Surrey Seniors lift Men’s County Championship

Les Bruckner celebrated a third career hole-in-one as Surrey enjoyed a stunning final-day win over Cornwall to lift the Senior Men’s County Championship trophy at Thorpeness Golf Club.

In a whirlwind 10 minutes of singles action for Surrey on Thursday afternoon, David Boxall chipped in from 20 yards on the 2nd before congratulating his teammate Bruckner who aced the same hole moments later. The elation continued as just a few minutes after that, Boxall holed an outrageous chip from 50 yards on the 3rd hole, as Surrey went on to secure a convincing 6.5-2.5 win.

Bruckner said of his ace: “I was just getting over a six on the 1st! I scoped it on the tee at 185 yards and went for a six-iron and thought I’d try and hit a cut off the left-hand trap. I did precisely that and to my shock, it pitched once and I didn’t see it till my playing partner got to the hole, looked in there and shook my hand!”

Surrey captain Boxall, who went unbeaten at the tournament with two wins and three draws, explained: “It was a crazy 10 minutes as I’d tried to do the same as Les on the 2nd, missing the green left and then managing to chip in from 20 yards. I had a quick chat with Les about his hole-in-one and went down the 3rd and holed one from about 50 yards, all the way around the slope and into the cup! It was just the fast start we were looking for.”

On the win, he added: “It was our aim at the start of the year to try and qualify for these finals for the first time and then bring a strong group to Suffolk after qualifying in Norfolk, and it’s been an amazing experience. We’ve got another final next week against Hertfordshire at Blackmoor and after that we shall meet at a golf club and have a big celebration with all the team and officials and move into the winter with smiles on our faces!”

The tournament saw Surrey beat Durham on the opening day, fight back for a tremendous draw with Staffordshire on day two, before Thursday’s win over Cornwall. Cornwall themselves had opened with victory over Staffordshire on a beautiful sunny opening day, but were thrashed 8-1 by Durham on day two to scupper their chances of winning the title.

Durham finished second after wins over Cornwall and Staffordshire, as their star man Anth Black was the only player at the tournament to go all six matches unbeaten – winning five and drawing one. His pairs partner John Kirkpatrick won four from five played, and as a duo, he and Black were the only pair to win all three of their matches.

Despite wet and tricky conditions on the last day, one of the most remarkable rounds of the tournament came between Durham’s Bryan Ross and Brian Nelson and Staffordshire’s Mike Deeley and Rob Maxfield. Durham won the first two holes before losing an astonishing eight on the bounce to be six-down after 10. The first of only two halved holes came on the 11th before the pendulum swung again, with the Brians managing to win five consecutive holes to be just one-down. Pars on 17 meant Durham had the chance to salvage an unbelievable draw on the last, but their approach took a harsh bounce on the green and out of bounds to end the contest two-up to Staffordshire.

Durham’s Nicholas Mansell and Staffordshire’s Duncan Stott were unbeaten in their three and four matches played respectively at the event, while Cornwall’s Richard Jones won all three matches he played in the tournament.