So close, yet so far for Eaton pair in Autumn classic

Mark Allen, head professional at Eaton, and 10-handicap amateur partner David Thomas, the former Norfolk county cricketer, were beaten on countback in the PGA East Region Autumn Classic.

They led after the Greensomes Stableford round at Aldeburgh with 42 points but were overhauled in the better ball round at Thorpeness.

The winners, Murray White of Penfold Park and three-handicap amateur Justin Saunders from Porters Park in Hertfordshire, scored 38 Stableford points in both rounds. The Norfolk pair had 34 on their second round but needed just one more putt to sink to win outright. Allen and Thomas played their second round with PGA European Tour player Philip Golding and three-handicap Garry Brandt who were one point behind on the first day. Golding and Brandt slipped down the leaderboard with a second round of only 33.

Neil Lythgoe (Royal Norwich) and Dennis Grady were only three shots behind in joint 11th place. Ian Ellis (Costessey Park) and former professional footballer Dean Ashton finished 15th. James Hill, son of Thorpeness head professional Frank Hill, won the prize for the longest drive for an amateur at the 18th of 302 yards. Hill, a former professional at Great Yarmouth and Caister, has regained his amateur status and plays off a handicap of one.

Among those in the field was John Hudson (Rivenhall Oaks) who will always be remembered for his holes in one at successive holes in the Martini International at Royal Norwich in 1971. He holed his tee shot at the 195-yard 11th with a four iron. He used his driver at the 311-yard 11th and sunk that as well.

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PGA East Region Autumn Classic (Greensomes Stableford at Aldeburgh, better ball at Thorpeness): 76: Murray White (Penfold Park) and Justin Saunders (Porters Park) 38 38 beat Mark Allen and David Thomas (Eaton) 42 34 on count back. 75: Jamie Le Brun and Charlie Rains (Ely City) 32 43 beat Andrew George and Mick Munnelly (Ely City) 37 38 on count back. Other scores: Shane Diles (Benton Hall) and Paul Reeve 35 39. 73: Neil Lythgoe (Royal Norwich) and Dennis Grady 38 35. 71: Ian Ellis (Costessey Park) and Dean Ashton 33 38. 70: Caroline Grady (Dunston Hall) and Graham Baker 34 36. 69: Chris Cutchie and Steve Wynne (Colchester) 32 37. 68: Paul Wilby (Haverhill) and Mike Duley 35 33. 65: Ollie Rush (Haverhill) and Mike Wilby 33 32. 63: Frank Hill (Thorpeness) and James Hill 29 34. 59: John Hudson (Rivenhall Oaks) and Stroud Gavin 27 32.

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