Gordon Sangster retained the BIGGA National Championship sponsored by Charterhouse and Kubota at Liphook Golf Club after the competition was decided over 18 holes on the second day.
The greenkeeper from Cathkin Braes Golf Club shot a two under par 68 to win by a single shot from The Goodwood Club’s Andy Brown. The plus two handicapper, who also triumphed at Frilford Heath Golf Club last year, wins the BIGGA Challenge Trophy plus £500 worth of vouchers.
Torrential rain on the first day (over 30mm) meant that none of the players completed 18 holes and the decision was taken to abandon play with all the prizes still up for grabs on day two.
The greenkeeping team at Liphook plus volunteers from various clubs worked tirelessly to ensure a full round was possible on the second day at the glorious heathland course despite a storm and further heavy rain overnight.
Fortunately the sun shone throughout on day two and the players were unanimous in their praise for the course – in particular the immaculate and undulating greens which proved to be a real test to the field.
Gordon eagled the par four 8th which set him up for the victory – despite playing with a new putter! He said: “I holed some big par putts on the back nine. I fancied a change of putter so borrowed one from a mate. I reckon I owe him a drink!
“The eagle was from about 90 yards and that gave me a wee lift. The standard of golfers here is superb, if you shoot three or four over you’re probably not going to be in the prizes, so you need to bring your ‘A game’ and have some luck too. I had a real laugh on the way round with my playing partners and that helps as well.
“It was hard on the first day, Mother Nature was against us, but the course is fantastic, the greens are unbelievable. Considering the amount of water that’s fallen they’re so smooth, fast and undulating. The greenkeepers here and the volunteers have done an incredible job.”
Course Manager David Murdoch MG added: “The weather on the first day, and overnight leading into the second day, posed a huge challenge for us but the effort from my team and the volunteers has been incredible. It’s made me very proud and it’s been a privilege working with all of them.”
The BIGGA Challenge Cup for the best nett score went to David Ross from Test Valley Golf Club with a nett 68. Darryl Jones from Glynneath Golf Club won the stableford competition, the affiliate prize went to Gary Ogilvie from Avoncrop Amenity Products and the team prize was won by the South East.
There was also drama on the par 3 third where Southwick Park Golf Club’s Beverly Blair hit a superb hole in one.
A raffle was held which raised cash for the BIGGA Greenkeepers Benevolent Fund, and proceedings closed with BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton thanking all the greenkeepers for their superb efforts in ensuring 18 holes were possible on day two.