University of Exeter Alumni Golf Society

Murray ace the first in alumni golf events

Former University sportsman Ian Murray (German 1972) celebrated a rare return to Devon by recording his first hole-in-one in last weekend’s Annual Alumni vs. Students golf match.

Another warm, sunny day at Dawlish Warren GC was the setting for Murray’s ace, which proved the turning point in a tight match with golf scholar James Wallace in the Sunday Singles. His win helped the alumni tie the competition 4½ - 4½. However, ‘Ryder Cup rules’ mean that the students keep the trophy for the third year.

Captain Rod Alexander (History 1971) had executed a ‘cunning plan‘ to outwit University Director of Golf Craig Townsend’s (Exercise and Sports Science 2002) steam in his Fourballs pairings, and the alumni team sat down to their Saturday evening dinner celebrating an unexpected 2½ - ½ lead.

‘Baldrick’ Alexander led from the front with fellow alumni Roger Peek (Mathematics 1966), beating students Laurie Potter and Alice Barnes by one hole. Perhaps a little complacent from being three-up as they left the 15th green, the alumni team lost the next two holes and were relieved to close-out a win on the final green.

In the second match, alumni Northcote Trophy newcomer Phillip Kimberley (Chemical Engineering 1971) teamed up with John Wakeley (Economics 1978) to record an impressive win over Chris ‘Hitman’ Hayter and Chris Davies by ‘3 & 2’.

The final Fourball was a tightly-fought match between alumni Ian Murray and John Gilbert, and students Nick Hector and Mary Ince, with little between the teams until the closing stages, when the alumni won holes 15 and 16. At the 17th Nick Hector pulled a hole back for the students, and with Murray driving his ball out-of-bounds at the 18th, it needed a steady head from Gilbert to seal victory for the alumni. Alas, this was not to be, having driven to the middle of the fairway he put two balls out-of-bounds, and the match ended-up halved.

A weekend of two halves

Sunday’s Singles saw two new faces among the students, and a determination to put Saturday’s Fourball results behind them.

Alumni captain Alexander was up for a rematch with Chris ‘Hitman’ Hayter, who was determined to avenge last year’s Singles defeat, and Hayter came through in a competitive match by ‘2 & 1’.

Two of Saturday’s alumni winners, Roger Peek and Philip Kimberley, were unable to recapture their earlier form, with Peek losing steam after being two-up at the turn, losing ‘4 & 2’ to Tom Watkins, who bizarrely saw his driver-head fly off the shaft to be lost amongst the gorse bushes, whilst Kimberley lost to Laurie Potter ‘3 & 2’.

John Gilbert and Nick Hector locked-swords for the second time, with Hector winning on the 17th green with a superb pitch in for birdie, cementing a ‘3 & 1’ victory.

Besides Ian Murray’s memorable victory, ‘Mr Consistent’ John Wakeley, maintained his unbeaten alumni record, winning by ‘3 & 2’ against Tristan Lee.

The great spirit shown on the golf course extended to the after-match lunch, and the Northcote Trophy was presented by University Events Manager Angela Evans to University Captain James Wallace.

Whilst the trophy remains with the students, the alumni, as Captain Alexander quickly pointed out, still lead in points-won over the three years.

Plans for next year’s event are already being discussed, and the hope is that we can boost numbers to eight-to-twelve a team. Next year’s date will be set earlier to give alumni more time to plan their Devon visit, and practice their aces! The 13th hole at Dawlish Warren will certainly be remembered for Ian Murray’s 2011 achievement.

On behalf of the alumni our thanks go to Nick Beasant (Geography 1998), Craig Townsend and the Dawlish Warren Golf Club for the event organisation and excellent hospitality.

Written by John Gilbert (Economics 1972)

Date: 8 April 2011

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