Stuart Brown clinches Solopark County Open success
And Jacob Gamble seals handicap glory
Stuart Brown clinched play-off glory to make it a hat-trick of wins in the Solopark County Open on Gog Magog Golf Club’s Old Course.
In the competition which sees the county’s leading professionals take on the best amateurs, Miles Collins, of Stoke by Nayland, made a good start in the defence of his title.
A past winner on the Europro Tour, Collins birdied the last hole of his opening round to post level par 70, a score matched by Brampton Park’s James Reeson, who won the County Open as an amateur.
Also in contention after the first round were Brampton Park’s Owen Davies (71) and Saffron Walden’s Olly Tuck, Ramsey’s Paul Hodgkin and Old Nene’s Stuart Brown (all 72).
There was an improvement in the scoring in the afternoon, with five professionals breaking the 70 barrier to come to the fore.
Collins, Ollie Fullerton and Adam Pike shot 68, and Reeson made 69.
But Brown hit a magnificent 66, including an eagle at the eighth, that meant that he was tied on 138 with Collins, leading to a sudden death play-off.
And it was over just one hole, as Brown made an excellent up and down from the greenside bunker on the first hole as Collins could not get down in two after hitting his tee shot into a fairway bunker.
It was Brown’s third County Open title, following his wins at Ramsey in 2012 and Saffron Walden in 2014.
Saffron Walden’s Jacob Gamble dominated the race for the John Durman Handicap Trophy.
The junior shot gross 73, nett 68, in the morning to lead by one, and followed it up with gross 71, nett 66, for a 134 total to win by six shots from Old Nene’s Daniel Clarke.
The winner of the amateur prize was Saffron Walden’s Callum Brookes with a total of 142 (74, 68), and clubmate Spencer Burlingham hit a hole-in-one at the 204-yard 13th hole.
Organisers thanked Rodney Bird, of Solopark, for his third year of sponsorship as more than £1,100 was given out in vouchers to amateurs and £2,000 to the professionals.
Next year’s County Open will be at Saffron Walden Golf Club on August 26.
Results: Professionals – 138 Stuart Brown, Miles Collins; 139 James Reeson; 143 Adam Pike; 147 Jonny Sharkey; 148 Ollie Fullerton. Amateurs – 142 Callum Brookes; 144 Olly Tuck; 145 Nick Smits, Owen Davies; 148 Kevin Diss, Ollie Rust.