Two top place finishes in one week
It's not an understatement when I say that this week has been one of the best weeks I have ever had as a professional golfer. On Monday (2 September), I finished joint first in the second Pro-Am tournament at Skylark with a four-under 65. And then on Thursday (5 September), I finished top, with another four-under 65 at Alresford. I won just over £1,500 in prize money, moved to eighth in the 2019 Order of Merit and have a huge trophy sitting on my mantle-piece at home. What a week.
Going into the tournament on Monday, I was looking forward to playing at Skylark - what I consider to be one of "my" golf clubs as I offer lessons, coaching days and events at the club. I work really closely with the team and it was great on Monday morning to see the course in such great condition, as it always is. I was particularly looking forward to playing with three of my best mates, Ben Godley, Adam Freeman and James Wells, who'd all signed up to the Pro-Am in March when I announced the dates for the season, and I was feeling quite relaxed about playing.
It was a 10.00am shotgun start, we started on the 145 yard par-3 7th hole. I got off to a great start with a 8-foot putt for birdie which went in, then birdying 9, 10 and 11. This was a dream start! I was feeling really confident, I just felt as if I could just keep going and try get as low as I could. I got round to the first hole with six holes to go and I was five under par. The only bad shot I hit all day came on this hole which cost me a bogey. The wind had really picked up and the last few holes were quite challenging but managed to get in 4-under and it was just good enough.
To come into the clubhouse knowing that you're tied with Gary Stubbington is, in itself, a huge achievement, but to then see that we were joint top was unreal. As the other scores came in, Gary and I realised we'd won and I began preparing our thank you speech. It was a real honour to deliver it at my club and I felt really proud to win.
Then, on Thursday, I played at Alresford Golf Club - a course I've played more than 20 times and a competition I enjoy playing with Alresford members every year. I started on the 10th, knowing it was quite a tough start with 11 and 12 being very hard holes so I knew if I could get through those without dropping shots it would be a good start. I pared the first four holes then didn’t play the easy 14th very well and had a 15-foot par putt which really felt like an early make or break type of putt. I managed to hole the putt and then go on to birdie the next three of four holes.
I got round to the first hole 3-under and unfortunately bogeyed the first two and I think previously may have crumbled slightly but coming off the win I knew I could get it back! I made a really good 6-foot breaking putt on the third which again was a huge momentum putt. I then went on the play the next five holes in 2-under. I was stood on the final hole of the day which was the 9th for us 3-under and in my head I know that two or three under is usually good enough so I was just trying to make par to be honest. The hole is 350 and I hit the best tee shot of the day straight down the middle and leaving myself 39 yards to the flag, I managed to pitch up to about seven feet and felt as if this putt could be for the win! Luckily I made it as Gary Stubbington again was 3-under and I managed to pip him by one this time. A great day, a great feeling to win the biggest pro am of the Hampshire circuit.
I drove home feeling really proud of myself, and was gutted that I hadn't signed up for the Pro-Am at Southwick the following day. For now though, I'm so happy to get not only one, but two wins, this week and be eighth in the Hampshire PGA Order of Merit for 2019. With the top 30 players from the Region being invited to play at Rowlands Castle on Tuesday 10 October for the Hampshire PGA Order of Merit Championships, I hope I can hold onto my spot!
I’ve got three Pro-Am tournaments left this season:
Corhampton on Monday 23 September (3 spaces)
South Winchester on Wednesday 2 October (full); and
Sandford Springs 27-hole event on Friday 4 October (3 spaces)
If anyone wants to play, just get in touch.