Kent are back on top in men’s senior golf after regaining the English County Championship by beating Devon 5½ – 3½ on the final day at the RAC Club in Epsom. Lancashire did what they had to do by overcoming Lincolnshire 7-2 to finish runners-up.
“It’s wonderful to be champions again,” said Kent captain Mark Singfield (team image copyright Leaderboard Photography). “I’ve had some fantastic guys under my control this week and they have produced some gutsy performances. This is the premier team event for senior golfers and to say we are the champions again is a delight.
“I believe this was the first time we have faced Devon and they are a tough team which is what you would expect. This was a superb venue for the event but the key this week was how well you could master the greens. They were tremendous.”
Having found Devon were a tough nut to crack in the foursomes, which finished in a tie, Kent knew they were in for a battle in the singles if they were to regain the crown and they came through superbly.
At one stage Devon were up in more games than Kent but the south east champions gradually turned it around, but it wasn’t easy.
Richard Partridge led the way with a 4 and 3 victory over Phil Lyons, the Kent man’s success containing an eagle-two at the 12th where he holed his approach from 50 yards.
Chris Hurst was as solid as a rock in getting past Brian Medlam 5 and 4 while Kent can always rely on their senior international Chris Reynolds. In a game that contained six birdies, Reynolds bagged four and completed a 3 and 2 win.
Ricky Moore added to the Kent collection with a 2-hole win over Devon skipper Paul Vicary but Devon were not to be denied and did their best to cause an upset.
Rick Pillow was always ahead against David Weighton and ran out a 5 and 3 winner, while Richard Ward built a 3-up lead against Ross Galgut at the turn only to see the Kent man gradually pull back to all square with three to play.
But Ward came through in the end with a par on the final green to win by the narrowest of margins.
Lancashire were praying that Devon would shock Kent and they secured an insurance policy by beating wooden spoonists Lincolnshire 7-2. But in the end it wasn’t enough.
“Congratulations to Kent but we are getting closer,” said Lancashire skipper Norman Fletcher. “We’ll be back next year and we’ll have that title.”
In the top single, Stewart King went out like a train and was 3-up through seven holes against Ray Pauley. His lead was accrued with an eagle-two at the sixth where he holes a six-iron approach from around 180 yards and a 20-foot birdie putt at seven.
But from then it went downhill for the West Lancs man as he three-putted the next four holes to be just 1-up then found himself all square when Pauley birdied the short 13th. The game went all the way and finished, appropriately, in a half.
There were three more games that went to the par five 18th green which proved to be a happy hunting ground for Lancashire as they won all three.
Glyn Rees romped 3-up against Des Robbins through 11 holes only to be pegged back to all square playing the last but a par was enough to see Rees home by the narrowest of margins which was also the situation for Robert Fox.
He was involved in a tight tussle with Dave Quincey but managed to win the last, again with a par, for another 1-hole win, while Terry Brown was 3-down to Dave Keen after eight but he battled back to level twice before going ahead with a par at 16 and wrapped up a 2-hole win with a birdie on the last.
The bottom game finished early with Alan Gillespie romping to a 5 and 3 win over Clive Skinns but Lancashire were denied a full house by Robin Horseman, who gained Lincolnshire’s consolation with a 2-hole victory over Mike Gray.
After an even start, Horseman won five holes in-a-row from the fourth and while Gray pegged him back with some sterling golf including a couple of conceded birdies, Horseman won the last, also with a conceded birdie to win by 2-holes.
It was no more than Lincolnshire deserved for their endurance in what was a chastening week for the Midlanders, tasting the finals for the first time.