A 30-minute coaching lesson paid dividends for vision technician Billy O’Neill on Saturday when he won the Leighton Buzzard golf club Presidents’ Putter by a four shot margin – his 13thcompetition win since joining the Plantation Road club 28 years ago.
Heath and Reach based Billy, 63, bucketed the other dozen trophies before a sudden dip in form saw him seek advice from club assistant professional Will Tebbs.
“I was going through a difficult period when I was totally inconsistent with my shots,” said Billy, adding: “Within minutes, Will spotted what I was doing wrong, and quickly put in right,”
And 12-handicapper Billy certainly got it right on Saturday when he beat 156 other competitors for the coveted Presidents’ Putter, matching his previous personal best nett score with a 62 in a round which included four birdies.
He finished four shots clear of runner-up Josie Sheridan, who beat Darran Valentine on countback after both carded nett 66s, with Martin Flynn and Tim Dawson a shot shot behind and one less than Phil Rickard, Graham Hazell, Mark Hammond and Neale Proud. There were nearest-the-in prizes for Geoff Barker, Gary Hart, Anne Tilbury and Josie Sheridan while former President John Preston finished his round of 72 in fine style, his second shot to the Par 4 18th finding the hole and securing him a prize.
Club President Brian Carter told guests at his lunch on Sunday that members were to be briefed in the next few weeks on plans for a new course irrigation system. If the scheme is approved at a subsequent EGM, the new system could be operational next year.
He also paid tribute to club Professional Maurice Campbell, who is to depart in the autumn after 18 years at Leighton, where in recent years he has also been Golf Director. Said Brian: “Maurice has become part of the fabric of our club, making a huge contribution to its development and will be sorely missed.”
Retired barrister Jeremy Taylor wasted no time in winning Leighton’s Past Captain’s trophy, winning the event at his first attempt. Jeremy, who completed his term in office in January, was top finisher with 36 points, one clear of Brian Carter with Syd Pniewski third with 32 points.
Anne Tilbury takes a two shot lead into the second round of the Ladies Handicap championship today (Tues) after carding a nett 70 in the first round last week, with Gill McDougall runner-up. Sandra Carter was top finisher in Division Two with a nett 74, while Jane Tizzard topped Division Three with a nett 72.
Leighton’s inter-club team beat Whipsnade 4-1 after losing 4-2 at Millbrook and halving 3-3 against Stowe.
Seniors skipper Peter Myrants was top scorer for Leighton in their bid to retain the Rhys Richards trophy, and though colleagues Ian Rimmer, Harry Adam, Dave Roberts, Terry Wright and Danny Nairne made significant contributions, the annual event was won by hosts North Oxford, with Stowe runners-up and Leighton joint third with Aspley Guise.
A tail-end collapse cost Leighton Seniors a home win against South Beds after skipper Peter Myrants and David Newby got Leighton off to a winning start. Wins by Harry Adam and David Roberts, Terry Lingham and Steve Shepherd and Will Sampson and the ageless Geoff Allatt gave Leighton a 4-2 lead, but with the last two pairs losing narrowly, the match ended in a 4-4 tie.
PICTURE CAPTION: Billy O’Neill is presented with the Presidents’ Putter by Brian Carter.