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Stoke Rochford Golf Club near Grantham raise money for the air ambulance with marathon 72-hole fund-raiser

Stoke Rochford Golf Club members have completed a marathon 72-hole fund-raiser in memory of a former clubmate.

Professional golfer Nick Watson and clubmate Niall Doubleday have raised just shy of £850 for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance after tackling four rounds of the challenging Stoke Rochford course back-to-back without a break.

The event was held in place of an annual golf day, hosted by the club, in memory of Chris Jones who died in a car crash on Christmas Day, 2012.

Nick and Niall raised just shy of £850 for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance (42753282)
Nick and Niall raised just shy of £850 for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance (42753282)

Coronavirus restrictions persuaded the Jones family to cancel this year’s event, but Chris’ cousin Nick, from Ancaster, and Waltham golfer Niall came up with an alternative plan.

“Niall read about a 72-hole challenge on Facebook and emailed me, ‘shall we do this to raise money for the air ambulance?’,” said Nick who turned pro in May 2016.

“We went there just before seven in the morning, as soon as we could see, and got round pretty quickly. We were done around 4pm.

“We didn’t stop at all - we walked from the 18th hole straight back to the first tee.

“We thought if we stopped, our legs would seize up and we wouldn’t want to get going again.”

The pair have been friends and regular playing partners for the last 10 years since Niall joined the club, a factor which helped prevent boredom.

But for Nick, who plies his trade on the EuroPro Tour, the unique nature of the picturesque undulating course also kept the challenge fresh throughout the nine-and-a-quarter hours of solid golf.

“It was more enjoyable than hard work, it was just a good day,” he added.

“Initially we both thought ‘this is going to be tough’ and we would be struggling by the end, but it didn’t feel that bad at all.

“The course keeps on challenging you and making you think.

“It’s not the longest, but because it has slopes and hills you never seem to have the same shot twice, it always gives you a different challenge.

“So doing four rounds in a row, it didn’t feel like you were playing the same course.”

The pair added to their coffers by challenging their fellow clubmates to guess how many shots it would take them, in exchange for a donation.

With handicap secretary Roger Green helping to keep the pair fed and watered, Nick (28) completed his challenge in 276 shots with a final round of three-under-par helping him to a gross total of four-under.

Four-handicapper Niall was not far behind, finishing in 304 shots for a gross 24-over total.

“Niall’s first two rounds were good, but I think he got tired and fell away a bit,” said Nick.

“I try to avoid early mornings normally so the first couple for me was just about trying to wake up.

“We were conscious of keeping up the speed early on because we wanted to make sure we had enough daylight.

“But when it came to the last round and we knew we had plenty of time, we decided to concentrate properly and take our time.”

To donate to the 72-hole challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/srgc72holechallenge

In other news, the Stoke Rochford GC seniors section held their annual Bagshaw Bowl competition to support Prostate Cancer.

The annual event has been held every year since 2007 in memory of former member Dick Bagshaw and has raised more than £7,000 for the charity.

This year’s edition made £265 and was won by Terry Haggerty who pushed John Martindale into the runners-up spot, with Martin Bilson completing the top three.

Stoke Rochford’s annual seniors versus ladies match for the Goldsbrough Bowl saw the seniors take the honours.

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