ESSEX AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
|Played at Stoke by Nayland Golf Club 2017|
|Curtis Knipes (Abridge Golf Club)|
Essex Amateur Champion 2017
Curtis Knipes being presented with the County Championship Trophy by
|ESSEX AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP|
This competition was first played in 1924 and the trophy was presented by WMJ Ralph, the Captain of Romford at that time.
The 86th Amateur Championship took place at Stoke-by-Nayland GC on the Gainsborough Course on the 3rd & 4th of June. The first day’s weather started off a bit dull but after a few hours bright sunshine prevailed for the rest of the weekend. A slight wind got up on the Sunday but it was nothing that would hinder the players from scoring well.
After the morning’s play on Saturday, Curtis Knipes from Abridge GC held a 1 shot lead over Harry Butler from Chigwell GC with a 5 under par round of 66; helped mainly with an eagle on the par 5 14th. The top 10 players all had under par rounds.
In the afternoon the best score of 67 was recorded by Will Percival (Orsett GC) and Arron Edwards-Hill (Chelmsford GC) with Curtis Knipes only 1 shot behind. This was mainly helped with Will having 4 pars in the five holes after the turn. The top 12 players recorded under par rounds.
With the field being reduced to those with a score of +8, or better, 42 players entered the final day. The leader at this stage was Curtis Knipes on 8 under par with Arron Edwards-Hill and Jack Dyer 3 shots back.
By lunch-time, with a round of 5 birdies and no dropped shots, Arron Edwards-Hill had caught Curtis Knipes on 10 under par with the best score of the round. With a level par round Jack Dyer was 5 off the pace and the tournament seemed to be a 4th round shoot-out between the 2 players in the final group.
With the 4th round under way, Curtis Knipes birdied the 2nd with a deft 3rd shot chip to within a few feet, the 4th with a chip in from just off the front of the green, and the 6th with a solid 15 foot putt. During this time Arron was unlucky to only have a run of par holes which left him 3 adrift of the pace after the first 6 holes.
Arron managed to birdie the par 3 9th and the signature hole 10th to cut the lead to 1. On the par 3 11th hole Curtis had his par putt lip out to even out the scores between him & Arron. On the short par 4 12th Curtis made his only error of the round with an errant bunker shot to give him another bogey and to hand the lead to Arron for the first time. However, the next hole saw Curtis sink a 12 foot putt for a birdie whereas Arron’s par putt lipped out to hand the lead back to Curtis with a 2 shot swing in the scores. On the 14th Arron pulled a 4 iron out of bounds going for the green with his 2nd shot but a good recovery saw him only take a 6. Curtis with a steady par, extended his lead to 2 shots. On the next hole, the short par 4 15th, Arron hit his 2nd shot over the green to again drop a shot whereas Curtis hit a good shot to the flag to score another birdie and take a 4 shot lead over Arron. Arron then managed to birdie the 17th but solid pars over the remaining 3 holes from Curtis saw him run out a worthy winner by 3 shots.
The 3rd player in this final group, Jack Dyer did not start well with Bogeys on 2 & 4 but bounced back immediately with birdies on the following holes. From 6 onwards he scores 3 birdies and no bogeys to have a credible score of 3 under for the round, 8 under for the tournament and 3rd place.
The presentation was done by Mr Don Wiggins, the Stoke-by-Nayland captain as Roger Warmsley, the EGU president, explained that he had put the wrong jacket on as he left his house in the morning. Roger thanked the club for their generosity and the course for being well presented. He noted that with 8 players being level par or better the course played well.
The Esplen Trophy was first presented by JJ Esplen OBE, who was the first President of the County Golf Union when it was founded in 1924. It is played in conjunction with the County Championship, and is awarded to the Club Team of two, who have the lowest aggregate gross score over the first two rounds of the Championship.
Curtis Knipes & Jamie Richards (Abridge Golf Club) receiving the Esplen Trophy
The Winners will now go on to represent Essex in the English Champion Club Tournament later in the year.
The Jubilee Trophy was presented to the Union in 1977 by Eddie Sadler and is awarded to the highest scoring player who is under 21 on the 1 January.
Congratulations to all our competitors. Every player conducted themselves well and a great spirit was held throughout the entire competition.
Our thanks obviously has to go to Stoke by Nayland Golf Club and the staff, whose hospitality and course was exceptional, making it an easy event to run smoothly.
A Selection of Photographs from the weekend.