Played at Boyce Hill Golf Club
22nd & 23rd April 2017
The Keating Trophy - Boyce Hill Golf Club
76 Entries experienced a delayed start due to thick fog for the Keating Trophy Qualifier at Boyce Hill on the 8th April. The half an hour delay could have been considered well worth it as once it had cleared the sun shone for the remainder of the day. The Essex Golf Union’s first Championship of the season saw the 76 competitors play 36 holes of golf over a very challenging and well-presented Boyce Hill Golf Course. Only 16 places were on offer in the Matchplay Finals that took place on the 22nd & 23rd April also hosted by Boyce Hill.
The strong field found the morning round tough, with only one player to break par, Alex Woodward (Boyce Hill Golf Club) with the day’s low round of 66 (-2). This score ensured a two-shot lead over Jay Beisser (Essex County Captain & The Rayleigh Club) who managed a level par 68. Callum Newton (Orsett Golf Club) managed to card a 69 (+1) which saw him take 3rd place on his own going into the second round.
The afternoon saw many of the field improve on their morning scores, with two players breaking par, Curtis Knipes (Abridge Golf Club) shot a 67 (-1) along with Ben Tobin (Basildon Golf Club) who managed one better matching Woodward’s morning score of 66 (-2). Overall, the scoring improved slightly in the afternoon, as often the case as the players knew what to expect from their morning’s experience. Curtis Knipes posted a leading score of 137 (+1) which was just enough, thanks to his afternoon round to hold off Ben Tobin by 1 shot who finished on 138 (+2). Third was Callum Newton on 140 (+4) who remained consistent on the day following his 69 with a 71.
There were four players that could not make the Knock Out stage due to other commitments which meant that 20th place managed to secure a spot in the Final Knockout stages.
On Saturday 22nd of April Boyce Hill welcomed the 16 finalists whose matches commenced at 8am. The first match out between Jason Renton (Basildon) & Callum Newton (Orsett) of resulted in Jason beating Callum 3&1. Second off were Boyce Hill members, Andy May & Adam Soilleux, as expected, a great match between the two took place which saw Andy May come out a 2&1 winner. Jamie Richards (Abridge) beat Billy Mason (Maldon) 5&3. This would mean Jamie’s afternoon match would be against Oscar Yeomans (Chelmsford) who managed a great win over Joshua Read (Three Rivers) 4&3. Next out was a duo from The Rayleigh Club, Barry Medcalf and Jay Beisser, Beisser secured a spot in the Quarter finals by beating Barry 5&4. Past County Champion Ricky Lee (Boyce Hill) was beaten 3&2 by Charlie Day (Abridge). Tom Neale (Harwich and Dovercourt) squeezed to a 1up victory over Christopher Chaplin (Rochford Hundred). Last match out in the morning was Ben Tobin (Basildon) versus Lukas Warren (Thorndon Park), another fine match would result in Lukas winning 2up. Saturday afternoon saw the four quarter final matches played, May beat Renton 5&4, Richards beat Yeomans 2&1, Beisser beat Day 5&4 and Warren victorious over Neale 2&1.
The Sunday had some great golf in store as all four of the remaining competitors have represented Essex in County Teams, and so tight matches were witnessed by several supporters who had made their way to the course to see the semi-final & final. Home support undoubtedly benefiting Andy May in settling his match over Jamie Richards 2&1. Jay Beisser continued his good run of form beating Lukas Warren 2up.
The final of the Keating Trophy saw two County Players battle it out over what was now their sixth round of golf in the competition. The match provided some excellent golf from both players, with the supporters getting involved with some encouraging cheers at various stages in the match. After six rounds of golf, ample birdies and numerous fist pumps Andy May & Jay Beisser both stood on the 10th Tee one under par and level in the match. Jay won the 11th to go 1up, both players birdied the 12th, but then Jay gave his advantage back on the 13th as the match went back to Level. The 14th saw another birdie from Jay giving him the edge with just four holes to go. The next few holes were halved in par and on the 18th Jay went through the back of the green and Andy hit the green giving himself an outside chance of birdie. Andy did his very best to make the two narrowly missing leaving Jay with a pitch and a putt for the match and the Championship. Jay played a nice recovery shot to about two and a half feet. 2016 Order of Merit winner Jay Beisser was relieved to see his putt drop for par, immediately turned to Andy and the pair showed what great spirit the match and championship had been played in. Jay Beisser was presented the Trophy by President of the Essex Golf Union Roger Walmsley and offered his thanks on behalf of all the players to the Essex Golf Union & Boyce Hill Golf Club for arranging the event.