BIG BEN Clocks Up First Pro Win
Wrag Barn golfer Ben Loughrey claimed his first win as a professional today at The Wychwood golf club where he won in dramatic style after forcing his way into a play-off thanks to an eagle 2 at the par 4 last.
Loughrey trailed the first round leaders Sam Day and West Country legend Steve Surry by 2 shots after the leading pair shot 3 under par 69’s but with a tightly bunched leader board that included Dale Whitnell, Louis Hirst and Jamie Abbott on 2 under par it was difficult to predict a winner.
With a calmer second day offering an opportunity for some low scoring it seemed like everyone was going in reverse with no one making a dash for the winning post but then, later in the day things suddenly got exciting over the last 4 holes.
Having put himself in the mix following his opening day 71, Loughrey was in need of a sensational finish to chase down leaders Sam Day and Louis Hirst but as he stood on the fifteenth tee on one over par for the tournament it appeared to be a lost cause for Loughrey.
So with four holes to play and looking out of it, Loughrey suddenly found an unbelievable run of form and birdied the next three holes and holed out for an Eagle 2 at the eighteenth to post a 4 under par total.
Playing alongside Loughrey was Louis Hirst who had played steadily all day and finished, although in a more modest way than Loughrey, with just 3 birdies, to join his partner on 4 under par.
The pair then had a short wait for the final group to play the last in order to see if there was to be a play-off, or an outright winner and with Sam Day standing on the eighteenth tee on 5 under par it looked like the latter was the more likely outcome.
Any thought of laying up on the short par 4 and chipping on for an easy par and a one shot victory obviously did not appeal to Day as he pulled out a long iron and then sent the ball into the lateral hazard on the left of the hole, however, when found, it was playable, so Day decided to have a go.
He duly made contact with the ball but only to see it come up short and finish uncomfortably close to a tree but luckily for Day it was playable.
A decent chip onto the back of the green and a solid 2 putts saw Day bogey the hole and drop back to 4 under par to join Loughrey and Hirst in a 3 way, sudden death, play-off.
In the play-off, Loughrey had a couple of chances to claim an early win but it took until the fourth extra hole for the Wrag Barn star to eventually clinch the title where he drove the last green and 2 putted for birdie and his maiden professional victory.
After the dust had settled Loughrey said “The play-off was good, I had putts to win on the second and third play-off holes and finally got it done on the fourth.”
The Wychwood Golf Club is a hidden gem in the heart of The Cotswolds at Lynham near Shipton-under- Wychwood and it is a delightful, friendly and welcoming club with Tom, Jenny and Rob in the pro shop making sure things run smoothly.
The clubhouse staff make sure you are fed and watered well with delicious food and beverage that when the weather is kind can be taken on the elevated South terrace where you can enjoy an extensive view overlooking the eighteenth green.
A special thank you to the “Bunker Raking” members who make sure that all is well in the hazard department.
So please, when you are looking for a day out to play golf remember “The Wychwood”