Super Sam steers Coventry to victory

2013 Champion Club - Coventry Golf Club

The trio from Coventry became only the sixth club from the Midlands to win the event in its 30-year history when they carried off the English Champion Club title at Dudsbury in Dorset.

A final day aggregate of 206, seven under par, gave them a two round total of 420 and a five shot winning margin from King’s Lynn and defending champions Walsall.

The Coventry success owed much to Sam Dodds, pictured right, who was one of three players to shoot 65 and backed by 69 from Robert Browning, centre, and 72 from Andrew Carman, the Midlanders were home and dry. (Image copyright Leaderboard Photography).

“This is brilliant but it is what we came for,” said Browning. “We felt we had a slender chance of winning like everyone else but this a team event and it’s about putting three good scores together.”

Dodds, who had six birdies and didn’t drop a shot in his 65, said: “I don’t know what the reaction will be like back at the club but I think they will be thrilled. But I’ve already had a text from Matt Nixon, the Warwickshire secretary sending his congratulations.”

Carman, a former England international and a now a senior cap, added: “I didn’t want to think about winning because there was half a dozen teams with plus handicaps who could win, especially Walsall, who were incredibly strong. But I have partnered two fantastic team-mates who have played superbly.”

Coventry began the day four strokes behind overnight leaders Darlington but they soon closed the gap as Dodds and Browning got to work.

Dodds, who was out in 32, said: “I didn’t play the par fives very well and I missed a four foot putt on the 17th for eagle, which was disappointing. But I was steady the greens were very receptive. It was like throwing darts as you could attack the flags.”

King’s Lynn ran Coventry close but they had too much to make up after shooting 220 on the first day. Nevertheless, Luke Johnson was another to return 65 with seven birdies and he was backed by 69 from Jack Yule and a level par 71 from Paul Reade.

The Norfolk men took second spot on countback from Walsall, their last day 205 giving them the edge to Walsall’s 212.

Spare a thought for the Darlington team, who were out early and set the target at 427 after a second day 217. Then they spent several hours nervously watching the scoreboard only to be pushed back into fourth spot.

The third player to return 65 was Josh Hilleard, part of the Farrington team from Somerset, who were looking to improve on their runner-up spot last year.

The 18 year old went out in a sensational 29 strokes with six birdies, five coming in succession from the fourth. He added three more on the homeward run, which also included three bogeys, one at the 18th.

“I got a bit tired tense towards the end,” he said, “but I putted really well. I also putted well yesterday without holing anything.”

Farrington finished down the field in 12th place this time after shooting 216 each day.