Revived 36-hole scratch foursomes first contested in 1933 delivers exciting finale
After a gap of more than a decade, the re-staging of The Antlers tournament - an event with a rich heritage in amateur golf dating back 86 years - proved to be a huge success at Royal Mid-Surrey in Richmond last Sunday when a 3-hole playoff decided the title.
A total of 36 pairs from across the UK took part in the 36-hole scratch foursomes tournament on the famous JH Taylor course. Competitors were required to have a maximum handicap of 12 combined and 8 for individuals. The field included a mixed pairing and a women’s pairing for the first time.
A closely contested event saw former Royal Mid-Surrey junior members Dom Cotton and Simon Peck win The Antlers trophy with a birdie on the 18th green, after an exciting playoff with Harry Fryer and Giles Pickford, who had also finished with a Gross score of 145.
In third place with a score of 148 Gross was the father and son combination of Marcus and Louis Ferguson Jones. Marcus is another former junior member at Royal Mid-Surrey, while 16-year-old Louis is the Club’s present Junior Captain.
A generation ago, many Walker Cup and future Walker Cup players played in the Antlers, often their results noted by selectors for future consideration. Current Royal Mid-Surrey President Martin Christmas took part in such a trial and then came up against an American team including Jack Nicklaus.
“Having taken part in The Antlers tournament and enjoyed it so much in past, I was thrilled to see it return to Royal Mid-Surrey and for so many former and present junior members do so well,” said Martin, who last played in the event in 2007. “The JH Taylor course proved a real challenge for accomplished players and the event is now firmly back on the annual calendar,” he added.
Well-known names in broadcasting and Tour professionals such as Bruce Critchley (1974), Richard Boxall and Roger Chapman (1981) are among those appearing on The Antlers’ roll of honour board displayed in the Royal Mid-Surrey clubhouse. More details can be found at www.rmsgc.co.uk.