England (East) Region
22 Jun 18
Andrew Pestell (Chelmsford) secured a first Order of Merit success in eight years thanks to a polished performance in the Marstons East Anglian Open at Bentley.
Pestell, 39, fired rounds of 70 and 69 to clinch a two-shot win from former Walker Cup player Luke Goddard (Hendon).
The PGA in Essex star’s victory charge on the second day was helped by a chip-in birdie from the back of the ninth green.
He also made back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 with the latter seeing him hole out from 30 foot.
With the pressure on deep into the tournament, Pestell showed his mettle with a pair of long-distance two-putts for par at 16 and 17.
He could even allow himself the luxury of a rare bogey at the last before signing for a five-under-par total for his two days’ work.
It was Pestell’s second Order of Merit win but his first since triumphing at East Herts back in 2010.
Pestell said: “This one is probably overdue! I’ve been there and thereabouts quite a few times in the last few years, knocking on the door. Like at West Essex (the London Open) last week.
“I hit the ball better there than I did here and just putted horrifically. So I knew something good was coming because I was hitting it so well.
“The second round here my ball-striking wasn’t so good but the putter paid for itself. I had some good putts out there
“I was pretty calm all day. I wasn’t really flustered and just kept smiling when I didn’t hit it as I wanted to. It’s really good to win again – almost a relief in a way.”
Runner-up Goddard again played fine golf, suggesting a first Order of Merit win may not be too far away.
The first-year Assistant followed up a seventh-place finish in the London Open at West Essex by shooting rounds of 71 and 70 to go even closer at Bentley.
Goddard, 30, said: “I’m pleased with the way I played. I just should have holed a few more putts really.
“I’ve been playing the EuroPro Tour for the last couple of years but I’m just going to play in the East region this year.
“My aim is definitely to win at least one Order of Merit event and secure a top-three finish.”
London Open hero Jason Levermore (Little Channels Golf Centre) is the early frontrunner in the Marston Order of Merit race. He tied for third at Bentley, finishing two-under alongside Rob Coles (Maylands Golf & Country Club) and Phil Abbott (Whipsnade Park).
The next Order of Merit tournament takes place at Ingrebourne Valley on August 7.