This 36-hole competition played over a single day was sponsored by Makers Construction who have strong links with both the club and Junior Section where former Junior Club Captain Joe Marler now works for the Company.
The early morning round saw the weather play its part making the 18 championship course even tougher than usual and with the course just shy of 7000 yards the competition scratch score moved up to 75 reflecting the prevailing conditions.
All the juniors taking part received “goodie bags” from Makers including a sleeve of the latest Titiest Prov 1 ball and refreshments to see them through the day accompanied with the odd “stress helmet” to alleviate the tension.
The Junior Championship is decided by the lowest gross score but also entails a best nett to reward those players who beat their handicap.
With competitors holding handicaps as low as 3 and 4 the competition was always going to be close and a well fought out affair. Branston Juniors have several players who not only represent their county but also England boys including this years Junior Club Captain Alexi Glass.
After the first round there was little to choose between 3 players with James Bailey defending champion tied with Owen Tweed both shooting a gross 79 off handicaps of 3 and Alexi Glass 3 shots behind playing off 4. Ollie Gibbs shot a commendable 86 off 11 producing the only nett sub par round and placing him in a strong place for the Nett prize.
The competition was made even more exciting for those in the club house with the introduction of the VPAR real time scoring system, which updated all the players scores in real-time through apps on the competitors phones, which provided a leader board position to all players.
“VPAR have kindly trialled this technology for us to demonstrate a “true life” championship feel to the tournament. It adds another dimension to the competition and allows players to consider their strategy throughout the day”
Phil Bailey – Junior co-ordinator, Branston
After the second round the leader in the club house was Ollie Gibbs carding a commendable 77 and giving him an unassailable lead in the Best Nett carding the only under par score of 142.
The closing holes were incredibly exciting with 3 players tied on the 16th, but double bogeys by Alexi and James placed Owen Tweed in the driving seat. Gasps from the attending crowd as the scores came through on the digital screen.
The gap closed to within 1 when James Bailey birdied the 17th to keep his defence alive and all eyes were trained to the 18th tee to see the final hole unravel. Despite a battling effort by James and Alexi, Owen Tweed remained calm throughout producing a stunning chip on the 18th to leave his ball next to the hole and collect a par securing him the Championship.
Despite a valiant effort James bogeyed the last giving Owen a 2 shot lead and a combined score of 159.
“Makers are delighted to be involved today and the golf and effort from the Juniors has been first rate, this course is not easy, so, after walking 14 miles and being on the course for 9 hours their standard of play is amazing”
Simon Lamb, MD
Paul Allen, Branston Vice Captain was on hand to announce the winners and congratulate all the players who had made it such an exciting tournament.
A special mention should go to Abbie Talboys the only female Junior to take part, although she didn’t have her best two rounds, she has received the Staffordshire Junior Girls Order of Merit 2018 for both gross and nett categories.
Simon Lamb, Managing Director of Makers Construction returned from Madrid just in time to present the prizes and winning trophy to Ollie Gibbs, Best Nett and Branston Junior Club Champion Owen Tweed.
“I am absolutely delighted for Owen, I have watched him develop and play here from the age of 7 and has turned out to be a fabulous player and credit to the Junior section”
Simon Lamb, MD
We caught up with the Champion and his dad Graham Tweed after his victory speech. “I really wanted it today and the competition from the boys didn’t make it easy, but I felt good all day despite the tough morning”
Owen Tweed, Junior Club Champion
Owen is currently the Under 16 Leicestershire County Boys Captain and at the age of 15 still has plenty of time to hone his skills although GCSE’s are just around the corner.
Owen is already under the wing of Prodream a facility company who provide pathways for young up and coming players who want to reach the heady heights of professional golf. Owen’s aspirations are to study in the UK and then transfer to the USA and become a collegiate player.
Previous winners of the Branston Junior Championship include Ian Whalley who turned professional and is currently the Head professional at Kedleston Golf Club, just outside Derby. We will watch Owens progress with interest and hope he fulfils his dream.