By PAUL TROW
When Pat Mooney was sports editor of the Hampstead & Highgate Express, a post he held for more than three decades until he retired a few years ago, he had a pretty good handle on what was going on at Muswell Hill, one of the golf clubs on his patch.
Now, following his third victory in the SJA’s annual golf tournament at the north London club for the Phil Sheldon Trophy, it’s clear he has a grip on the place as a golfer as well.
Pat’s impressive Stableford score of 35 points off a handicap of 15 on a sultry, late-July morning was enough for him to regain the trophy he also won in 2011 and 2014 by five points from second-placed Paolo Minoli, ironically a long-standing supplier of photographs to Pat during his reign at the Ham & High.
Third place with 28 points was claimed by Guardian/Observer tennis and boxing correspondent Kevin Mitchell, who, like Paolo, is a Muswell Hill member.
Pat’s prize was a £50 voucher which he spent in professional David Wilton’s shop while part of Paolo’s prize was a copy of the recently published 125th anniversary history of Muswell Hill Golf Club, a book to which he had contributed several pictures!
Another Muswell Hill member, six-handicapper Phil Richardson, won the guests’ event with 36 points and a ticket to the SJA’s awards lunch on Thursday, November 28. Second place in the guests’ section with 34 points went to Phil Butler, older brother of rugby writer/broadcaster and ex-Wales international Eddie Butler, while Peter Nunn, guest of snapper Hugh Routledge, was third on 33.
Honoured guests at the lunch which followed the golf included SJA president Pat Collins, who delivered some charming and typically well-chosen words prior to the prize giving, and SJA secretary Nick Townsend. The prizes were presented by Gill Sheldon, widow of renowned golf photographer Phil, in whose memory the day has been dedicated since he passed away in 2005.
A total of 24 people attended (15 golfers plus nine for lunch). Former SJA chairman Paul Trow, who organised proceedings, will try to fix a date soon for next year’s golf day so SJA members can make an early entry in their 2020 diaries.
Whenever that turns out to be, though, the task facing SJA golfers, as ever, will be how to wrest the trophy off Pat!