Birdie blitz for ex Tour player, Mark Smith

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!

James Ruth (St Mellion) first Jamega win

James Ruth (St Mellion) creates new course record on the way to his first Jamega win

Ruth started the tournament with a relatively quiet first round of 2 under par 70 to sit 3 off the lead that was jointly held by Nick Pateman and Australia’s Nigel Lane on 5 under par.

Challenge Tour regular Tom Whitehouse put himself in the mix with a solid 4 under par 68 to lead the chasing pack of Iwan Griffiths and Richard Prophet on 3 under par, whilst eventual winner James Ruth enjoyed the company of Richard Tagg and Kieran Staunton on 2 under par.

Liam Robinson returned a 1 under par 71 which involved an unusual par at the 15th hole with his ball perched on a muddy patch in a water hazard Robinson decided to play the ball rather than accept a penalty drop.

Thinking he might just get a bit mucky around the ankle area, off came the shoes and socks and he took his stance at the ball and started to sink, gripped down on the club a bit more, continuing to sink and re-grip Robinson decided he’d better get the ball and himself out which he just managed to do in the nick of time and salvaged a gutsy par as his reward.

The second day also contained some unusual and amusing golfing stories with last week’s winner Steve Tooth holing out with a 5 iron for a spectacular and rare Albatross 2 at the par 5 ninth hole and Matt Fryer doing a Richard Finch falling into a muddy hazard whilst playing a shot! Tooth kept things going and posted a 6 under par 66 to set the clubhouse target at 3 under par. 

Will Harvey soon passing Tooth, by adding a 5 under par 67 to his first round 73 to assume the clubhouse lead on 4 under par. Ex European Tour player, Warren Bennett, with the help of his new man on the bag, his young son Tom, showed his class compiling a flawless 6 under par 66 to top the leader board for a time.

In the final group it was drama and fireworks all the way for Nigel Lane and James Ruth.

With his heart sinking along with his ball in the lateral hazard on the first hole Ruth must have wondered what was to come after dropping a shot at the very start of his final round. Playing alongside Ruth, Australia’s Nigel Lane was finding the going tough on the front half turning in one over par while an inspired Ruth finished the front nine in 32 to set up a back nine shoot-out with Lane.

Both players birdied the 10th but then Lane sniffed a chance of victory when he Eagled the 11th to lead by one after Ruth bogeyed the same hole. Ruth steadied himself with a couple of pars to remain one behind Lane, then the pedal hit the metal as Ruth birdied the next three holes to overtake Lane to lead by 2 shots.

Both players finishing the last two holes par, birdie to leave Ruth the winner by 2 shots earning a 1st place cheque of £5,000 from the gallant Nigel Lane who earned £1,500 for his 2nd spot finish.

The Shropshire has an excellent layout and we would recommend it to one and all.

Our next event at The Warwickshire has attracted a high quality field so come and join us and play against the best on the best.

Steve Tooth extracts his 1st win at Frilford Heath

Steve Tooth steps up to the plate to take his first win at a glorious Frilford Heath

A delighted Steve Tooth won his first professional tournament at Frilford Heath Golf Club near Abingdon with a solid 6 under par total of 138 winning by just one shot from John Bandurak and Dale Whitnell.

On the first day a brisk breeze swept across the Blue Course, which would keep the scoring respectable, and it certainly did with players, in the main, scoring around par. Carl Duke broke the trend carding a superb 4 under par 68 to set the first round target which few thought would be beaten.

John Bandurak thought otherwise and wrestled a marvellous 5 under par 67 from the course to establish the lead that was to last throughout the rest of the day. Tucked in behind Bandurak and Duke on 2 under par were Jay Beisser, James Ablett, Will Harvey, Chris Cousins, Dale Whitnell and the eventual winner Steve Tooth.

The second day was without a breath of wind to trouble the players and we expected the scores to come tumbling down and the early players upheld our expectations with Ross Whitelock carding a 5 under par 67. With several players trying to set a good clubhouse target it was James Scade who posted a realistic winning total adding a 4 under par 68 to his first round 71 finishing on 5 under par 139.

In the next group Steve Tooth dashed the hopes of Scade by holing out for a 4 under par 68 that gave him a tournament total of 6 under par 138 and he now had to wait for the final groups to finish. The penultimate group all failed to match Tooth’s score so now the long nervous wait for the final group to appear. The pair of Dale Whitnell and John Bandurak were the only ones who could rock the boat for Tooth and with both playing the par five seventeenth on 6 under it looked for the world that Tooth had not done enough.

Then for whatever reason both Bandurak and Witnell contrived to bogey the 17th forcing them to birdie the last to force a play-off.
Tooth heard the news and went to the putting green to prepare for a possible return to the links and a play-off. On the last Witnell put his ball to around 13 feet for birdie and Bandurak followed suit to 15 feet also for birdie.

Meanwhile Tooth was beside himself, convinced that one of them would hole out for a birdie and tie him on 6 under par. The news came through and it was good news for Steve Tooth who almost went into orbit when it sunk in that he had won his first professional tournament and earned himself a healthy cheque for £5000.

You often hear the phrase “ it couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke” and in this instance it certainly applied to this weeks winner.

There are not enough superlatives to describe Frilford Heath, with three great golf courses, fantastic practice facilities and staff that bend over backwards to accommodate you, why go anywhere else?