A stunning birdie finish secures Mark Smiths first Jamega Pro Golf Tour win
A high quality field at The Warwickshire Kings course would surely give up a quality winner and with 32 players breaching par on the first day it was going to be a battle to produce a clear winner.
Last weeks hero, James Ruth, was looking to be the third back to back winner of the season and started well carding a 6 under par 66 to be joint leader with Craig Farrelly and Neil Reilly.
Tucked in behind the leading trio came Stuart Hemming and Mark Smith both scoring 5 under par 67’s to lead the chasing pack. The hot golf continued to match the weather and four players, Richard Gurney, Mark Laskey, Adam Gray and Mark Davies, drifted in on the blind side to back up the leaders of the pack each scoring 4 under par 68’s.
The only downside to the first days play was the tediously slow play that everyone moans about but is never guilty of!
The second day felt a lot fresher with a little breeze to take away the humidity and that helped to speed up play no end. It also helped former European Tour Member Warren Bennett to compile an 8 birdie 1 bogey round to set the clubhouse benchmark at 7 under par which, with the news that the leaders where not progressing beyond that total, made us think it may end in a play-off situation. Nick Redfern visiting from the Asian Tour equalled the 7 under total by adding a 68 to his first round 69. Mark Laskey and Mark Davies joined the party at 7 under both adding 3 under par 69’s to their first round 68’s.
With the leaders not really doing much and Mark Smith hanging on to 7 under with 6 to go we thought it looked more and more like a multi player play-off. Then Mark smith lit the blue touch paper and started off on an explosive run of form and captured 4 birdies in the last 5 holes to race into the clubhouse lead on 11 under par.
As Smiths putt found the bottom of the hole for the final birdie on the par five 18th James Ruths ball slowly rolled onto the green missing Mark Smiths foot by inches. Ruth was apologetic claiming he was laying up with a 2 iron from 260 yards but just nutted it!!
Ruth rolled in the putt for Eagle which moved him out of the log-jam on 7 under to secure second place on 8 under par to win a cheque for £2,500.
Mark Smith showed his class in the final few holes and was rewarded with the winner’s cheque for £5,000.
The Warwickshire is one of our favourite stops on tour with 2 great golf courses looked after by green keepers who love what they do and the most friendly and helpful clubhouse staff who serve up the reasonably priced food from the extensive menu.
If you are near Kenilworth then play The Warwickshire, you will not be disappointed.
Next week sees us at Aldwickbury Park near Harpenden in Hertfordshire which is reputed to have greens that are near perfect and lightning fast. Bring it on!