The Captain’s Prize Preview

In a twist to the usual format this year’s Captain’s prize mixes up stroke play, matchplay and stableford. Round 1 takes place this Saturday in medal format with full handicap. The top eight scores qualify for a mini match play tournament with the quarter and semi finals to be decided before the final two battle it out on the 12th September for the title. Non qualifiers will be in a stableford competition on that Saturday. Complimentary refreshments will be available on the 10th tee on Saturday 29th August and a raffle is also been held in favour of the British Heart Foundation & Cancer Research UK.

So, who are the contenders for the title? With a mix of medal and matchplay the mettle of the winner will be tested. If you make the grade a steady round and that killer round wont quite be enough once you’re face to face with your quarter final opponent. With full difference of handicap in the interim rounds matchplay can be unnerving for those giving away the shots. Mick Heys (14) v Anthony Barnett (6) saw the higher handicapper claim a 4&3 victory and only a miraculous escape from Lee Earnshaw (11) v David Marshall (20) – and a full 9 shots difference – saw the low handicapper needing to win 5 holes on the bounce at 4 down to progress.

With the mix in mind here’s six to reckon with.

  1. Mick Heys (14). Mick’s win at the Open, coupled with 23 pts in his latest league outing sees him in good form. He’ll fancy his chances at matchplay, too, after his win over Anthony Barnett.
  2. Rob Watkins (5). With two majors under his belt so far Rob has proved supremely consistent under pressure. A favourite to progress, it’d be down to the test of match play.
  3. Jonny Rob (15). Mick’s partner in crime at The Open, Jonny’s form is in a purple patch. Shooting a 61 to get his handicap to 15, Jonny will relish another bash at match play should he go through.
  4. Bobby Fielden (12). There’s not a leaderboard without a Fielden brother at the top or thereabouts and this competition may well be no different. Bobby has come through arguably the toughest quarter of the draw of the Fred Hirst to reach the semi final. A medal winner already, either format seems to suit him right now.
  5. Chris Thornsby (1). Some of the finest scoring this year has yet to yield Chris a major but playing consistently to a handicap of 1, now, means 1st round qualification and a spot in the top 8 is not something you’d bet against. Nor would you rate your chances should you draw Chris in match play; whatever the difference in handicap.
  6. Mark Wareing (9). Always up in league standings and always one of the furthest down the fairway off the tee, Mark is consistent in both disciplines this year. Unfortunately he had to concede his Fred Hirst charge but, after a solid 19 pts in this weeks summer league, is still well in form.
The first medal sees Bobby Fielden win with a 62 after count back. With his match play prowess he’s rightly a favourite for the Captain’s Prize.
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