Garry Garcia and Mick Jenkins held their nerve on the final hole to help Copthorne Golf Club claim a hard-fought victory over Ifield and lift the 2013 Exclusive Golf Trophy at Mannings Heath Golf Club.
The two teams produced a stunning climax to the final of the Sussex County Inter-Club Handicap Matchplay Championship – which was played on Manning’s Heath’s renowned Waterfall Course – with the identity of the winners not decided until the last hole of the deciding match.
Copthorne looked to be heading towards a comfortable win as victories from Steve May and Martin Arter and Darren Bignall and Karl Durkin put them 2-0 ahead in the fourball betterball knockout competition, only for Ifield to hit straight back.
Peter Death, who plays off nine, and 15-handicapper Steve Tigg produced a stunning display of golf to overwhelm their opponents Ed Copsey and Paul Watts 9 up (all matches continued to the 18th hole), meaning the final result hinged on Garcia and Jenkins’ match against Bob Miller and Jerry Hibbs.
But, as their teammates watched on, the Copthorne pair rose to the challenge to close out their match on the 417-yard par-four 18th by a one-hole margin to secure a 3-1 victory.
The final of the 2013 Exclusive Golf Plate also produced a thrilling finish with Beauport Park beating Crowborough by a 3-1 winning margin, with Len Crew and Wayne Potter claiming the decisive point after beating opponents David Drew and Gary Reeve-Wing on the final hole.
The brainchild of Ian Jaggard, a former captain at Mannings Heath and present Sussex junior manager, the Exclusive Golf Trophy is growing all the time and 42 clubs from around the county took part in this year’s competition, which is for category two and three golfers.
Mannings Heath Golf Club, which is owned by the Exclusive Golf group alongside The Manor House Golf Club in Castle Combe, near Bath, boasts two 18-hole layouts – the Waterfall Course and Kingfisher Course.
The former is a members-only course which hosted the 2013 English Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship in August, while the latter flows gracefully through the Sussex countryside, testing the skills and nerve of the most seasoned player and was rated by the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in England’ as the best pay-and-play course in the county in 2011.
Steve Slinger, general manager of Mannings Heath Golf Club, said: “This is the third year Exclusive Golf has sponsored the competition and I think it is a great format.
“The four teams that took part in this year’s finals day served up a real golfing treat and both matches hung in the balance right until the end.
“It’s rare for category two and three players to have a knockout event that is designed specifically for them and I believe that the concept will catch on in other counties in the future.”