England (Midlands) Region
12 Jun 17
Andy Willey gave his quest to finally finish a season at the top of the region’s Order of Merit a boost with a commanding display in the Midlands Masters at Kedleston Park.
Willey, who was runner up in the Order of Merit last year and third in 2015, trails early leader Andy Keogh after winning the second of the four tournament series.
In doing so he consigned Keogh to second place thanks to a bogey-free second negotiation of the Derbyshire course that resulted in a four-under-par total of 66.
That combined with his first round return of two-under ensured he finished two shots clear of Spalding Golf Club’s Keogh to claim the trophy and £775 first prize.
However, the fact that Willey’s rounds were both sub-par was, at best, all they had in common.
As movie disclaimers state and Willey confirmed, any similarities between the two were purely coincidental.
“I got off to a slow start in the first round and had to get up and down from quite a few places,” said Willey (right, pictured with Kedleston Park captain, former Nottingham Forest and Scotland footballer Kenny Burns).
“I had 23 putts in the first round, which is probably my best yet.
“My golf wasn’t fantastic but it just clicked in the second round. I played really nice – there weren’t any bogeys and I didn’t really make a mistake.
“As for the Order of Merit – it would be great to win it after a couple of near misses and I’ll certainly be playing in the next two events.”
Keogh, meanwhile, was unable to maintain the head of steam in the second round he had built up in the first after what could have been a dispiriting start to the 36 holes.
He opened up with a double bogey but bounced back with five birdies in the next eight holes to reach the turn in three-under .
A bogey at the par four 16th cancelled out by a birdie at the par five 17th meant he completed the first round in three-under en route to a final total of four –under.
Stuart Davis of Ormonde Fields Golf and Country Club also ended the first round on three-under but four bogeys on the front nine of the second proved costly.
Two birdies on the back nine were not sufficient to repair the damage and he had to settle for fifth place on two-over.
Paul Bagshaw, who represents Direct Golf Nottingham, suffered similarly after leading the field on four-under at the halfway stage.
His second round of two-over meant he shared third place on two-under with Whittington Heath’s Daniel Whitby-Smith who posted two rounds of one-under.