Smith Hammers out Players Club Win
Mark Smith finally overcame a doggedly determined Martin Sell on the 7th hole of a marathon play-off at The Players Club to win his second event of the year.
The first day produced 21 players who shot under par on the testing but very fair Players Club. The two players heading the chase for the first prize cheque of £5,000 were Yasin Ali from The Asian Tour and Challenge Tour member Lee Corfield, who both carded 5 under par 65’s.
Tucked in behind the leading pair on 4 under par sat Adam Wootton looking to win his first cheque with The Jamega Tour.
A group of 5 players were a further shot adrift of the leaders on 3 under par including Alex Hogben, Will Johnson, Kris Jones, Players Club specialist Andrew Willey and eventual winner Mark Smith.
The breeze was up on the second day and we imagined that the scoring would not be as low as it was on the first day. As most of the leaders struggled with the gusty conditions, it was Martin Sell who threw caution to the wind after his one over par 71 effort on day one and swept up the leader board scoring a blemish free 6 under par 64 which contained 4 birdies and an Eagle on the par 4 ninth.
This put Sell at the head of the clubhouse leader board on 5 under par and given the news from the course that none of the leaders were making a move Sell was quietly optimistic and not leaving the premises.
After a short caddying career James Sheffield returned to tournament golf and gave Sell a scare by adding a second 2 under par 68 to finish just short of him at 4 under par.
Jay Beisser found some consistency at last and joined Sheffield at 4 under par after also carding a second 68 to his first round total. Mark Smith stumbled through the first nine holes in one over par but then kicked himself in the backside to play the last nine in 3 under and tie Sell for the clubhouse lead.
First round joint leader, Lee Corfield stood on the 15th tee leading at 6 under, then proceeded to “trip up”, bogey, bogey, to drop out of contention, eventually to finish tied 3rd with James Sheffield and Jay Beisser each winning, £1067.
The sudden death play-off, over holes 14 &18, between a surprised Sell and a delighted Smith. During the first 6 holes both of them played near faultless golf, with Sell possibly having the best opportunity but failed to have that killer instinct.
And so it was not until the 7th extra hole that Mark Smith broke the deadlock, sinking his winning putt of some 5 feet to take his second Jamega Pro Golf event of the year and banking a cheque for £5,000. A disappointed Martin Sell had the consolation of £2,500 to soften the blow of defeat.
The championship Course at The Players Club was as usual one of the best courses we visit and now with the addition of a shorter new 18 hole Course, it presents the complete package for the discerning golfer.
When you add in fantastic practice facilities and friendly clubhouse hospitality, this has to be a definite stop, for a great days golf.