Titans lock horns as Latimer comes out on top to claim title

Runner-up Sam Messenger with new Scratch champion John Latimer.
Runner-up Sam Messenger with new Scratch champion John Latimer.

John Latimer has won Leighton Buzzard Golf Club’s Battle of the Titans – a match-play singles knock-out competition for amateur golfers playing off scratch irrespective of their official club handicap.

J ohn, a 50-year-old five-handicap golfer claimed the scalp of chiropodist Sam Messenger in a keenly contested 36-hole final after getting off to a flying start.

Four holes down at the halfway stage, Sam, 42, who plays off a handicap of seven, fought gallantly on the second leg before John claimed victory with four holes to spare.

Nine years a member of the Leighton club, John, a former winner of the Croxford Cup and Captains Day competition as well as team events, beat Greg Driscoll, White and Josh Banwell on his way to the final, just days after holing an inch-perfect 8-iron shot on Harpenden’s 170-yard Par 3 fifth, his third “ace” since taking up golf.

Sam, who was Junior Captain of the Plantation Road club in 1992, rekindled his interest in golf four years ago and has previously won the Autumn Bowl, Henley Cup and Grand Prix events. On his way to the final, he beat Mike Smith, Graham Freer, Phil Coumbe and David Banwell.

The Scratch Trophy was donated by Peter Taylor, a former club treasurer who was President in 1992-3. Said winner John: “Sam and I play together quite regularly and always have a tough match. This was no different.”

Despite losing 5-2 at Whipsnade Park, the Leighton Seniors retained the inter-club trophy for the sixth successive year, having won the first leg 6-2. Steve Shepherd and Terry Wright and Mike Manning and Kelvin Young carded the important wins, with Denis Leitch and Christopher Figg recording a crucial draw.

The Seniors ended their victory drought toppling John O’Gaunt 5-3. Wins by Martin Broadley and late stand-in Mike Turnock, Ian Rimmer and Keith Oddie, George Darbyshire and Pat Quinlan and Stephen King and Morley Smith was backed-up with halves by David Roberts and Denis Leitch and John Clavey and Keith Camp.

David Roberts won the Leighton September Midweek medal, his nett 66 beating Geoffrey Nunn by a single shot. Tony Russell, Richard Dale, and Phil Coumbe headed a chasing pack with nett 68s.

Elsa King won Leighton Ladies Macmillan stableford with 37 points in an event which raised £221 for the cancer support charity while the Ladies lost their last shield match of the season 4-2 to Tilsworth. Chris Rimmer and Joan Waples won for Leighton with Bev Martin halving her match.

Leighton’s Mixed team lost 4-3 against Buckingham, birthday girl Patti Marriott chipping in from 30 yards on the 16th to win with husband Steve. Tony Simpson and Sandra Bellis and Steve Leng and Anne Tilbury also won for Leighton with Brian and Sandra Carter halving.