Steve Tooth steps up to the plate to take his first win at a glorious Frilford Heath
A delighted Steve Tooth won his first professional tournament at Frilford Heath Golf Club near Abingdon with a solid 6 under par total of 138 winning by just one shot from John Bandurak and Dale Whitnell.
On the first day a brisk breeze swept across the Blue Course, which would keep the scoring respectable, and it certainly did with players, in the main, scoring around par. Carl Duke broke the trend carding a superb 4 under par 68 to set the first round target which few thought would be beaten.
John Bandurak thought otherwise and wrestled a marvellous 5 under par 67 from the course to establish the lead that was to last throughout the rest of the day. Tucked in behind Bandurak and Duke on 2 under par were Jay Beisser, James Ablett, Will Harvey, Chris Cousins, Dale Whitnell and the eventual winner Steve Tooth.
The second day was without a breath of wind to trouble the players and we expected the scores to come tumbling down and the early players upheld our expectations with Ross Whitelock carding a 5 under par 67. With several players trying to set a good clubhouse target it was James Scade who posted a realistic winning total adding a 4 under par 68 to his first round 71 finishing on 5 under par 139.
In the next group Steve Tooth dashed the hopes of Scade by holing out for a 4 under par 68 that gave him a tournament total of 6 under par 138 and he now had to wait for the final groups to finish. The penultimate group all failed to match Tooth’s score so now the long nervous wait for the final group to appear. The pair of Dale Whitnell and John Bandurak were the only ones who could rock the boat for Tooth and with both playing the par five seventeenth on 6 under it looked for the world that Tooth had not done enough.
Then for whatever reason both Bandurak and Witnell contrived to bogey the 17th forcing them to birdie the last to force a play-off.
Tooth heard the news and went to the putting green to prepare for a possible return to the links and a play-off. On the last Witnell put his ball to around 13 feet for birdie and Bandurak followed suit to 15 feet also for birdie.
Meanwhile Tooth was beside himself, convinced that one of them would hole out for a birdie and tie him on 6 under par. The news came through and it was good news for Steve Tooth who almost went into orbit when it sunk in that he had won his first professional tournament and earned himself a healthy cheque for £5000.
You often hear the phrase “ it couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke” and in this instance it certainly applied to this weeks winner.
There are not enough superlatives to describe Frilford Heath, with three great golf courses, fantastic practice facilities and staff that bend over backwards to accommodate you, why go anywhere else?