Farleigh member Paul Bennett wrote himself into Farleigh Golf Club’s, and potentially amateur golf’s, history books as he impressively birdied all the par threes in the first round of the annual Club Championships.
Bennett posted a two on all four of the par threes on Farleigh’s purple course (a combination of the blue and red nines) on day one of the tournament, before getting yet another birdie on day two to make it an amazing five twos through 36 holes.
The 52-year-old from Warlingham, who has only been playing golf for 10 years and plays off a handicap of 14, is believed to be the first golfer, professional or amateur, to achieve the remarkable feat at Farleigh.
He said: “My playing partners were going nuts when I birdied the final par-three on the 16th – it was only then that I realised the magnitude of what I had just achieved. Where I was playing well, I was more focussed on getting a good score and didn’t think about anything else.
“I’m prouder of this than I would be if I got a hole-in-one because it wasn’t just a lucky strike. I holed a 12-foot putt on the third and then a ‘highlight reel’ 20-footer which broke from right to left on the 16th to cap off a crazy day. My tee shot on the 13th, which dropped within a foot of the pin, was another highlight.
“The greens were exceptional, despite the weather, and I have to give kudos to the greenkeepers who worked tirelessly to get the greens in fantastic condition for the event. They were so quick and definitely helped me with those all-important putts.”
The 27-hole Surrey venue is home to three nine-hole loops designed by John Jacobs, giving members the opportunity to play three different 18-hole layouts. Bennett’s day one birdies came on the third and seventh hole of the blue loop and the fourth and seventh hole on the red, with another two on the fourth red on the final day.
Bennett went on to finish the tournament in 45th place with rounds of 97 and 87, while Rob Ditch and Alex Keefe battled it out in a dramatic four-hole playoff after both finishing regulation play on 150 – culminating in Farleigh Academy graduate, Keefe, who shot an impressive 76 and 74 over the weekend, being crowned 2021 club champion.
James Ibbetson, Farleigh’s general manager, said: “I still can’t quite believe what we saw. For an amateur golfer to achieve that is quite something. It has definitely gone down in Farleigh history and it was so nice to see his playing partners and the rest of the members get right behind him and congratulate him.
“To put this into perspective, Tiger Woods once made a 10 on one par three at Augusta – two shots more than Paul played all four Farleigh par threes in one day. Amazing. Well done Paul!”