Oh Brother! Shepherd boys see Bedford to title
It may not have been a case of brotherly love but the brothers Shepherd pulled together to steer Bedford Modern to a sensational victory in the English Schools Team Championship, sponsored by the NASUWT, at Woodhall Spa.
Matt Shepherd, off a handicap of 14, returned 42 Stableford points but was upstaged by his 14 year old brother Chris with 43 off 23, to see their team to victory by eight points.
The boys, who both play at Woburn Golf and Country Club, were supported by their third man, Tom Purdy with a non-scoring 30 points.
“We thought we had a chance because we had all been playing well,” said Matt Shepherd. “Also, our grandparents, Pru and Jay, followed us in our practice round yesterday and said we playing well under our handicaps.”
Although the pair play at Woburn, which has three superb courses, Matt felt it a privilege to sample the delights of Woodhall Spa, which they were seeing for the first time.
“It’s an honour to come to a course as good as this, which was in great condition considering the poor weather prior to the event” he added. “I only walked the first two holes of the Bracken last night and seeing so much water, I didn’t think the competition would be on. I’m delighted it was.
The brothers and Tom Purdy agreed. “It is amazing to win a national title,” added Chris. “It’s the first time our school has won a major golf event. I expect we’ll be front page on our school website now.”
Runners-up were the trio from the Thomas Telford School in Telford, Shropshire with 77 points, beating Carre’s Grammar from Lincolnshire on countback.
For the Telford trio, William Enefer, the Shropshire county champion at only 14 years of age, signed for 39 points off two handicap, backed by 38 from three-handicapper Harry Burt, while Nicholas Jones contributed a vital 32.
It was vital because his return was the same as Carre’s ‘low man’, Oliver Harrod. But the Shropshire boys edged it with their aggregate back nine of 56 points to Carre’s 54.
Until the Lincolnshire team came in near the end it looked as if the Lee Westwood Golf would finish third. But their third man, Nicholas Tibbett returned 30.
Final scores, photos and interviews are available on the Championships Section of the England Golf website, www.englandgolf.org.
Bedfordshire team image © Tom Ward