Winner, Sam Hutsby, in full-flow
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After six long and miserable winter months the tour headed for the seaside and the beautiful Hayling Island Golf Club for the first event of the year.
With a full field which included the former PGA Champion Scott Drummond, U.S. Champions Tour member Mark Mouland plus several Challenge Tour players including Kyron Sullivan, Zane Scotland, Dan Brooks and the defending champion James Busby.
A thoroughly disappointed John Banbury, last year’s runner-up, had to withdraw at the eleventh hour having pulled a stomach muscle during his final practice session.
Bright and breezy best described the weather on the first morning, although the early groups had the benefit of lighter winds. Early starter, Australian, Alex Munro took advantage to produce the lowest score of the day with a fine 4 under par 67, which stood the test of time to lead at the end of play.
Hot on Munro’s heels though, on 3 under par sat the defending champion, James Busby alongside, Steve Mitchell , Alex Belt, Dan Brooks and Richard Wallis all equaling Busby’s 68.
Local pro, Mark Treleaven, a little disappointed with his opening level par round of 71 compiled in the lighter winds of the morning but with an abundance of local knowledge could cause some damage to the prize fund on day two.
When the wind picked up in the afternoon, putting became difficult on the superfast greens and this was reflected in the overall scoring with some scores ballooning out of control.
On day 2 a relatively calm and sunny day dawned to greet the players, well, as calm as it can be on a links-land golf course and the general improvement in the scoring reflected that.
Scott Drummond raced up the leader board and into the prize fund with a stunning 5 under par 66, finally claiming a joint 6th place, winning £510.
Local Hero, Sam Hutsby moved on up the field with 2 eagles and a final birdie on 18 to post a superb 6 under par target of 136. So now it was a case of waiting to see if anyone in the latter groupings could catch him.
As the final group reached the 18th green with the defending champion Busby and first round leader Munro now out of the final shake-up it was left up to Richard Wallis to try and hole a birdie putt from around fifteen feet to tie Hutsby and force a play-off.
Wallis narrowly missed the putt, which left the delighted former European Tour player Sam Hutsby the winner of the first place cheque for £5000.
Richard Wallis had the consolation of £2,500 for second spot.
Hayling Island, a jewel in our calendar, providing a stunning venue, unsurpassable hospitality and service, together with liberal sprinkling of friendliness.
Many thanks to the Membership for their assistance and lovely welcome.
A special mention for Lochlan and his team of green-keepers for a course produced in immaculate condition, complimented by most, if not all Professionals. Well done, a great job.
We would highly recommend golfers of all standards to savour a taste of links golf and visit Hayling Island. A challenge and a joy.
Entries are no longer being taken for our next event at South Essex, reserve positions only.
So to avoid disappointment we would recommend that you enter The Vale of Glamorgan 25th / 26th of April as soon as possible.