Golf: Bognor juniors’ big night has a sad note

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Nearly 100 juniors, their parents, grandparents and sponsors attended the Bognor GC juniors’ annual dinner and prize-giving.

The event was more than tinged with sadness as it came just a short while after a popular member of the junior section, Dan Hoare, collapsed and died suddenly.

The player of the year award was presented to 15-year-old Jordan Vincent. He has shown incredible consistency throughout the year, reducing his handicap from nine to five.

As a result of points scored over ten events during the season, he was also the winner of the order of merit.

In September he became the club champion and shot his best competition round with a two-under-par 68.

Jordan and Olly Longlands won the Club Erleigh Foursomes knockout competition. Jordan and Tom Stoneham have been selected for the Sussex county under-16s and Jake Stoneham for the county under-13s.

As a result of reducing his handicap from 36 to 21 during the year, Jake was named most improved golfer. Eighteen-year-old James Ashman, playing off one, won the junior club championship. Vincent was runner-up and the late Dan Hoare was third.

For the second year, Jack Taylor won the Juniors’ KO competition, reducing his handicap from 36 to 24 during the season.

The team comprising Louis Harrison, Dan Hoare, Vincent, Tom Stoneham, Ryan Maskell, Ryan Breach, Jason Cullen and Matt Wood won the West Sussex League title and the Parsons’ Memorial competition.

Following an extremely good year, Louis Harrison handed over the role of junior captain to Jason Cullen, with Hayley Mackay as vice-captain.

The junior section is a thriving part of the club.

Their enthusiasm and eagerness is impressive.

They are going from strength to strength and of the 38 members, 16 are 13 and under.

There is a very full fixture list for 2012 and Ian Stoneham, the junior organiser, says the future looks extremely good and there is little doubt some outstanding results will be forthcoming in the next couple of years.

The academy is run by Robbie Hughes and instruction is available every Saturday morning. All new members, whatever their ability, are made very welcome.

From March until July, regular coaching sessions for the juniors will take place, run by club professional Matthew Kirby and his assistant James Maclean, supported by Ian Stoneham.

The emphasis will be on fun and many of the activities will include those used in the national skills challenge.

Last year a large group of the juniors were taken to The Open at Sandwich.

Despite torrential rain and strong winds a great time was had by all. This spring a group will go to the BMW PGA event at Wentworth.