Lee James battles wind & hayfever to win at Cumberwell.

Lee JamesOnto Cumberwell Park for our fourth event of the year and as usual the course was in fantastic condition with near perfect greens and beautifully manicured fairways you would imagine that there would low scores aplenty. However with a very strong wind whistling in from the East defending its honour a low score would be very hard to come by at Cumberwell Park on day one.

Mark Laskey turned in a very solid 2 under par 69 to set the bar a level that most thought could not be beaten as the wind increased throughout the day. John Banbury, Ian Winstanley, James Ablett and Gregg Blainey almost got there finishing on 1 under par 70 for the day.

James Ruth braved the elements to join Laskey on 2 under but they were all eclipsed by an unbelievable round of golf from Lee James who powered his way through the wind to present a faultless card to the recorders desk containing 5 birdies for a stunning 5 under par 66 to lead by three shots going into the second day.

Day two saw the sun shining again. Holding a three shot lead going into the last round could prove to be a double edged sword for Lee James. Does he still attack the course or defend his lead?

With the wind slowly decreasing in strength to just a breeze but still coming into the golfers from the East, several holes became good birdie chances on day two. Kris Jones was the first to rattle the leaders cage carding a 3 under par 68 which when added to his first round 74 placed him on level par for the tournament and in the clubhouse lead. His stay on the top of the heap didn’t last long though as Francis McGuirk who also shot a 3 over first round 74 edged out Jones with a final day 4 under par 67 to sit on 1 under for the event.

The lead changed again when Dale Whitnell, who at one point was 7 under after 14 holes and scaring the leader James, eventually finished with a best of the tournament 5 under par 66 to set a realistic target of 4 under par total for the leader Lee James to beat. Hot on Whitnell's heels in the group behind came Miles Mackman who was always playing catch-up throughout the afternoon and just failed to match Witnells tournament, score holing out at the last for an excellent 3 under par 68.

James meanwhile was trying to recover from a stuttering start to his round after a one over par front nine which briefly gave the pursuing pack a glimmer of hope. Benefiting from a short delay on the 10th tee, which gave James a chance to recover his positive thoughts of yesterday, he riffled an iron down the 10th fairway to set up a welcome birdie which inspired him to then wrench a brilliant Eagle from the short par five, 11th to re-establish a more comfortable cushion.

Meanwhile Tour newcomer Ian Winstanley, playing in the penultimate group, matched Mackman's 3 under total, both hoping to cling onto joint 3rd place. This looked an unlikely possibility with Mark Laskey on the last tee needing a par at this relatively simple finishing hole to join Whitnell on 4 under in second place. However Lasky incurred a penalty drop and finally holed out for a bogey 5 to join Mackman and Winstanley in third place each eventually winning £1,250.

Whitnell who was sat rueing his poor finish got the news that Laskey had bogeyed the last to leave him alone in second and with a consolation cheque for £2,500. James was breathing a sigh of relief after birdieing the 17th, which re-established his 3 shot lead, easily holed out for par at the last to win the tournament and the £5,000 first place cheque.

Cumberwell Park is one of our favourite stops on tour and as usual was faultless, with a beautifully presented golf course and hospitality which was boundless. It has a combination of 4 nine-hole courses of completely differing characters that will suit golfers of all standards, come and enjoy this truly terrific venue, we unreservedly recommend it to all.

Our next event at The Shire next week is now full and we are only taking reserves, we would urge everyone who wants to play in the remaining Jamega Tour events to enter soon, to avoid disappointment.

Andrew Johnston, smiling all the way to the bank!

Andrew JohnstonWe headed off to South Wales via the Severn Bridge for our third event of the year this time at The Vale of Glamorgan Resort, on the  Wales National Course, near Cardiff. Another strong field, which again included former PGA Champion Scott Drummond and European Senior Tour member Nick Job, assembled to battle for the £5,000 first prize.

With the course presented in the best condition possible having suffered a harsh winter and a subsequent lack of spring rain the players teed off in glorious warm sunshine and light winds.
The National is a long and demanding golf course and a lot of patience would be required by the eventual winner because a low score was not on the agenda for this week. As the first round scores started to come in with only a handful of players breaking the par of 73, the course was mounting a strong defence of it’s reputation. The par three 14th was, however, brought to its knees by Richard Gurney who speared his ball the centre of the cup for a brilliant hole-in-one and a bonus prize of £100 to celebrate his feat.
Former European Tour player Tom Whitehouse shared the top of the leader board with David James on 3 under par 70 with the posse of Jason Levermore, Stuart Archibald and Andrew Johnston chasing them one shot behind on 71.
Just four other players out of a field of 122 broke par on day one with Jake Amos, Stuart Manley,
Alex Belt and Kieran Staunton each scoring creditable one under par 72’s.
Only a total of nine players broke par on day one with the par fives, two, ten and fifteen proving card wreckers for many of the players including Lewis Richardson who finally holed out for a 12 on the second but then to his credit played out the remaining 16 holes in level par.

