A Walk in The Park for Ruebotham

James Ruebotham with Jamega Pro Golf Tour at Maxstoke Park 2018
James Ruebotham congratulated by Maxstoke Park Lady Captain, Elaine Partridge
You could feel the excitement in the air at Maxstoke Park as the first Jamega Pro Golf Tour Tournament got underway promptly at 8 am.

Scoring, on the first day, was very strong with some 31 players scoring par or better over this par 71 layout that was playing longer than normal due to the very wet winter the course had to endure.

At the top of the heap after the days play drew to a close was Mannings Heath’s Tom Hayward with a fine 5 under par 66 and for Hayward it was just reward for all his hard work and the fact that he had continued to play competitive golf throughout the winter.

James Ruebotham, Luke Johnson and Sweden’s Otto Bonning lay a shot behind Hayward and no less than 6 more players were a shot further back on 3 under the card, so the second day would be no walk in the park for Hayward.

The final day proved to be full of drama right up to the end, with at one stage Hayward looking comfortable, leading on 7 under par after 27 holes from Mark Laskey on 5 under and by 4 from Ruebotham, in the group ahead, on 3 under.

Hayward maintained that lead with pars at the next 2 holes until Ruebotham birdied the twelfth to get within 3 shots of Hayward.

Then Hayward bogeys Thirteen, then Fourteen and suddenly Ruebotham birdies the fifteenth to draw level, then Hayward responded and made a birdie 2 on the Sixteenth to take a one-shot lead.

While all this was going on Laskey saw his chance evaporate with a triple bogey on the seventeenth to drop back to one under par and out of the race.

Hayward then proceeds to double bogey the Seventeenth to gift Ruebotham, who made bogey, a level playing field with one hole to play.

Ruebotham makes a telling birdie at the last, for a 5 under par total and then waits for Hayward to finish in the final group.

Unfortunately, Hayward failed to make the necessary birdie to tie Ruebotham and force a play-off, eventually making an expensive bogey to slip back into a tie for second place.

Maxstoke Park pulled out all the stops to make the course playable after one of the wettest winters in recent times and our deserved thanks go out to all the green staff who made it possible to play the tournament.

Abbott in Seventh Heaven

Jamie Moul and Jamie Abbott with Jamega at Old Fold Manor 2017
Jamie Moul (left), with play-off victor, Jamie Abbott
Jamie Abbott signed off his Jamega Tour season with a seventh win after a lengthy play-off against his fellow Stoke by Nayland based professional Jamie Moul.

It was a chilly and very breezy day that dawned for the last event of 2017 and scoring was not going to be easy, so patience was to be a key element in the players quest for victory.

It was a returning Scott Fallon who jointly led with James Willis after the first day with both players scoring 4 under par with, two shots further back on 2 under par, the trio of Ben Smith, Tom Dolan and Jamie Moul.

The highlight of the first day was when the eventual runner-up, Moul, holed out in one on the par 3 fourteenth for a “Brucie Bonus” of £100.

Abbott, the eventual winner, was on level par and would have his work cut out to catch the leaders who had a wealth of experience between them.

The final day, although similar to the first was less windy and with the bright sunshine bringing out the autumn colours of the leaves it was a fitting backdrop to an exciting day’s play over the Harry Colt designed Old Fold Manor.

On a strange afternoon where no one seemed to be taking control of the tournament with the leaders either treading water or going backwards, all except for the ever-consistent Jamie Abbott, who shot the best round of the day to set the clubhouse target at 4 under par.

The news from the course was, that only Moul could catch Abbott now, as the overnight leaders dropped out of contention and coming to the last Moul, on 4 under, needed either to birdie the hole in order to win, or par it to tie and force a play-off.

The birdie putt just missed and a simple tap-in meant that that the pair were headed for a sudden death play-off over the first and second holes.

To cut a long story short, it was after both players missed several real opportunities for birdies to clinch the deal, it was the relentless Jamie Abbott who finally emerged victorious just as the light was failing.

Another battle was going to be decided at this, the final leg of the last Order of Merit, where the winner would enjoy a Free 2017/2018 season on the Portugal Pro Golf Tour worth in excess of £6,000 in entry fees.

With several players in with a chance to win the fourth Order of Merit, it was eventually Jamie Moul who came up on the rails from nowhere and pipped both Louis Hirst and Marcus Sewell for the coveted prize by just 10 points.

Old Fold Manor is a traditional style golf club that offers fairly priced food and beverage, which can be enjoyed after a game of golf on the picturesque parkland course just north of London near to Barnet.

We now sign off the Jamega Tour season until next April, but don’t despair because there is the Portugal Pro Tour starting on the 21st of November so it makes sense to combine winter practice with competitive golf in the warmth of Portugal.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to all the players who have competed with us, the wonderful Pat Pearce, from Dream Flight, who has helped us on numerous occasions and not forgetting all the greens staff and clubhouse staff who have made us feel very welcome and provided excellent courses to play on over the season.

See you all next year.

Foster Runs out the Winner

Jerome Forest with Jamega at The Shire 2017The young amateur, Jerome Foster who is the Shire London Club Champion ran out the winner by two shots from 6-time winner Jamie Abbott, Ryan Boyns and Sam Forgan at the Seve designed masterpiece near Barnet in North London.

Foster held the joint lead after the first round with Luke Johnson on 4 under par and they were being chased by Michael Watson and Sam Buss, both just one shot further back.

On a very benign autumn day the scoring was not as spectacular as was anticipated, although some 25 players either broke or equaled the strict par of 72 including another talented amateur from Mill Hill Golf Club, Gyuho Lee.

The second day was a carbon copy of the first, with no wind to speak of and some intermittent sunshine to keep the autumn mist at bay.

Again, the scoring was a little flat and it seemed that none of the players wanted to take control of the tournament and make a charge for the winning post.

David Dixon posted an early clubhouse target of 4 under par adding a 68 to his level par first round and that was quickly equaled by Paul Kinnear with a best of the day 5 under par 67 to add to his one over par 73.

Apart from a mistake at the fourth with a bogey, Foster ran out a convincing winner, playing flawless golf over the remaining fourteen holes to post a 3 under par 69 and a 7 under par total.

Foster joined the American Kevin Flack as the only Amateurs to win on The Jamega Pro Golf Tour and make no mistake, for an amateur to win on the tour against seasoned professionals is no mean achievement.

We love coming back to The Shire London, with the evocative memories of the course designer Seve Ballesteros and with the superb hospitality shown to us and the professionals by all the staff it is a club that we would recommend unreservedly to golfers everywhere.

Our last tournament is at Old Fold Manor next week and don’t forget that those who played in the last 3 events can join the tour for next year at just £50, payment due by the 3rd of October 2017.

Thereafter membership for the 2018 season will cost £100, if paid before the New Year, when it rises to a normal full payment of £200.