Marley stays out of trouble to win his sixth RGGC crown

MICK MARLEY might advocate an autumn date for the Royal Guernsey Club Championship every year following his victory on Sunday.

The 57-year-old clinched his sixth club title thanks to ‘the best 78 I’ve ever had’ in dreadful conditions on the L’Ancresse links, which saw only three players break 80 all day.

The champion admitted that had it been an 18-hole competition, it is unlikely they would have played, but the second and concluding round of a Club Championship is a different proposition and he followed up his opening 76 with a round comprising 10 pars and eight bogeys that was enough to hold off junior Rory McKenna by one shot.

‘I had only just dried out from Thursday,’ joked Marley of the extremely wet and windy conditions golfers have had to cope with in recent rounds.

‘It was horrendous out there, almost unplayable really, but I was quite happy to play because the only way I could win was by playing. I’m all right in bad weather, too, because no one is chucking birdies at me.

‘I actually hit the ball really well, got into no trouble, there were just a couple of unforced errors really,’ added the man who won with an aggregate of 154 and, notably, did not lose a ball in his 36 holes despite the conditions.

Marley was particularly pleased to be just one-over par for his first five holes and was then in good shape on the sixth, only to play, in his words, ‘a rubbish chip’ that led to his second bogey of the day.

A couple more dropped shots followed at seven and nine, but he knew 39 for the front nine would keep him in contention as others were struggling more.

Back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12 were not uncommon either, but he admitted that he thought his dropped shot on the par-five 14th, where he was over the back of the green in two, could prove costly.

‘The squall really came in just as we were finished and I don’t remember playing 15, 16 and 17 into wind that strong before,’ Marley said.

‘You couldn’t reach 15 in two, but I managed a four there because I wedged it up to 10ft and that was the longest putt I holed all day.

‘At 17 I hit driver straight into the wind then a full eight iron for my second from about 120 yards and it finished up 20 yards short of the green. I managed to hole a four-and-a-half footer for bogey there, which proved important.’

A par at the last clinched the Club Championship, his first since 2008 having won his first title back in 1986.

Marley’s victory means the trophy sponsored by RG Falla and donated 36 years ago still has only six names on it. He joins Dave Warr as a six-time winner, still some way short of Bobby Eggo’s remarkable 21 victories.

‘I’m very happy to win it again,’ said the victor, who gets to engrave his own name onto the trophy through his day job.

McKenna, who matched Marley’s 78 gross for a 155 aggregate, had the consolation of winning the Garenne Trophy off handicap, finishing two shots clear of Simon Gaudion, who was the only player to match par in the second round playing off 11.

Michel Davy’s 77 was the best gross score of the day and saw him finish fourth in both competitions.

First-round leader Dale Rutledge was third in the Club Championship, adding an 82 to his opening 74.

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