The second day was several degrees cooler and a stiff breeze swept over the course that would make scoring difficult for even the most skillful and experienced players.
Local hero and Paul Doherty set the pace and swept to the top of the leader board adding a brilliant 3 under par 70 to his first round 76 that gave him a chance of a home course win. Stuart Manley soon dashed Doherty’s hopes by adding a level par 73 to his first round 72 that edged him just one shot ahead. Manley was eventually to finish in third position overall and win £1,500 for his efforts.
Manley was to only enjoy his lofty status at the top of the leader board briefly as Stuart Archibald and Andrew Johnston, playing together in the penultimate group, approached the final holes with Johnston on four under for the tournament with 2 holes to play and Archibald back on one under.
In the final grouping of Levermore, James and Whitehouse nothing much was happening to interfere with the drama that was to unfold in an action packed final two holes that saw Johnston bogey both of them, whilst the determined Archibald parred the 17th and wrenched a rare birdie from the last hole to force himself into a play-off with Johnston that would decide the winner and the destination of the £5,000 first prize cheque.
With the temperature dropping as evening drew on, the tied duo headed for the first tee for their “sudden death” playoff. Both striking monster drives off into the distance, Johnston taking a tighter line and was rewarded with prime position in the middle of the fairway whereas Archibald’s ball nestled down into the spongy rough to the right, having to muscle the ball out, just scrapping onto the left side of the green, good shot!
Johnston slightly disappointed having found his ball to be sitting down in an old divot, with just his gap wedge in hand, full commitment required to get a perfect strike of  just 108yards, all that was left of the 456 yard hole!
The ball coming to rest less than 3 feet from the hole, a brilliant shot, to the delight of the last few remaining spectators.
 Archibald now feeling that only a miracle 30 yard putt would keep him in the game failed to find the cup in two and Johnston casually rolled in the winning birdie putt for the £5000 First Prize.

Simon Lilly blooms at South Essex

Simon LillyA glorious weather forecast promised a dry and sunny 2 days for the full field of professionals to negotiate the South Essex golf course near Brentwood east of London that was the second event in our full calendar of 23 tournaments.

With the breeze coming from the north and increasing as the day wore on the early starters held a slight advantage with the scoring conditions being easier.

Challenge Tour player Dan Brooks took full advantage of his “middle of the night” early tee time and tore up the course with a 7 under par 65 that stood the test of time and was to still lead at close of play.

Jack Doherty, also paying us a welcome visit from the Challenge Tour, carded a solid 6 under par 66 to keep Brooks from running away with the tournament.

A rash of players also found their form and fell in just behind Doherty on 5 under par. These included, former European Tour member Warren Bennett, James Ablett, Tony Piccolo, Marcus Armitage, Guy Woodman, Mark Laskey and Rory Kirwan, so Brooks needed to be aware that he was being chased by some quality players.

The second day proved to be a calmer affair than the first with the wind quartering more from the South West and clear skies the temperature soon rose to see the liberal use of sunscreen by the players.

Although not in contention after their disappointing first rounds, both Dale Whitnell and Jason Launder relaxed and carded 6 under par 66’s to show how low the scores could possibly go later on in the day.

Lloyd Kennedy joined the 66 club adding one to his level par 72 from the first day to break into the prize fund. Meanwhile on the course former European Tour player Simon Lilly was compiling a stunning round of golf, which eventually added up to an 8 under par 64. Lilly’s round included an eagle 3 on the 10th and seven birdies, with a four in a row run to end his round.

This vaulted Lilly into the lead on 12 under par and all he could do was sit and wait for the first round leaders to finish.

Out on the course, the now chasing pack seemed to be watching each other and one after the other tried to catch Lilly and it was Jack Doherty who seemed the most likely challenger reaching 11 under after 10 holes with a run that include two eagles but he eventually fell away to finish on 9 under par.

James Ablett added a second 67 to his first round total to finish on 10 under par to fall just 2 shots shy of Lilly and eventually finish third to win £1,500.

As the final group reached the 18th hole it was left to first round leader Brooks, who stood on the tee at 11 under, to try and birdie the par 5 last to tie or eagle it for the win.

His tee shot found the rough and a although he recovered well to finish just short of the green in two, Brooks was left with a difficult chip to a back pin with the green running away to a bunker set behind the green.

A slightly weak pitch and run never looked liked reaching the hole and ended up some 15 feet short of the cup. A clearly disappointed Brooks now had to hole for a birdie to force a play-off. The ball failed to complete the journey and he tapped in for par and a second place finish on 11 under par, a cheque for £3,000 eased the pain.

Simon Lilly, watching the drama unfold from the balcony above the 18th green, was delighted to gain his first win on the Jamega Tour in only his second event and pick up a £5,000 first prize cheque.

The South Essex Golf Club offers a quality golf course that offers a challenge to golfers of all standards and you will be greeted by friendly staff that go out of their way to ensure that you enjoy your visit and we would definitely recommend you pay it a visit.

The tour is going from strength to strength with full fields, including a large number of quality players from overseas and various other tours. With our next event at The Vale of Glamorgan now only taking reserves we would suggest that if you want to play against the best players outside of The European Tour you enter your chosen events as soon as possible, to avoid being disappointed.