England (Midlands) Region
05 Jul 19
Andy Willey went some way towards putting a disappointing and frustrating fortnight behind him by winning the PGA Midlands first Order of Merit event of the season – the Glazerite Trophy at Wellingborough Golf Club.
Willey, who represents Oakmere Park Golf Club, Nottinghamshire, went into the tournament on the back of an energy-sapping attempt two days previously to qualify for the Open Championship at Fairmont St Andrews.
Thirty-six holes bookended by two 340 mile-plus journeys resulted in him finishing tied seventh, three shots shy of qualifying for the 148th Open at Royal Portrush later this month.
Prior to that Willey, the defending champion, missed the cut in the Titleist and FootJoy PGA Professional Championship at Hunstanton and with it the chance of representing Great Britain and Ireland in the PGA Cup against the USA in September.
However, an approximation of normal service was resumed in the Glazerite Trophy which was being sponsored by the Wellingborough-based company for the 14th year in succession.
Willey served notice of things to come with an opening three-under-par round of 69 that left him a shot behind De Vere Staverton Estate’s Simon Lilly (above).
Bogeys at the first two holes on the second circuit of the Northamptonshire course plus another at the par-four eighth sapped Lilly’s momentum.
Willey, by contrast, maintained his and James Brittain (below) of the Matthew Lea Golf Academy became the biggest threat to him claiming the £700 winner’s cheque and taking an early lead in the Order of Merit.
Brittain, who began the second round on level-par, was two shots adrift of Willey after the tenth hole but, despite posting two more birdies on the back nine, was unable to close the gap.
Willey responded with four birdies in five holes to go four shots clear of the field with two to play.
All of which meant that, with exhaustion caused by the heat and his busy schedule playing a part, he could afford to bogey the last two holes to post his second successive three-under-par round of 69 and finish two shots clear of Brittain.
Reflecting on the past fortnight and a welcome change in fortune, he said: “I’ve had a bad couple of weeks really.
"I don’t know what was wrong at Hunstanton – I didn’t feel right all week – I lost a bit of form and concentration.
“Then I got Scotland for Open qualifying instead of Hollinwell, which is just round the corner from me.
“It’s the way it goes. You lose a little bit of confidence and I know it sounds silly but I’m not playing the golf I normally play.
“It’s still not quite there but I’m putting well and getting it in the hole which is the idea.
"It’s just a battle at the minute – nothing’s coming easy. I finished bogey, bogey, today but I had a good cushion which was nice.
“In fairness, I was exhausted. I played in a pro-am at Stourbridge on Sunday then I drove up to Scotland on Monday, played 36 holes on Tuesday and got home at midnight.
"With the heat as well today, I was struggling a little bit. This does make it better.”
Full scores can be accessed via this link: