England (Midlands) Region
25 Jul 14
Matthew Cort, who in 2013 produced fireworks around Kedleston Park in his landslide win at the Midland Masters came close to a similar performance at the curtain raising pro-am.
After five birdies and an eagle it was business as usual for the Rothley Park golfer until he uncharacteristically found trouble at the end, a bogey at the 17th and a double at the closing hole saw him settle for a four-under par round of 68.
Cort's stutter was enough for James Whatley (above) to earn a share of the winner's purse. Making the short trip from his Derbyshire home of Morley Hayes, Whatley fired five birdies with just the one dropped shot as he warmed up for the Masters with a solid performance.
Sharing third with 69s were Christopher Evans (Wishaw), Andrew Jones and Andrew Cheese (Sutton Coldfield), who all came unstuck at the last.
The 422-yard par four hole looks set to be the defining hole when the 36-hole main event tees off on Friday, when 78 pros will all be hoping to emulate Cort's 2013 efforts to become this year's Midland Masters champion.