Victory sees Brace complete the double

SCOTT Brace of Stoke by Nayland completed the double adding the President's Mashie, the Suffolk golf Union match play title, to the Wood Cup he won at Gorleston the previous week in the stroke play championship.

By Tony Garnett

SCOTT Brace of Stoke by Nayland completed the double adding the President's Mashie, the Suffolk golf Union match play title, to the Wood Cup he won at Gorleston the previous week in the stroke play championship.

Nineteen-year-old Brace beat Phil Vincent, who plays off three at Bungay, in a well contested final that went to the last green. Vincent seldom missed a fairway and chipped and putted well despite heavy showers that made both players thankful for efficient caddies.

Scott beat his best friend Rob Murray, with whom he will be going to college in the United States in August, and then his brother Liam, on the opening day.

In the semi-final he won a titanic tussle with Bradley Wilkins of Fynn Valley. Wilkins started with an eagle on the first hole and was never behind until the closing stages.

At the 15th his wayward drive was lost in thick bushes to the right and he conceded. Brace was ahead for the first time with a birdie at the 16th thanks to a five-iron that ended four feet from the pin.

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Wilkins found a greenside bunker.

At the 17th Wilkins gambled with his driver but once again it let him down. The ball was lost to the right and the match was effectively over.

Vincent had a marvellous tournament. He produced a shock by beating Suffolk first team regular Chris Smith (Fynn Valley) in the first round. Strange things can happen in match play but it soon became apparent that Vincent's success was no fluke. He demolished David James, the Gorleston Hambro player, 6 and 4 with a devastating spell midway through the round.

On Sunday Vincent continued to drive with accuracy, chip well and sink a good percentage of his putts. He was two under par by the time he had beaten another Suffolk county player, Michael Swan, on the last hole.

Swan holed an 18 foot putt to avoid going three down midway through the round. He reduced the margin to one and made a sporting gesture at the 16th after Vincent had sent his drive splendidly down the fairway but had played out of turn. Swan did not ask Vincent to play again which was within his rights.

In the final 30-year-old Vincent, a former pupil of Wymondham College where golf was never a priority sport, showed dogged tenacity against an opponent in fine form. His shot of the round came in the 170 yard 11th when he missed the green to the right and was in long wet grass. His chip hit the flagpole and he was able to secure his par.

The first day provided most of the drama at the very end under leaden skies with spells of torrential rain and flashes of lightning. All the matches were finished bar one when the weather intervened.

Tom Wright of Rushmere, having already beaten his younger brother Will, the title holder, in one of the morning shocks, was two up with three to play against Swan.

Wright drove out of bounds at the 16th and then halved the 17th when play was halted for safety reasons. Wright drove out of bounds again at the last on the resumption so the match went to extra holes.

At the first 270 yard hole extra hole Wright's birdie putt for victory lipped out. The 290 yard ninth hole was also halved with birdies before there was more lightning and another stoppage, thankfully near the club house. It was still raining heavily when the players resumed on the 314 yard 10th hole.

Wright's second shot ended eight feet from the pin. Then Swan, with backspin, left himself with a three foot putt.

There was standing water on Wright's line so referee Charlie Wilderspin gave him another route to the pin. He bravely sunk the putt for birdie and the hole was halved.

It was back to the first hole which was again halved with birdies and it was clear that something exceptional would be needed to settle the outcome.

This happened on the fifth extra hole, the ninth. Both players drove he green for the second time. Swan was first to putt from 20 feet. There was a slight swing and the ball ended in the hole for an eagle. Wright, from about 16 feet, made a brave attempt but the ball just stayed out.

“Michael was five under par for the final four extra holes,” said Wright who hardly deserved to lose after putting up such a tenacious display. It was tremendous golf from both players.

Other first day highlights included a five-iron from 185 yards on the second hole which gave Liam Brace an eagle against Warren Goddard. He went on to win before going out to his brother in a game of high quality ifrom two players off plus one.

Three qualifiers who appeared to have good chances dropped out. Daniel Griggs of Royal Worlington had a wrist injury, Steve Crosby had business commitments and John Maddock was also unavailable. This provided chances for Chris Gooding, Tom Stephenson and Phil Westley all of whom suffered first round defeats,

Round-up of scores

First round: Scott Brace (Stoke by Nayland) beat Rob Murray (Stoke by Nayland) 4 and 3, Liam Brace (Stoke by Nayland) beat Warren Goddard (Fynn Valley) 5 and 4, Bradley Wilkins (Fynn Valley) beat Chris Gooding (Ipswich) 5 and 4, Ivan Fryer (Thorpeness) beat Phil Westley (Hintlesham) two up, David James (Gorleston) beat Jack Jowers (Ipswich) one up, Phil Vincent (Bungay) beat Chris Smith (Fynn Valley) two up, Michael Swan (Stoke by Nayland) beat Tom Stephenson (Bury St Edmunds) 4 and 2, Tom Wright (Rushmere) beat Will Wright (Rushmere) 3 and 2.

Quarter-finals: S Brace beat L Brace two up, Wilkins beat Fryer 3 and 2, Vincent beat James 6 and 4,, Swan beat T Wright at 23rd hole.

Semi-finals: S Brace beat Wilkins 2 and 1, Vincent beat Swan two up.

Final: S Brace beat Vincent two up.

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