Banwell races away to the double

David Banwell with his trophy and County President David Hawkins.
David Banwell with his trophy and County President David Hawkins.

Former mini-car driving champion David Banwell has raced to two successive championship victories in his first year as a golfing “senior”.

Within the space of three days, Heath and Reach based David was been crowned Bedfordshire County Seniors champion and then winner of the Ian Mann trophy, the Seniors top award at Leighton Buzzard golf club he joined as an eight-year-old 48 years ago.

Now-retired David carded a gross 74 to win the County championships in tricky conditions at a Beds & County course and a 67-strong field.

His round included a birdie, five bogeys and 12 pars as the man who was a pupil at Heath junior school when his uncle Dennis introduced him to golf, finished top with a shot to spare.

And two days later, David completed the “double” by winning the Leighton Seniors event, beating 64 club colleagues with a gross 70 playing off a handicap of four.

You have to be 55 to qualify for the senior events, and two win two competitions in three days in my first year was something special” said David, whose sons Ollie and Josh are both low handicap golfers.

Unluckiest man in both events was ex-serviceman Mark Hammond. Former RAF man Mark, 58, missed out on the County title by just two shots, his gross 77 placing him fifth overall and second in his age category, while in the Leighton event, he had to be content with the runners-up spot after carding the lowest nett score of the day, his 65 pipping Stuart Price and David Banwell for the handicap trophy.

Banker Richard Samuels won Leighton’s July stableford with 42 points, two clear of Mike Smith and Frank Beck, with Tony Conneely, Steve Light, Peter Myrants and Peter Gadsden heading a chasing pack.

The Division Two table was headed by Tony Brinded with 41 points, one clear of Joe Berry, with Philip Whitecross, Neil Jarvis and Neil Laming all carding 38 points.