TGC Championship: the 3 days that had everything!
The fabulous weather over the past few months decided to come to a crashing end on the first day of The Golf College (TGC) Championship at Lindfield Golf Club, as torrential rain flooded the hard-baked course.
Just as the Mixed division came through the turn, the 11-13 division half way round the front 9 and the 6 & Under category just setting off, play was initially suspended for an hour.
This left the clubhouse packed with players and parents waiting for decisions over whether rounds would be continued or, for some, whether they would even see the course on Day 1.
After a dry spell during the delay, the course was checked and seemed to be draining well, so players were sent back out to resume their rounds and new times allocated to later starters.
However, within 15 minutes the heavens opened again and with the course instantly saturated, following advice from TGC, the decision was taken to abandon play for the day.
What a difference a day makes…Saturday morning saw beautiful conditions, leaving everyone to delight in the great British weather!
Day 2 had to be reworked, meaning that the 18-hole players were back bright and early at 7.30 am to resume and conclude their rounds, with the Mixed division playing the back 9 to complete their rounds and the 11-13s finishing the front 9, as their round 1 was reduced to 9 holes.
With Day 1 being abandoned, 9-hole players faced a long Saturday playing Rounds 1 and 2 on the same day, with a very short break in-between.
Second rounds commenced at 10.30 am, with the 11-13s out first, followed by the Mixed division, then Round 1 for the 9-hole players.
The younger groups just had time to post their scores from round 1 and grab a bite to eat before heading straight back to the first tee for round 2.
The final groups of the 7-8 division and first 6 & Under players had a bit of a shock, as our Tour Ambassador, Harry Judd, McFly drummer and Strictly Come Dancing winner, was there on the first tee to see them off.
Having been amazed at the quality, Harry headed out with England Golf Young Ambassador, Jessica Pilgrim (we don’t think that she was too unhappy with the job!), on a buggy to see some of the play out on the course.
Harry then stayed to hand out the trophies for Days 1 and 2, meaning plenty of opportunity for players (and parents!) to get photos.
We’d like to thank Harry for his time on the day; he was hugely impressed with the golf on display, and couldn’t have been more friendly and accommodating to everyone – a fantastic BJGT Ambassador!
The forecast for Day 3 wasn’t great, so it left everyone wondering what they would be faced with come Sunday morning, and the answer…pretty perfect conditions again, with a moderate breeze to keep it interesting!
A slightly later start was appreciated, as play got underway at 9.30 am, with players under strict instructions to get round as quickly as possible to make the most of the dry weather.
Only a few spots of rain fell late in the day as the 6 & Under groups finished off their round, but this couldn’t dampen their usual enthusiasm or excitement at having completed their 3-day, 27-hole tournament.
The 6 & Under division, as always, came right down to the last hole, but was won by Dylan Barney with a 3-round total of 117, a single shot ahead of Sebastian Duffield, with Sully Donald in 3rd. Georgia Groves took the girls’ title, on her BJGT debut.
Nikolai Wilding, returning to the BJGT, claimed a fine win in the 7-8 division with a 3-round total of 110, ahead of Zach Wheeler in 2nd and Muhammad-Ammaar Mirza in 3rd. Sapphire Boyce took the girls’ title on 142, ahead of Caitlin Ross.
The fiercely competitive 9-10 division was headed by Ben Sessions on a brilliant 121, ahead of Ronnie Groves (130) and Luca Randall (133). Zoe McLean-Tattan claimed the girls’ title on 140, ahead of Lila-Belle Nacca in 2nd on 145.
Tyler Weaver produced three solid rounds to post a total of 181 to take the 11-13 title, ahead of OOM leader Jack Lee in 2nd on 190, with Micah Blowers, playing his first BJGT event of the season, in 3rd on 193.
The Mixed division Net title deservedly went to Ciara Egan, with a -12 total of 198, ahead of Mark Stockdale on 203.
Ciara’s good form over the three days also saw her top the Girls’ Gross table ahead of Jessica Brown.
Nerves were definitely jangling for the headline Mixed division Gross title, as it all came down to the 18th hole on Sunday, just as we’d hoped!
Xavier Schwarz just held off a charge by Max Weaver, to claim the win by one shot, on his return to the BJGT after a number of years, with a 3-round total of 225, with Max on 226 and Tayan Wagjiani on 228.
All the players deserve huge credit for coping with the rain, followed by delays, waiting around, abandoned play, catching up, and still producing a thrilling event; we hope that they all learned a lot – this is why we are here!
Our thanks go to Lindfield GC, their clubhouse staff and green keepers, and The Golf College, for their hospitality over the 3 days; they let us take over and make all the necessary changes in order to complete the event – not many clubs out there would be willing to do this for a junior golf event!
We very much look forward to this becoming a firm fixture in the junior golfing calendar!
Above are a few photos taken at the event.
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