The Bob Knott Men's Senior Order of Merit at Churston Golf Club

The last weekend of May saw the playing of the third event in the DevonGolf Men's Senior Order of Merit, the 36-hole Bob Knott Trophy at Churston Golf Club.

As ever, Churston laid on a superb event over the 2 days. The course was beautifully presented as the field went out for their first round on Saturday afternoon.

Pete Bicknell (Torquay) set the pace with 73, but scoring proved tough as he opened a 2-shot lead over Rick Osborne, Russell Davis (both Churston) and Andy Rowe (Looe). Men's Senior OOM leader Jez Binch (Warren) was a further couple of shots back on 77 with Derek Fotheringham (Porters Park), Michael McDonnell (South Herts), Nick Draper (Teignmouth) and Mark Taylor (Tavistock).

On day 2 the wind blew harder and the course played tougher. Defending champion Phil Lyons (Churston) made light of it coming through the field with an excellent 73, as did John Whittle (Appleby) with 74, but both started the day too far back. Draper and McDonnell both added 74s to their overnight scores to tie for 4th, with Osborne scoring another 75 for 3rd. And so it came down to Binch and Bicknell.

Binch added a best of the day 72 to total 149 and set the target for Bicknell. By Pete’s own admission 76 was the most he could have taken but that was the score so they were tied. A playoff ensued with Jez winning at the first extra hole. Jez said it was odd contesting the title with a county team colleague but his name is now on the trophy, commemorating one of the finest players this county has ever produced.

In the nett competition Colin Hardman (South Herts, 9) set the tone with a nett 71 on day 1, finishing off the win with an excellent nett 69 on day 2, pipping club mate McDonnell by a single shot. Churston members Peter Knapman (8) and Steve Ivey (6) and Christian Pomeroy (7) were 3rd and tied 4th on 142 and 143 respectively.

As ever thanks go to Churston for staging such an excellent event. Seeing so many players from outside the county coming to play for this trophy, it is clear the scope and reputation of the event is spreading outside Devon.

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