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MEDIA man Mike Smith has been crowned ‘Clubman of the Year’ at Leighton Buzzard’s Plantation Road golf club – for a second time.
A self-imposed post-Covid crusade to play a round of golf with at least half of the Leighton club’s 600 members by May inspired Immediate Past Captain Simon Rossiter to name 58-year-old sport journalist Mike as the winner of the coveted annual award.
Describing Mike as “an excellent advocate for the club and what it stands for,” Simon adds: “Mike has been an inspiration with an initiative that other club members should be encouraged to follow. We can all fall into the trap of playing with the same friends every week, but to make all members feel included and to take the opportunity to meet and encourage fellow golfers to enjoy the club is a great idea.”
Mike started his golfing marathon when the original Covid 19 lockdown rules were partially relaxed in May, 2020.   He currently has 36 more rounds to complete to hit his 300 target by May.
One of the first pupils to be educated at the Vandyke school when it opened in 1976, Mike’s journalistic career began in 1983 as a reporter with the Leighton Buzzard Observer. He worked for two other publications before joining the Daily Mail on their sports desk 32 years ago.
A member of the Leighton club for 25 years, Mike, who currently plays off a handicap of six, won the same award several years ago for his voluntary work in encouraging junior members at the Leighton club.
Says Mike, a regular player in club competitions and inter-club and seniors’ matches: “A lot of members, including Captain Simon and fellow management committee members , have successfully steered the club through an unprecedented and difficult two  years, so to receive the Clubman Award in such circumstances is very humbling. “
[] Six pairs of golfers have now qualified for the final of Leighton’s Captains’ Cup, with the winners of other Saturday and Sunday qualifiers joining them before the final on April 8.
The latest qualifiers are Ben Willis and Russell Cohen who topped the table in the Saturday event beating Oliver Mortimer and Garry Bennett by three shots, and Tony Brinded and Craig Eustance, whose 46 points in the Sunday qualifier pipped Josh Banwell and George Mills by a shot.
They join Chris Hawkins and Dharm Diwaker, Dean Mercer and Ian Woodman, Tim Mitchell and John McKay along with Simon Rose and Barry Witherden who carded high-scoring finishes.
[] Former Leighton club Captain Peter Messenger has died aged 77 after a short illness.  Peter, whose funeral takes place next Monday (Feb 21) with a service at Bierton Crematorium, was Leighton Captain in 1992.  
Former LBO journalist Mike Smith receives his ‘Clubman of the Year” award from Leighton’s Immediate Past Captain Simon Rossiter.