (for seniors with handicaps between 13 and 20).
First round: 5 Haverhill v Fynn Valley; 6 Felixstowe Ferry v Rushmere; 7 Southwold v Bungay; 8 Beccles v Diss; 9 Bury St Edmunds v Brett Vale; 10 Woodbridge v Newton Green; 11 Kingfishers v Flempton; 12 Rookery Park v Hintlesham; 13 The Suffolk v Bramford; 14 Stowmarket v Thorpeness; 15 West Suffolk v Halesworth; 16 St Clements v Ipswich.
Second round: 14 v 6; Gorleston v 11; 7 v 5; 8 v 9; Seckford v Ufford Park; 10 v 13; 12 v 15; 16 v St Audrys.