Pair exceed expectations to land title

Lyndsey HewisonRoyal Norwich's Austin Brydon extended his personal roll of honour when he teamed up with club colleague Scott Nichols to win the Norfolk county foursomes championship at Eaton.Lyndsey Hewison

Royal Norwich's Austin Brydon extended his personal roll of honour when he teamed up with club colleague Scott Nichols to win the Norfolk county foursomes championship at Eaton.

The former Norfolk Open and amateur champion, has won this title twice before.

'I'm chuffed - and it was good nice to win it in Eaton's centenary year,' said Brydon, who started his golf at the club and was a member there for 20 years. The Royal Norwich pair are longstanding partners, having first met in county matches when Nichols was Suffolk captain and then pairing up when he moved to the Hellesdon club.

However, they went into this event with little expectation.

Brydon said: 'I haven't played a great deal of golf, and although I knew I was swinging it reasonably I wasn't too sure about the chipping and putting. Scott broke his ribs in January and only started playing again about two weeks ago. We decided to just have a bit of fun and see what happened. I think that was the right approach for us.'

The pair - Brydon plays off scratch and Nichols off four - were enviably steady. They didn't have a double bogey all weekend and they produced a number of crucial shots at the right time. For example, in the first day's 36-hole strokeplay qualifying, Brydon holed a bunker shot for par and two points on the 16th, while Nichols holed a 15-footer for an eagle three on the first.

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They continued in the same vein throughout the matchplay stages. Brydon added: 'Both our matches were very good and very tough over the opening holes, with both sides holing good putts. But we managed to pull away over the back nine.'

The championship was very tightly contested with some of the best-ever qualifying scores. The full field played 36-holes of stableford qualifying with the top four pairs going forward to the second day's championship matchplay flight. The next four pairs contested Flight Two which was won by teenagers Matthew Bacon (Costessey Park) and Aaron Bullock (Caldecott Hall).

Top qualifiers were Sean Terrington and Ben Johnson of Royal Norwich who notched up 76 points. Meanwhile one pair, who scored 71 points, failed to make the matchplay stages.

The event was played at Eaton for the first time and county secretary David Horsburgh said: 'The club were great, both for the way they presented the course and for the service in the clubhouse.'

t Bungay & Waveney Valley's Andrew Collison is the PGA East Region's champion head professional.

He won the title at Chigwell, Essex, where he scored four-under 67 and was three shots clear of the field. He was one of only two players to break par.

Collison is also the PGA East Region champion and he said: 'I'm really pleased. The head pro's title is a nice one to win and makes a very nice double with the professional title.'

He started slowly, with bogeys on the first two holes but soon got hose shots back when he eagled the par five 5th and birdied the shot sixth. Four more birdies and just one further bogey followed.

Collison added: 'It was a difficult scoring day and the greens were small, hard and fast. I played well and my short game was really good.'

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