Good Evans – it’s Jon’s title

Handicap champion Jon Evans (with trophy) with Mick Gutteridge, Cliff Evans and Dean Rushforth
Handicap champion Jon Evans (with trophy) with Mick Gutteridge, Cliff Evans and Dean Rushforth
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin

Gregory misses out

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there were thrills galore as 31 qualifiers battled the searing heat for honours at the annual Gosport & Stokes Bay Golf Club’s handicap championships.

On one of the hottest days of the year, players toiled on the tight links course on the Solent coastline.

Yet it was a credit to the players’ ability that so many broke par over the energy-sapping 36 holes.

Many players were supported by wives, relations and friends who acted as caddies on the handicap golfers’ biggest day of the year.

After the morning round, the most likely players in the running for the silverware looked to be Cliff Evans, who fired a five-under 66, with Mick Gutteridge and Mark Williams a shot behind.

Tucked in a shot adrift were Jon Evans, Gary Parham and Alex Ritchie, with Phil Bennett and Dean Rushforth a shot further back.

The afternoon saw the competition unfold as several players faltered in the punishing heat – with the final result not being confirmed until the last stroke of the day, as the final group played the 18th.

This saw Jon Evans win the day with a remarkable nett 63 to produce a 36-hole total of a 11 under par.

He said: ‘It was one of those days when things went well.

‘I didn’t think I was playing especially well – or especially badly. My wife was caddying for me, she kept telling me to keep getting pars – and I did.’

Runner-up was Gutteridge, who looked home and dry with a 36-hole total of 132, 10 under, until the final group arrived home.

Mick said: ‘Jon played some great golf, but I thought I had done enough – it must a long time since a 10-under total didn’t win the trophy.

‘I played very nicely and didn’t shoot anything worse than a bogey all day – I was very plased with my own game.’

Evans and Rushforth tied for third place with 138.

The winner was presented with the trophy by club captain Gavin Evans.

Organiser Ken Kennett praised the stamina of the players and the spirit in which the competition was played.

Congratulations were also given to head greenkeeper Kevin Tigg and his staff for presenting the course in such an immaculate condition.

Gosport & Stokes Bay is tucked away on the Stokes Bay peninsula.

It is a testing course with many water hazards and lots of unfriendly gorse to contend with.

The annual Hampshire PGA pro-am provides an excellent challenge to the pros, who often find the tight landing areas hard to hit.

The club have thriving sections for men, seniors and ladies, and are keen to add new members.

To assist this, the club are offering free weekend tuition to juniors, courtesy of club professional Kevin Maris. During the school holidays, there is also a promotion for junior golfers.

The Junior Passport offers golf seven days a week for seven weeks for a one-off payment of £35.

Young golfers are thriving at the club – the reigning scratch champion is Ben Urry, who is a product of the junior section and a member of the Hampshire under-16 development squad.

For further information about membership or the junior summer-holiday offer, call the club on 023 9258 742, or send an e-mail to secretary@gosportandstokesbaygolfclub.com