Late surge sees headteacher Dave go top of class to win President’s Prize

HEADTEACHER Dave Hewitt got top marks as he reeled off nine straight pars on the back nine of the second round to snatch victory in President’s Prize at Saddleworth Golf Club.It earned the 48-year-old from Diggle a slender one-shot margin of victory in the 36-hole competition.

Dave, headmaster at Manor Croft Academy, Dewsbury, fired a round of 75-7-68 in the opening round to be one shot off the lead which was held by Jonny Fancy with 67 and Adam Pitcher.

He said: “I knew I was in the mix and looked forward to the second round when I got a good draw with two good lads who I know well.

“But after a double bogey at the sixth and a couple of other dropped shots I was four-over-par gross and I thought I had blown my chances.

“But on the back nine I shot nine straight gross pars. It included up and downs from the sand at the 15th and 16th holes so it wasn’t nine straightforward pars.

“Despite finishing so well, I still didn’t know if I had done enough to win.”

Dave, whom played off a handicap of seven in the opening round and six in the second, eventually finished one shot clear of runner-up Andy Dunster who had rounds of 71 and 67 for 138.Third place also with 138 went to Alan Dorrington with rounds of 68 and 70.

The first-round prize went to Jonny Fancy with 67 and Doug Hill in the second, also with 67.

The best gross score in the first round was Jonny’s 71 while Stephen Pullen shot 69 for the lowest in the second round.

It was a moment to saviour as it was Dave’s first major at Saddleworth where he has been a member for 18 months.

He was previously at Oldham Golf Club, where he won a couple of majors, but took a five-year break for work and family reasons.

Though Dave celebrated his triumph in the major, his main drive this season is to reduce his handicap to five so he can once again be a category one player.

He is currently 0.2 of a shot off that target having previously been as low as four.

The President’s Invitation, a four-ball betterball Stableford, was won by Lee Blainey and Graham Pendleton (Oldham) with 47 points.

Runners-up were Giacomo Cavallino and Stephen Eyre (Pike Fold) with 45 points on the card from Simon Taylor and Mike Green (Styal).

In fourth place with 44 points were Ken Barnes and Barry McLoughlin (Crompton and Royton).

Saddleworth’s Lee Rowbotham is also celebrating after winning the Huddersfield and Halifax District Golf Union’s scratch knockout in the first time he had entered the competition.

The 34-year-old from Moorside won the final 5&4 against Scott Minto, from Hanging Gate Golf Club, with the match taking place at Halifax West End.

One-handicapper Lee was one hole ahead after 18 holes, one down after 23 holes and then hit five birdies in eight holes to seal victory.

The competition began with a 36-hole medal qualifier with the top 16 proceeding to the knockout phase.

Lee joined Saddleworth in August 2018 after 25 years at Werneth because he wanted to play in more scratch competitions which he could do at the Ladcastle Road club.

He was in the Saddleworth scratch team which finished runners-up and won promotion from division three of the Huddersfield and Halifax Golf Union Scratch League.

It has been a memorable first full year for Lee, who runs Harmony Blinds in Oldham with his father Paul and brother Adam who are two handicap and scratch respectively.

Lee, who had also been a scratch golfer, has won a major with victory in the singles knockout with a 2&1 victory against Stuart Muller.

A singles Stableford was memorable for the Pullen brothers.

Ben was the victor with 41 points, one clear of second-placed Alan Squires, while brother Stephen scored a hole in one at the 290-yard par four fourth hole, a remarkable achievement.

Saddleworth hosted an event on the North Region Professional Golfers’ Association tour which attracted 32 club professions.

The winner was James Ward, from Knaresborough, with a score of three-under-par.

Runners-up was Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham) with one under which was the same score as Ben Thompson (Sale) who was third.

Spare a thought for Saddleworth pro Andy Earlam who hit a triple bogey on the last to finish 10th. A par at the last would have given him third place.

• Anne Head won the Marian Read Trophy with a score of 38 points in the 18-hole Stableford, finishing well clear of runner-up Kaye Orme with 32.

Lady Captain’s Prize, a nine-hole Stableford, was won by Louise Hinchliffe with 18 points.
Second was Kath Oldham (17pts) on the card from Jenny Knight.

• The recent flood at Saddleworth Golf Club could have caused as much as £15,000 damage.

Professional Andy Earlam’s shop was left a couple of feet underwater after a collapsed drain was unable to deal with the deluge.

Stock was lost and there was also damage to the floor of the professional’s shop which had to remain shut for several days.

“It was a freak incident and the loss of stock and damage will be in the region of £10,000-£15,000,” explained Andy.

“We were back up and running after a couple of days and have replenished the stock we lost which hopefully the insurers will cover.”

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