Norfolk financial director Ralph Brindle scooped the Accountancy Age Masters golf tournament last week after a stunning one-over-par round of 73. His performance capped a brilliant run through qualifying rounds, where the two-handicap player defeated scratch player Guy Phillips – one of the chasing pack in the final.
The final formed the climax to the first Accountancy Age golf tournament, played over several regional rounds. The whole competition was sponsored by NMB-Heller, and the final itself was played at the Forest of Arden course, one of the most challenging courses in the country and site of this year’s British Masters.
Hotly pursued by a chasing group throughout the round, Brindle’s success was down to consistency over the first nine holes. As FD of Norfolk paintbrush manufacturer Hamilton Acorn, Brindle knows all about the importance of laying down a good foundation and he achieved that with birdies on the fifth and seventh holes.
At the halfway mark, Wokingham’s Guy Phillips, who teed off in the same foursome as Brindle at 8.58, was soon close behind him. Accountant-turned-Michael Page recruitment consultant Philips matched Brindle at the half-way stage. From the 42-strong field, David Auger, FD of petrol retailer Garner Group also emerged as a contender.
Auger squeezed into second equal place with Phillips at one stage. But the contention ended in disaster for the 15-handicapper Auger when he picked up a treble bogey after slicing the ball into trees and playing bad recovery shots at the par 4 dog-leg 10th. He said afterwards: ‘Halfway, I thought I could win. Phillips and Brindle were playing consistently and I realised I had to play above myself to win – but I tried too hard and messed up. After that my target was to finish in the top three.’
Despite dropping shots on the sixth and 14th, Brindle was still ahead of Phillips who realised a desperate effort was required to win. By the 17th, both were facing the green defended by a notorious lake. With the pressure on, Phillips fired his ball into the water and dropped valuable points. Brindle dropped a shot on the 18th, but won the match and the tournament. Auger came second when his neat putt on the 18th followed a chip to within three feet of the hole.
Third place went to nine handicap David Madeley, FD of advertising firm Redman Jones & Partners. Accountant Charlie Thomson of Bristol accountants Bishop Fleming took fourth, ahead of David Watson of Saffery Champness.
Guy Phillips finished sixth.
Brindle was rewarded for his efforts with a silver platter and the Masters jacket. He said: ‘It was one of the most pleasurable events I’ve ever played in. To go through the regional, then national finals and win is fantastic.’
The prize for the longest drive went to Phillips for his 290-yard drive on the 13th, and winner of the nearest to pin competition was Kevin Powell. Both received bottles of wine from Fortnum & Mason. Northampton general manager Andrew Kass won the booby prize of a golf ball retriever after coming last.
Runner-up Auger summed up the players’ thoughts on the tournament. He said: ‘The day was excellent, well organised and the weather was good.
Although it was damp underfoot, that didn’t hinder the game because it had a chance to dry out.’ The day established the Accountancy Age Masters as the leading event in the golfing accountants’ calendar.
To register for the 1999 Accountancy Age Golf Masters, call Emma Ross on 0171 316 9554.
THE 1998 GOLF FINALISTS Ralph Brindle Winner David Auger 2nd place David Madeley 3rd place Guy Phillips Longest Drive Kevin Powell Nearest The Pin Sheldon Bloomfield Texas Scramble Bill Jackson Texas Scramble Charlie Thomson Texas Scramble Paul Wigham Texas Scramble Stuart Law Best front nine David Marsh Best front nine David Watson Best front nine Richard Hill Best back nine Charlie Thomson Best back nine Alan Tomlinson Best back nine Allinson, Dave; Askew, David; Barrett, Colin; Campbell, Duncan; Eccott, Phillip; Fleming, Paul; Giles, Phil; Greenwood, Richard; Guberman, Alex; Johnson, Robin; Kass, Andrew; Langford, Alan; Maw, Trevor; McNeill, Ian; Morrow, Michael; Piercy, Mark; Robertson, Stewart; Roff, Michael; Rogers, John; Wilson, Jeff; Winter, Terry; Witts, Kevan
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