Sloman Wins The Battle of Surrey Downs

Tom Sloman secured a notable first win on the Jamega Pro Golf Tour, over the fast running Surrey Downs course.

Not only was it a scorching day for the first round of the competition but the scoring was extremely hot as well, with over 65 players scoring par or better.

Top of the pile was last week’s winner, Zimbabwean, Benjamin Follett-Smith, who shot a magnificent 9 under par 62, made up of 7 Birdies and an Eagle with no dropped shots.

Sitting on Follett-Smith’s tail on 8 under par were, Nick Cunningham, Tom Sloman and Zane Scotland, so Follett-Smith would be looking over his shoulder at some serious talent hunting him down.

The second and final day at Surrey Downs provided the players with glorious weather again and we were all looking forward to seeing who would come through in the heat of the battle.

The players, almost to a man, began recording an improvement on their first round, this was epitomised by Eoin Leonard, who, in the first round scored a one over par 72, to languish way down the field but his 9 under par second round of 9 under par 62, saw him race up to the top of the leader board, although it would not afford him the winners cheque, this time.

The battle at the sharp end of the draw was being closely fought and eventually boiled down to four-way tussle between Sloman, Follett Smith, Cunningham and Paul Maddy.

However It was Sloman who proved to be the model of consistency, with only one bogey on his card over the two days, to set the clubhouse target at a magnificent 15 under par, with just the last group to come in and even the previous week’s winner, Follett-Smith’s Birdie, Eagle finish could not dislodge Sloman who secured the title by two shots.

A special thank you to Surrey Downs’ Head greenkeeper, Jack Sims, for presenting the greens in excellent condition which, given the baking condition of recent days was no mean feat.

The clubhouse staff were very hospitable, given the restrictions that are in place because of Covid 19 and we thank them for looking after the players and the Jamega team.

Ben, is an Oxford Don

Zimbabwean, Benjamin Follett-Smith eventually won the foreshortened “Oxford Classic” by a single shot from Joe Knox, Luke Donnelly and Toby Hunt.

A late entry from “Mother Nature”, upset the apple cart on the first day of the tournament, bringing with her heavy thundery rainstorms which forced the delay and eventual cancellation of the opening round, reducing the event to 18 holes.

When play resumed at 08:00am on the second day, Donnelly set the bar at 3 under par very early on, playing in the first group, which included Andrew “Beef” Johnson, who was making a welcome return to his Jamega roots and play some, “happy golf”.

Some 30 minutes later Toby Hunt joined Donnelly on 3 under par and the pair settled in for a hoped-for long wait to see if they would be heading for a play-off, or heading home.

Three hours later Follett-Smith allowed Donnelly and Hunt to go home, when he posted a 4 under par 66 to take over the waiting chair to see if his score would be good enough for the win.

A further hour passed by and Joe Knox came close, carding a 3 under par 67 and so it was back to the waiting room for Follett-Smith, to endure a further nervous wait to see if his 4 under par would be good enough.

Well, the wait was worth it, as his score stood the test of time and a relieved Follett-Smith was delighted to take home the title, along with the £3,500.00 winners’ cheque.

A huge shout-out must go to The Oxford Golf Club’s green keeping staff, led by Douglas McGregor, who, had the perfect greens, running at 12.5 on the Stimp-Meter and Club Head Professional, Joe Pepperell for all his amazing help in getting the tournament staged.

Langley, Masters The Players

David Langley and Dan Brooks put on a spectacular display of scoring in the second round of The Players Club Masters, when both players scored 10 under par 62’s to end the day tied up on 12 under par.

However, it was the amateurs who stole the limelight at the Players Club on the first day, with The Kendleshire’s Naider Hussain and Hanbury Manors Harry Goddard both posting 4 under par 68’s to set the early pace.

Then, much later in the day, Players Club amateur, Jack Cope, set the Cat amongst the Pro’s with a magnificent 6 under par 66 to join Mitch Waite and Toby Hunt at the top of the leader board to tee off in the last group on the final day.

Stunning weather again for the second and final day at The Players Club and the early starters took full advantage with much improved scoring compared to the first day with a prime example being the amateur, James Cooper who rattled in a 5 under par 67 that included a double bogey 7 on the fifteenth.

Then the attention turned to group 31 with Dan Brooks who, after a fairly pedestrian front nine of 2 under par, went on a spectacular run on the back nine covering it in an 8 under par 28 with 6 Birdies and an Eagle.

In the very next group, David Langley was also burning up the course covering the front nine in a 6 under par 30 but not content to sit on his laurels, Langley added 4 more Birdies on the back nine, to also post 10 under par and join a surprised Brooks at the top of the leader board.

It was going to be almost a 2 hour wait for the pair until the final groups recorded their scores and their nearest challenger turned out to be Jack Cope, who carded a 4 under par 68 to finish third on 10 under par but what might have been if Cope had not double bogied the second hole?

And so, it was off for a play-off starting on the par five 14th hole and it was over quickly when Brooks, with the honour, pulled his tee shot into a small copse of trees, whilst Langley found the centre of the fairway some 320 yards out.

Langley hit his 186 yard second to within 25 feet for two, Brooks extricated himself from the trees then hit his third shot to 15 feet but it was all over when Langley made a Birdie 4 and Brooks missed his chance to extend the playoff.

It was a shame that one of the players had to lose after both men produced such spectacular golf on the final day.

A special thanks go out to the club, green staff and especially the members who made the tournament possible and kept everybody safe in these strange times.