Lee James battles wind & hayfever to win at Cumberwell.
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Onto Cumberwell Park for our fourth event of the year and as usual the course was in fantastic condition with near perfect greens and beautifully manicured fairways you would imagine that there would low scores aplenty. However with a very strong wind whistling in from the East defending its honour a low score would be very hard to come by at Cumberwell Park on day one.
Mark Laskey turned in a very solid 2 under par 69 to set the bar a level that most thought could not be beaten as the wind increased throughout the day. John Banbury, Ian Winstanley, James Ablett and Gregg Blainey almost got there finishing on 1 under par 70 for the day.
James Ruth braved the elements to join Laskey on 2 under but they were all eclipsed by an unbelievable round of golf from Lee James who powered his way through the wind to present a faultless card to the recorders desk containing 5 birdies for a stunning 5 under par 66 to lead by three shots going into the second day.
Day two saw the sun shining again. Holding a three shot lead going into the last round could prove to be a double edged sword for Lee James. Does he still attack the course or defend his lead?
With the wind slowly decreasing in strength to just a breeze but still coming into the golfers from the East, several holes became good birdie chances on day two. Kris Jones was the first to rattle the leaders cage carding a 3 under par 68 which when added to his first round 74 placed him on level par for the tournament and in the clubhouse lead. His stay on the top of the heap didn’t last long though as Francis McGuirk who also shot a 3 over first round 74 edged out Jones with a final day 4 under par 67 to sit on 1 under for the event.
The lead changed again when Dale Whitnell, who at one point was 7 under after 14 holes and scaring the leader James, eventually finished with a best of the tournament 5 under par 66 to set a realistic target of 4 under par total for the leader Lee James to beat. Hot on Whitnell's heels in the group behind came Miles Mackman who was always playing catch-up throughout the afternoon and just failed to match Witnells tournament, score holing out at the last for an excellent 3 under par 68.
James meanwhile was trying to recover from a stuttering start to his round after a one over par front nine which briefly gave the pursuing pack a glimmer of hope. Benefiting from a short delay on the 10th tee, which gave James a chance to recover his positive thoughts of yesterday, he riffled an iron down the 10th fairway to set up a welcome birdie which inspired him to then wrench a brilliant Eagle from the short par five, 11th to re-establish a more comfortable cushion.
Meanwhile Tour newcomer Ian Winstanley, playing in the penultimate group, matched Mackman's 3 under total, both hoping to cling onto joint 3rd place. This looked an unlikely possibility with Mark Laskey on the last tee needing a par at this relatively simple finishing hole to join Whitnell on 4 under in second place. However Lasky incurred a penalty drop and finally holed out for a bogey 5 to join Mackman and Winstanley in third place each eventually winning £1,250.
Whitnell who was sat rueing his poor finish got the news that Laskey had bogeyed the last to leave him alone in second and with a consolation cheque for £2,500. James was breathing a sigh of relief after birdieing the 17th, which re-established his 3 shot lead, easily holed out for par at the last to win the tournament and the £5,000 first place cheque.
Cumberwell Park is one of our favourite stops on tour and as usual was faultless, with a beautifully presented golf course and hospitality which was boundless. It has a combination of 4 nine-hole courses of completely differing characters that will suit golfers of all standards, come and enjoy this truly terrific venue, we unreservedly recommend it to all.
Our next event at The Shire next week is now full and we are only taking reserves, we would urge everyone who wants to play in the remaining Jamega Tour events to enter soon, to avoid disappointment.