A purple-patch for Dale Whitnell!

Once again Dale Whitnell shows the field a clean pair of heels! With win Number 2.

Travelling up the M6 to the most northerly of all of our events of 2011 the weather deteriorated with each passing mile, classic northern conditions greeted us on arrival at The Tytherington near Macclesfield, making first day very difficult for scoring with strong winds and constant rain sweeping the course.

Despite the awful weather the members of The Tytherington Club, obviously a hardy bunch, turned out in numbers to support the Jamega Professionals, who were battling not only the conditions but a very strong golf course.
Although a relatively small field for our first venture north of Watford Gap, only 6 players managed to break the par of 72.

Sam Robinson and Mark Laskey led the way both completing their rounds in excellent 3 under par scores.
 Leading the chasing pack were Michael Lowe, Adam Stott and Trevor Jones all scoring very respectable 2 under par 70’s.

The only other player to break par on this weather beaten day was Ian Brown, who managed  a one under par total, just ahead of a group on level, which included Ryan Harrison, Mark Smith and last week’s winner Dale Whitnell.
The second day, although overcast, was considerably less windy and the early indications were that scoring would be lower than day one.

This proved to be the case when early starter and local hero Steve Pullan carded a fine 2 under par 70. Two groups later James Ruth having travelled all the way up from St Mellion, in Cornwall added a magnificent 5 under par 67 to his first round score of 76 to assume the clubhouse lead at 1 under.

Tom Murray, the son of Andrew Murray the former European Open winner, starting to show some promise, carding a solid 2 under par to leave him on 1 over par for the tournament.

News came in from the on-course scorer that Dale Whitnell had stormed into the lead at 7 under par with just 2 holes to play. Hot on his heels and desperate to stay in touch, came the mercurial Michael Lowe, trying to improve on his on course total of 5 under par.

After a par on the difficult 17th hole Dale Whitnell was left needing a 6 or better to take the Clubhouse lead. A slightly pushed second shot left him a difficult chip to a pin cut at the very back on a very fast running green. His chip coming up some 4 feet short, with steely nerves rammed it firmly into the back of the hole to record a -7 tournament total and a tentative wait for the last 2 groups to record their scores.

No real need for concern as his 2 shot lead was maintained with just Michael Lowe snapping at his heels but coming up shy at 5 under.

Well done for the second week in a row, a very confident Dale Whitnell is now really looking forward to carrying this form through to the European Tour Qualifying School in just a few weeks time. We wish him well.

The Tytherington Club situated on the outskirts of the old silk town of Macclesfield offers a superb golfing experience with extensive leisure facilities.

A challenging tournament in more ways than one but “what a golf course”, superbly designed to test the best of the Pro’s but still an excellent course for all levels of player with many possible tee choices making it fair for all. Really well presented by Jim Cassidy and his team of enthusiastic green-keepers, many thanks to them, we will be back!

Challenge Tour player, Dale Whitnell's First Jamega win

Challenge Tour player, Dale Whitnell with amazing consistancy ( missing just 1 green in 36)
takes his first Jamega win

With unusually light winds to deal with the players were in confident mood that the scoring would be low over the short but tricky course at The Bristol Golf Club which starts atop a hill with stunning views overlooking The Severn Estuary with the Welsh hills beyond.

Dale Whitnell produced the low round of the day reducing the 6100 yard layout to a mere 64 shots to head the leader board on 6 under par.

Close behind, snapping at his heels, came Jonathan Caldwell on 5 under par 65. Liam Robinson who is showing good form of late was a further shot adrift on 4 under par.

The former BMW PGA winner Scott Drummond was well in the hunt on 3 under par alongside Kieran Staunton, the ever present James Ablett and Ryan Adair who is just getting back into tournament golf. In all some 17 players broke the par of 70 leaving the tournament wide open for anyone to win.

Fortunately the horrendous weather forecast for the second day failed to materialise and despite windier conditions the general scoring seemed to be better especially for Challenge Tour player Kyron Sullivan who holed in one at the par 3 second on his way to a second round 3 under par 67 and a bonus prize of £100.

Lee James set the early clubhouse target at 6 under par thanks to a blistering last 5 holes that he completed in no less than 6 under the card!

