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The Champions Trophy 2017

 

The date was 29th July 2017 and the venue once again was the Brabazon Course at the Belfry for the 5th annual Champions/Brooks Bros Challenge Trophy.


Representing Champions were Steve Pilbeam and Neill Birch with Simon Greig and Mark Fleming playing for Brooks Bros.

 

Having deployed the now not so secret weapon (2 pints of Stella each) it was Brooks that took the early lead winning the 1st hole but they hadn't bargained on the oppositions determination to finally take the trophy back to Surrey as Champions powered through, winning the next 5 consecutive holes!

 

The Brooks boys looked a beaten team until finally at the 7th PAR 3 over water, Mark made the green whilst Neil and Steve ended up in the water.

 

Brooks then took the 9th hole with tidy play from Simon leaving Champions 2 up at the turn. Brooks deployed the beer tactic at the half way house and at the famous 10th they all went for the green with Mark and Neill in the water and Simon just off the green and Steve unlucky to find the greenside bunker after a great drive. With an easier 2nd shot Simon took the 10th for Brooks. The next 6 holes were a close affair with 3 holes halved and at the PAR 5 17th tee Champions had a 2 hole lead with just 2 to play. The trophy was within their grasp! All 4 players drove well with Mark furthest back and with confidence low, opting with his 2nd shot to lay up at the ditch 134yds away. His 9 iron stopped just 1m short of the ditch (luck not judgement) and then pulled off his shot of the match, hitting his 8 iron downwind 161yds on to the green, 10ft left of the pin. With 2 putts to win the hole the job was done first putt and it was a birdie win for Brooks. Filled with confidence, on the 18th Mark promptly hit not 1 but 2 drives into the water followed by Steve and Neill who at least got over with their second attempts. Simon drove straight but ran into small trees to result in a chip out. With the pressure on, all 3 still in play managed to find the water yet again with their approach shots and Neill who really went for it like a coiled spring of power, left a crater in the hallowed fairway that required a groundworks team and JCB to put right! Amazingly, and after much counting on fingers (and toes), it was decided that Simon had won the PAR 5 18th hole with an 11 (yes 11 not a typo!) to halve the match and retain the trophy for Brooks.


Champions (by name at least) had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory! Man of the match was Neill who played brilliantly and won't be getting any shots next year.