Former professional Rugby Fly Half Tom Hayward led from wire to wire to win for the first time at The Leatherhead Club in Surrey yesterday and set the pace on the first day with a 4 under par 67. Hayward was also joined on that mark by Ryan Hinsley and Henry Smart.
This tournament was also the final event in the third mini Order of Merit to decide who would get the ticket for a free season on the 2016/2017 Algarve Pro Golf Tour and the leader, George Mullins could still be caught.
The tightly packed leader board behind the leading trio would also ensure a closely fought battle to win the tournament would ensue on the second day, and so it did.
Jonathan Poulton, who is attached to The Leatherhead Club, was first to set a target, adding a 5 under par 66 to his disappointing first round 72 but that was not going to be the final winning score.
Steve Surry started the final round in spectacular fashion with 3 birdies in the first 4 holes but then the wheels came off and Surry eventually completed the front nine holes in 2 over par to fall back to one under for the tournament with 9 holes left to play.
Surry then could only manage 3 pars on the back nine because the other 6 holes were all birdies and he completed the final 9 holes in 28 shots for a 4 under par 67 to set the target for the final group at 7 under par.
In the final group Hayward and Hinsley were having a battle for control of the leader board with Hinsley 8 under par with 2 holes to play and Hayward 9 under with 2 to play.
Things changed dramatically for Hinsley on the seventeenth where he lost a ball but too his credit he birdied the hole with his second ball to make bogey but this dropped him 2 back of Hayward who made a solid par.
So with a comfortable 2 shot cushion Hayward hit the green at the par 3 eighteenth and a stress free par gave him a very well deserve first professional win.
George Mullins held off his closest challengers to win the free season on The Algarve Pro Golf Tour and there will be another opportunity for someone else to win the same prize when the fourth mini Order of Merit starts at The Wychwood next week.
And so the tournament of mixed emotions finished at The Leatherhead Club, with one of our longest serving players moving on to another career and one of our newest players, who made a switch in sports from rugby to golf, winning his first pro event.
Martin Sell, who started playing on The Jamega Tour some 11 years ago, has decided to retire from tournament golf and start a new career working for Taylor Made.
Martin won many times on the Jamega Tour and is one of our most staunch supporters but also a friend to both players and the Jamega Tour staff and he will be sorely missed.
We would all like to wish him luck in his new career and say that he will always be welcomed back, should he decide to play now and again.
Then we had Tom Hayward win for the first time and Tom’s story is amazing in the fact that he was originally a professional rugby player who suffered a career ending injury and then decided to take up golf.
Tom joined the tour some 4 years ago and regularly produced scores in the eighties but with hard work and tenacity he gradually got better and the scores came down and then he started to find himself getting into contention.
All that hard work finally paid off and Tom put together scores of 67 + 66 to win at The Leatherhead Club by 2 shots from a strong field and so the transition from Rugby to Golf was complete and we are sure, with his work ethic, Tom will go far in his new sport.
The Leatherhead Club is one of our favourite venues as there is always a friendly welcome from the helpful staff both on the course and in the clubhouse, where you can be sure of having a choice of excellent food.