West of England Public School Golf Championships

Category: Sport

Marlborough College Golf Team put in a strong performance to finish runners up on the school’s return to the West of England Public School Golf Championships at Burnham & Berrow.

In the College’s first appearance in the event in seven years first team players rose to the occasion, winning matches versus Sherborne and Cheltenham College en route to the final.

The team was led from the front by Ben Cooper (SU Hu) and Oscar Powell (C2 Hu) who were sent out first and second as the College’s two lowest handicappers. Behind them big-hitting tyro Bruno Espinosa de los Monteros (BH Re) was third out, followed by senior team members Erik Dell (CO U6) and Worcester Bawden (C3 U6).

Nobody was more pleased to see Marlborough back in the competition than Tony Hill (CO 1949-53) whose father founded the event more than 50 years ago. Mr Hill was on hand to meet with the boys and watch them tee off.

Master in charge of Golf Mr Joe Lane said: “Being back in the West of England Public School Golf Championships is terrific news for Marlborough College.

“It means our golfers will be able to compete against some of the best young players on the circuit as well as giving them a focal point for their golf and something to aspire to.

“It also honours our historical links to the event through Tony Hill, one of the finest players the College has ever produced. It was good to see Mr Hill at Burnham and I know he is delighted Marlborough is competing here again.”

Day 1

Players had to adapt quickly to tough links conditions with the opening holes played in heavy rain and gusting winds. In the first match Cooper found himself embroiled in an epic battle with Sherborne’s number one player. Despite opening up a healthy lead on the front 9 he saw it whittled away to just one hole by the Par 3 17th. In one of the highlights of the tournament he offered a three foot “gimme” to his opponent before draining a 15 footer for par to ensure he would take at least a half from Match 1. Behind him Powell, Dell and Bawden produced some excellent golf, winning their matches with holes to spare.

Result: Marlborough win 3.5 - 1.5

Day 2

The following day the boys had their eyes firmly fixed on the final, quickly going up in four out of five matches against Cheltenham College. Although Cooper this time was unable to contain their Number 1, behind him the team were playing some rock solid golf. Espinosa de los Monteros led the way, determined to get some points on the board after he had missed out on Day 1. He won his match as did Powell, Dell and the excellent Bawden to ensure the tie finished in Marlborough’s favour.

Result: Marlborough win 4 / 1

Final

The boys faced holders Radley College in the final, lining up against a battery of single figure handicappers. Undeterred, they saved some of their best golf until last, ensuring that Radley would not have a comfortable afternoon. At the top of the field Cooper (handicap 8) was playing against Radley’s one handicapper and producing his best golf of the week. After nine holes he was 2-up. Behind him his teammates took inspiration, with Espinosa de los Monteros and Dell also up after 9 and Powell involved in a tight battle with just one hole in it. The upset was on! Unfortunately for Marlborough it was not to be; over the back nine the Radley boys showed their experience and closed out the tie, overturning the deficit in each match. Our congratulations go to Radley for what was ultimately a deserved win.

Result: Radley win 5-0.

However, Marlborough’s players should take great credit away with them - as much for the level of their performance as the way they carried themselves off the course. They showed that, following our absence from the competition, they belong on this stage. And with plenty of young players coming through the ranks, the College is sure to be a competitive force in the event in future years.

Thanks go to Mr Metcalfe for accompanying myself and the boys at the event and offering encouragement (and chocolate bars) at various points of the course.
Thanks too go to Burnham and Berrow Golf Club for hosting the competition.

Joe Lane
Master i/c Golf

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