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Biggs makes it a Diss double in Suffolk County Championships

PUBLISHED: 09:02 15 June 2018

SUFFOLK AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP (from left): Suffolk Golf Union president Colin Firmin, Sam Debenham (runner-up), James Biggs (champion with Todd Cup) and Mick Varley, captain of host club Rookery Park Photo: CONTRIBUTED

SUFFOLK AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP (from left): Suffolk Golf Union president Colin Firmin, Sam Debenham (runner-up), James Biggs (champion with Todd Cup) and Mick Varley, captain of host club Rookery Park Photo: CONTRIBUTED

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Diss Golf Club’s James Biggs has won the Suffolk Amateur Championship for the second year running.

The recent winner of the prestigious Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog beat Sam Debenham in a play-off at Rookery Park on Sunday.

Debenham’s opening round of four under par 68 put him three shots clear of field, with Biggs four off the pace on level par. But the Hintlesham man could manage only a 75 after lunch and Biggs’ 71 was good enough to force extra-time.

The first hole of the sudden-death play-off, played on the 17th, was halved in par fours so the players set off again down the 18th, a 479-yard par five.

Debenham’s second shot ended in grassy rough to the right of the green while Biggs, just short of a greenside bunker, was left with a simple chip. There was to be no escape for Debenham, with Biggs’ birdie sealing another fine win.

Meanwhile, Norfolk champion Warren Bates, from Heacham Manor Golf Club, who won a play-off of his own to claim county silverware at Royal Norwich, now has another big target – the 147th Open Championship.

He has been entered in the Regional Qualifier at Northamptonshire County on June 25 by Paul Searle, managing director of Searles Leisure Resort, who will also be his caddie for the day.

PGA Professional Ray Stocker, who has been coaching Bates since he was a young boy, will also be rooting for the 18-year-old as he takes on another tough challenge.

“Warren has been going from strength to strength,” he said. “We are all very proud of him, this is a fabulous opportunity and we wish him well.”

The up and coming star broke two course records during the Heacham Manor Club Championship in 2017 and is having another great year of golf.

Before winning his County Championship he won the Crystal Chalice and Vase Club Championship at Hunstanton Golf Club, shooting 77 in the first round and 76 in the second round in very windy conditions.

At Royal Norwich he recorded a one under par four round total of 279 (66, 70, 71, 72) to force a three-way play-off with Jack Cullington and Giles Evans, which he won at the first play-off hole by chipping in from off the green.

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