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The return of competitive golf attracted a record 235 members to compete in Simon Rossiter’s Captain’s Day at Leighton Buzzard’s Plantation Road club on Saturday, with a social evening and prize presentation “restoring life” after the gradual return from the pandemic lockdown.
With measures still in place to comply with social distancing requirements, it was a dawn-to-dusk golfing marathon before skipper Simon completed formalities.
Winner of the coveted Captain’s Day competition was 32-year-old mining finance advisor Dan Hill, who carded an impressive 45 points to beat club colleague Christian Lester by a shot, with Roger Hughes taking third place with 43 points on countback from Jamie Stone.
For Dan it was a first major trophy win in his six years as a member of the Leighton club.  But after carding 11 pars, Dan thought he had blown his chances when he “blobbed” on the 16th, to finish with just three points on his last three holes.
“Thankfully, it all came good in the end” said a relieved Dan, who celebrated his success with wife Katie, two-year-old daughter Molly and six-week-old son Rory after being presented with the trophy, a silver Quaich (a traditional Scottish drinking dish) donated by Gill McDougal in memory of her late father Maurice Lesley, a long-time member of the Leighton club after moving to the town from his native Scotland.
As a result of his high-scoring win, Dan had two shots sliced from his 18-handicap while runner-up Christian also had his 16-handicap reduced by two shots. Other leading scores were: 41pts – Joseph Mitchell, Graham Westlake-Tritton, Ben Irvine; 40pts – David Hawkins, Matt Sale, Jeff Wood, Lee Sanders; 39pts – John Scott, Barry Witherden; 38pts – John McSweeney, Derek Ellam,  Alex Sandham, Cory Kearsey, Paul Dowdeswell, Tim Mitchell, Russell Rowles, Mark Hammond, John Latimer, John Waiting.
The Ladies nine-hole competition was won by Josie Sheridan with 22 points, Lila Garrod taking the runners-up prize with 20 points.
 There were nearest-the-pin prizes for (2nd ) Graham Hazel and Gill Nutkins; (9th)  Paul Ahmet and Lel Brazier; (11th) Peter Gadsden and (14th) Sam Messenger. Nearest the line prizes were won by Ian Alexander, John McKay and Rosie Hartnell, while 15-handicapper Corey Kearsey hit the longest drive of the day, with Nigel Chapman nearest-the-pin in two on the Par 4 18th.
Said skipper Simon: “It was great to see so many members taking an active part after the lockdown, with some fantastic scores and an enjoyable social evening to complete a long day.”
Further events have also been scheduled, with a club Stableford on July 26, followed by the Club Championships on August 8-9.
CAPTAIN’S DAY WINNERS (left to right): Christian Lester, Dan Hill, skipper Simon Rossiter, Gill McDougal and Roger Hughes.