Under a light mist and cloudy skies, the first shots were struck at 7:20 am to start the 48th Lagonda Trophy. The scoring conditions for the early starters were as good as they had been in years. The Old Course was in excellent condition thanks to the hard work put in by Andrew Howarth and his team. The greens were true and running fast on the stimp meter and they were certainly going to test this high class field of competitors.
Those playing for position off the tee found the best success, with wayward drives captured by the longer rough, making ball control into the greens extremely difficult. The class of the morning session was Gog Magog member Nicholas Smits, with just a single bogey, offset by 5 birdies for a superb 67. He was tied for the lead after 18 holes with Oliver Allison of the Colchester Golf Club. Only 8 players out of the field of 65 broke par, with fellow Gog Magog member Jake Plumb, just three back with a solid opening round of 70.
The afternoon session started with a superb 66 from Luke Quint of the Ulverston Golf Club to take the early lead on 137, with Edward Featherstone from the Sheringham Golf Club, firing a 69 to join him at the top of the leader board by the end of play. Luke was also in contention last year where he was in the final group on day 2.
Member Nicholas Smits continued his fine play with a 2 over 72 to finish on 139, while fellow member Jake Plumb followed up his morning round one shot better with a 69 to also move to139 for the tournament. This was good enough for a tied 5th position after 36 holes and just two shots back.
With 9 rounds under par for the second round the scoring proved just as challenging, making the cut of 40 players and ties at 149, nine over par.
Pace setter in the morning round of the 2nd day was Adam Tridgell of the Hanbury Manor Golf Club, who fired his best round of the tournament of 67. His round which included 7 birdies and 4 bogeys, gave him a cumulative total of 205. Edward Featherstone kept in touch with a solid 70 for 207, whilst Luke Quint faltered near the end of his round with double bogeys at the 15th and 18th holes. Colchester Golf Club’s Oliver Baker and Oliver Allison were lying joint 3rd on 209 and still in contention.
Local members Jake Plumb and Nick Smits would now have to have outstanding rounds to become the first Gog Magog winner since Russell Claydon back in 1988. Plumb went into the final round in touching distance, just 6 shots back while Smits was now 9 back and tied for 13th.
The sun briefly came out in the afternoon for the first time during the competition, and with a touch of wind on the top of the hill the scene was set for another fantastic finish. It was all change at the top of the leader board where Featherstone made the turn in 33 to move to -5, while round three leader Tridgell struggled with a 39 to drop back to even par for the tournament.
Both Baker and Allison were battling hard and remained in striking distance of Featherstone over the final nine holes. Also coming up on the rails was George Cordell of the Worksop Golf Club, who returned a magnificent 65 to move up the leader board to eventually finish runner up on 279, pipping Oliver Baker on a card play-off.
But at the end of the day it was the class of the teenager from Sheringham with a closing 70, to finish two shots ahead of the field and was crowned Lagonda Trophy Winner for 2023.
Gog Magog Club members Jake Plumb and Nicholas Smits finished 8th and 18th respectively.
Our sincere thanks go to Clive Smith, the founder and sponsor of the Lagonda Trophy, who without his foresight back in 1975, and support ever since, this great tournament would never have taken place.
Our thanks go to all the competitors for making Clive’s event so special.
To all of the club members who gave up their time to help run the event, including the ball spotters, live scorers, recorders, referees, starters, office staff, professional staff, marshals, office staff, a huge thank you from the Tournament Chairman.
All scores and statistics for each hole can be found on the Gog Magog website.
A gallery of wonderful photographs can be found at the website of Kevin Diss Photography.
The final leader board can be found here.