MICHAEL Saunders was victorious for the second time as Welwyn Garden City Golf Club hosted the 25th running of the Commemoration Jug.
Dartford golfer Saunders held his nerve around the Mannicotts course to pip Paul Kirkwood to the title he had previously won in 2010.
This prestigious tournament was set up by club members to mark the first Open Championship win of Sir Nick Faldo MBE at Muirfield in 1987.
The competition is open to all club champions of clubs affiliated to the English Golf Union. Each year the event has gone from strength to strength and 2012 was no exception with 66 players from all over the country including representatives from the Isle of Man and Jersey competing for the trophy.
The field also included nine past champions, Nigel Pimm from Surbiton who won the trophy in its inaugural year 1988, and 1995 and 2001, and of course WGC’s own Tom Piggott who won the trophy in 2000.
Also playing were Russell Tate, Meon Valley, 1994, Ian Moore, Maylands 1996, Shaun Tarplett, Hillsborough, 1997/2002, Ed Conduit, Elton Furze 1998, John Kemp, John O’Gaunt 2006/2008, Michael Saunders, Dartford 2010, and Gavin Samuels, Leighton Buzzard, 2011
The morning round returned some variable scoring due to the lush rough and a storm, which halted play for 50 minutes, but a round of 67 from Paul Kirkwood from South Beds took the lunchtime lead followed by John Kemp of John O’Gaunt with a 68 and Michael Saunders and Cameron Brown from Saffron Walden with 69s.
Fortunately after the storm had abated the weather remained sunny and warm and the afternoon rounds proceeded with no further interruptions.
Both Paul Kirkwood and Michael Saunders continued to play steady golf with Michael just pipping Paul at the last by returning another round of 69 to Paul’s 72 and close on their heels came Rob Watson from The Shire with a 71/70 and Gavin Bourne from Droitwich with a 74/67.
So yet again a past champion won for a second time and in his winner’s speech Michael thanked the club for their organisation of a superb tournament and their hospitality throughout the weekend and said how much both he and other players were looking forward to returning in 2013.
Sadly due to television commitments at the Bridgestone Sir Nick Faldo was unable to attend, but sent a letter of congratulations to the club saying how proud WGC Golf Club should be with the success of the tournament and how honoured he was that his first win at the Open in 1987 should be celebrated in such a special way.
Representing his father at the prize giving was Matthew Faldo, accompanied by his grandmother Joyce Faldo.
Matthew congratulated the club for honouring his father’s win with such a well organised and enjoyable tournament for everyone who had taken part.
It is quite unique that a golf club can boast of having two golfers who have achieved so much and WGC are proud to be associated with Sir Nick Faldo and now Tom Lewis.
Tom began the 2011 Open with a record breaking first round score of 65 and saw through the tournament to beat the world’s other top amateurs and win the Silver Medal. So it seemed fitting that Tom’s achievement should be remembered and honoured within the same competition.
The Tom Lewis Medal (funded by David and Jenny Buck – long standing members of the club) will be presented annually to the lowest morning/afternoon score returned during the 36-hole competition.
The first medal was presented to Gavin Bourne of Droitwich with a PM score of 67. Sadly, Tom too was at the Bridgestone Invitational and therefore unable to attend but was delighted to hear that his achievements are being recognised and wished everyone a successful and enjoyable day.
This year the club were delighted to receive sponsorship from Grange of Welwyn to make the 25th anniversary a special occasion. The recipient of the sponsor’s prize was the runner-up Paul Kirkwood of South Beds.