Valentine brings home a trio of trophies to shrink his handicap

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Valentine’s Day came early for a teenage Leighton golfer who has won three club competitions and two cups in the space of a fortnight.

Fourteen-year-old Andres Valentine tapped into his rich seam of form by winning Leighton’s October stableford competition, pipping Tony Conneely for top spot on countback after both finished with 44 points.

And before his 19-handicap could be clipped, Vandyke student Andres added the coveted Groves Trophy too, beating the experienced Len Neal by two holes after being three holes down at the halfway stage.

His hat-trick was completed days later when, playing off a handicap which had been slashed four shots to 15, Andres tapped in three birdies to finish with a score of +9 to win Leighton’s Henley Cup. His nearest challenger was Jack Gammage, who playing off 26, finished with a score of +7, one clear of Christopher Figg on +6, with David Banwell a shot adrift in fourth place.

Andres, who has now had his handicap cut to 13, took up golf seven years ago, joining the Leighton club where grandfather Brian, himself no stranger to winning golf competitions, was Captain in 1989 and President in 2002/3. Andres’ father Darran, who joined Leighton in 2000 and plays off a handicap of 11, is also a regular top table finisher, having won the Croxford Cup and Winter League, says: “Andres has really benefited from lessons with the professional team at Leighton...it won’t be long before he has a lower handicap than me.”

Leighton’s summer scratch team won the Division Four League, with Bedfordshire County President David Hawkins presenting the award to club colleague John Latimer at Friday’s County dinner at the Plantation Road club. There was a presentation too to former Junior skipper and club champion Matt Hill for winning the Bedfordshire scratch championship during a year in which Leighton’s Ben Irvine and Gregory White won the County Foursomes championship.

Ben also teamed with Matt Sale last week to win Leighton’s Daily Mail Foursomes competition with a nett 64.0, with David Banwell and son Josh runners-up with a nett 65.5. Peter Gadsden and Andrew Money took third spot with a nett 67.0, two shots clear of a chasing pack headed by Stuart Leslie and Peter Taylor.

Judy Ammon won Leighton Ladies October stableford beating former Ladies Captain Val Berry on a better back-nine score after both finished with 37 points.

Leighton Ladies Captain Angela Samuels steps down at today’s (Tues) annual meeting with successor Avril Simpson formally being installed at a drive-in next Tuesday.

To get her year of office underway and to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis research, Avril has organised a Christmas Bazaar at the Plantation Road club on Thursday, November 17. The doors open at 10am with the £2.50 admission fee including tea/coffee and mince pies. Admission is available on the day or by obtaining tickets from Avril Simpson on 01525 375187.