England (Midlands) Region
07 Jun 19
Andy Willey warmed up for the defence of his Titleist and FootJoy PGA Professional Championship crown later this month by taming an Open Championship qualifying venue to win the Kedleston Park Golf Club Pro-Am.
The event carried a £7,700 prize purse and the region’s most lucrative winner's cheque of the season and, as well as conquering a testing course, Willey had to overcome the robust challenge of another reigning PGA champion, Matt Cort, to claim it.
Cort, who is attached to Beedles Lake Golf Club, Leicestershire, replicated the form that won him the English PGA Championship and the 2018 PGA Midlands Order of Merit.
He, too, negotiated the course on the cusp of Derby with some high-octane golf but his bogey-free seven-under-par round of 65 was not sufficient to prevent Willey claiming the £2,000 first prize.
Such was the quality of Willey’s golf that he could afford a bogey at the par-four 15th and still win by a shot thanks to an eight-under-par round of 64.
As the scores suggest, however, it was a closely fought contest.
Having been level with his rival from Oakmere Park Golf Club, Nottinghamshire, on three-under at the turn, Cort boasted a one-shot advantage after the 15th courtesy of Willey’s solitary wobble.
Cort moved to seven-under with another birdie, his seventh, at the par-five 17th but Willey trumped that with an eagle before signing off with a birdie.
“The last two holes are probably what made it really,” said Willey, after receiving his prize from Kedleston Park captain Joe Redmond (right).
“I played well. Putted well. Hit it well. It all came together really. I had a good finish, eagle, birdie, which always helps.
“And I do like it round here. I won the Midland Masters here a couple of years ago. It’s a course I enjoy playing and it suits my line.”
Cort, who won £1,000, finished three shots clear of Overstone Park Golf Club’s Harrison Woan and James Whatley of Morley Hayes Golf. They earned £550 each and Neil Wain of The Belfry won £400 for his fifth place finish.
Full scores can be accessed via this link: