ROCHFORD Hundred hosted one of the premier days of the calendar – the Centenary Open cup.
A full field of more than 70 competitors from golf clubs across the south east region took part. Scott Denham from Shirley GC in the Midlands made his bid for glory in the morning round, posting 77-9=68.
Nine-handicapper Denham posted just four pars on his outward nine with a couple of double bogeys leaving him with a lot of work to get him himself in contention.
A further bogey at the 10th seemed to fire Denham up as he fought back superbly with five pars on his inward nine, and a mighty impressive three three’s around Rochford’s “Amen corner” for birdie, birdie, par, as he propelled himself to the front of the field.
Local favourite Tony Hadley (71-2=69) carried on his fine form as he shot an excellent gross level par round.
Hadley shot an early birdie only to undo that good start with three dropped shots. He then used his extensive local knowledge coupled with his solid all round game to play flawlessly.
He shot two late birdies which sat with seven pars to put himself in the prime position for the afternoon round.
Rochford’s Lloyd Wright (72-3=69) returned four birdies on his card as he sat just a shot back at lunch.
The afternoon proved just as exciting as a host of players got themselves in the mix with some fine golf.
Richard Elvin from Chelmsford golf club posted 79-10=69 for the best afternoon nett score.
Just behind him was Rochford’s Ben Franklin (72-3=69), Maylands S Kennedy, Michael Gilbert from Chelmsford and Rochford’s Tony Hadley and Lloyd Wright who carried on their fine work from the morning, as suddenly the leader board had seven players within a shot.
Denham carried on with his own solid golf, and hit the turn with 41 strokes, needing a decent final nine to give him a chance.
Credit must go to Denham (80-9=71) as two double bogeys threatened to wreck his chances, but on both occasions he fired straight back, culminating in a closing par on the notoriously difficult par three 18th to give him a one stroke victory, and lift the coveted trophy with an overall net score of 139.
Just a shot back came Ben Franklin who’s second round contained three birdies as he so nearly overhauled Denham, but earned him the runners-up berth from four others on countback.
Tony Hadley earned the day’s best gross total with a fine 144 from Chelmsford’s Alasdair Plumb who returned 145.
The midweek Scott Spencer saw a battery of high scores with 12 handicapper James Crust scoring 43 points to deny five handicapper Ross Druit who shot 42.
Just a shot further back in third came Stuart Campbell.
FULL GOLF ROUND UP IN THURSDAY'S ECHO