Sam Robinson soon spoiled James’s day by adding his own 6 under par effort to his first round 1 under 69 to take the clubhouse lead on 7 under par. Asian Tour player Yasin Ali equalled Robinson’s final total and both had to sit it out and wait for the final two groups to appear.

In the penultimate group only Scott Drummond made the clubhouse leaders sweat a bit scoring a second 67 that saw him finish on 6 under par.

As the last group approached the last green a rash of rulings were required including a bizarre incident when the Jamega tour van saved Liam Robinson’s ball from going out of bounds over the back of the green when his ball stuck the side of the lorry and just bounced back in play!

The remaining members of the group Jonathan Caldwell and Dale Whitnell, who were both tied at 9 under par, waited patiently while all this was going on as they prepared to act out the final scene of the event.

It was Caldwell to play first, having to hole from some 20 feet to remain at 9 under par and tied with Whitnell, who had a chance of a birdie from around 15 feet to put the matter beyond doubt.

Caldwell narrowly missed his par save and dropped back to 8 under par which then left Whitnell with the seemingly easy task of two putting from 15 feet for the win. “It went orf in me hands guv” can best describe Whitnell’s first putt that raced by the hole finishing some 4 feet past leaving him a tricky putt to win.

With nerves of steel Whitnell bravely holed out for the narrowest of wins and a nice cheque for £5,000. This left Caldwell in second place on his own with a consolation cheque for £2,000.

The Bristol Golf Club is easy on the eye and a good course to play with excellent facilities and a clubhouse where you can be fed and watered at a reasonable price. It’s well worth a visit after you’ve dropped the spouse off at the magnificent Cribbs Causeway shopping Mall!

Mark Smith wins at The Players Club

Smith Hammers out Players Club Win

Mark Smith finally overcame a doggedly determined Martin Sell on the 7th hole of a marathon play-off at The Players Club to win his second event of the year.

The first day produced 21 players who shot under par on the testing but very fair Players Club. The two players heading the chase for the first prize cheque of £5,000 were Yasin Ali from The Asian Tour and Challenge Tour member Lee Corfield, who both carded 5 under par 65’s.

Tucked in behind the leading pair on 4 under par sat Adam Wootton looking to win his first cheque with The Jamega Tour.

A group of 5 players were a further shot adrift of the leaders on 3 under par including Alex Hogben, Will Johnson, Kris Jones, Players Club specialist Andrew Willey and eventual winner Mark Smith.

The breeze was up on the second day and we imagined that the scoring would not be as low as it was on the first day. As most of the leaders struggled with the gusty conditions, it was Martin Sell who threw caution to the wind after his one over par 71 effort on day one and swept up the leader board scoring a blemish free 6 under par 64 which contained 4 birdies and an Eagle on the par 4 ninth.

This put Sell at the head of the clubhouse leader board on 5 under par and given the news from the course that none of the leaders were making a move Sell was quietly optimistic and not leaving the premises.

After a short caddying career James Sheffield returned to tournament golf and gave Sell a scare by adding a second 2 under par 68 to finish just short of him at 4 under par.

Jay Beisser found some consistency at last and joined Sheffield at 4 under par after also carding a second 68 to his first round total. Mark Smith stumbled through the first nine holes in one over par but then kicked himself in the backside to play the last nine in 3 under and tie Sell for the clubhouse lead.

First round joint leader, Lee Corfield stood on the 15th tee leading at 6 under, then proceeded to “trip up”, bogey, bogey, to drop out of contention, eventually to finish tied 3rd with James Sheffield and Jay Beisser each winning, £1067.
The sudden death play-off, over holes 14 &18, between a surprised Sell and a delighted Smith. During the first 6 holes both of them played near faultless golf, with Sell possibly having the best opportunity but failed to have that killer instinct.

And so it was not until the 7th extra hole that Mark Smith broke the deadlock, sinking his winning putt of some 5 feet to take his second Jamega Pro Golf event of the year and banking a cheque for £5,000. A disappointed Martin Sell had the consolation of £2,500 to soften the blow of defeat.

The championship Course at The Players Club was as usual one of the best courses we visit and now with the addition of a shorter new 18 hole Course, it presents the complete package for the discerning golfer.

When you add in fantastic practice facilities and friendly clubhouse hospitality, this has to be a definite stop, for a great days golf.