Liam Crawford won the Jamega Pro Golf Tour title after first round leader Jamie Abbott tragically crumbled, in an exciting final days play at Gatton Manor.
Abbott’s first round was a brilliant effort in which he netted 7 birdies to equal the course record set by Mark Mouland, that was also set in a Jamega Tour event.
Abbotts nearest rivals were local hero Jonathan Poulton and the ever consistent Nick Newbold who both shot very creditable 3 under par 69’s to sit one shot ahead of the eventual winner Crawford and the redoubtable Steve Surry.
On the first day no one it seemed, apart from Abbott, could unravel the secret of the perfectly prepared greens that ran an impressive 11.5 on the Stimpmeter, so on the second day, with a four shot lead, it appeared the tournament was his for the taking.
However, the second day began badly for Abbott, when he started with a double bogey 6 at the very first hole and from then on he struggled and the battle for the win soon developed into a tussle between Surry and Crawford.
When the pair reached the thirteenth hole Crawford got to 8 under for the tournament with a fine birdie 4 and led Surry by a single shot.
Surry then bogeyed the fourteenth to slip two shots behind but then in a dramatic turn of events Crawford made a double bogey seven on the par 5 fifteenth and so with a solid par from Surry the pair were tied at 6 under par with 3 holes to play.
With Surry and Crawford watching each other, Poulton, in the last group, was joining the fray and quietly going along at 5 under par, he could well have a say in the final outcome
Surry then took the lead with a fine birdie three on the sixteenth but then even more drama unfolded as Surry hit a wild drive on the par 5 seventeenth and could eventually only hole out, from some 9 feet, for a triple bogey eight.
In a last ditch effort to force a play-off Surry found a rare birdie on the treacherous eighteenth hole but Crawford manfully holed out for a par and so became leader in the clubhouse on 6 under par.
In the final group, only Jonathan Poulton on 5 under par could catch Crawford with a birdie but despite getting his second shot onto the right hand fringe of the green, a clumsy chip resulted in a bogey 5 and that left Crawford as the worthy winner.
The course was prepared to perfection with greens that would not have looked out of place at Augusta National and our sincerest congratulations go out to Head Greens Keeper Rob Sebbage and his staff for producing such fine surfaces.
A friendly and welcoming clubhouse made this tournament a pleasure to be part of and we hope that Gatton Manor goes from strength to strength in the future.