England (South) Region
14 Oct 19
Gary Stubbington was king of the castle after winning The PGA in Hampshire Order of Merit for the first time in over 30 years, writes Ken Gaunt.
It was probably appropriate on a cold autumn day at Rowlands Castle that in the autumn of his career the Hockley pro finished top of the table.
County chairman Stubbington, 58, said: “I am really chuffed. It is just beginning to sink in a bit now. I have won it in different centuries after all, which is a bit of a weird thing to say. The family are really pleased. It is always nice to try and make them proud of what you are doing.
“It really was a great day," he continiued. "The staff at Rowlands Castle were absolutely awesome, the way they looked after us. The course was great, there was a lot of interest in what was going on. The highlights of my season? Winning the Masters with guys I know so well was great and the pro-am at Corhampton, where I used to work in the early 90s. To go back to one of your old courses and play well is nice.”
Stubbington had to settle for seventh spot in the Tour Championship behind shock winner Mark Sawford. Not only was it Sawford’s first win as a pro, he returned to Portsmouth Golf Centre as the winner in an elite field by an astonishing five shots. Adam Hickling finished second with Hayling pair Steve Richardson and Mark Treleaven joint third.
Stoneham’s Hickling led the way in the morning with a three under par 69 with Sawford a shot further back. However while most players struggled after lunch Sawford raised his game in difficult conditions to equal Hickling’s earlier score.
Stubbington said: “It was fantastic, a great score on the day. Rowlands Castle is always a big test, no matter the weather. So to do it when it was windy and chilly around that course was really impressive. It was frustrating for me to finish seventh. I finished badly in the morning and well in the afternoon. It was a mixed bag really.”
Hickling finished second in the OOM with Shaun Hall (Boundary Lakes) third in the season-long challenge over a range of challenging courses. The Race to Rowlands, sponsored by HJS Solutions, featuring the top 30 players in the Order of Merit - was the brainchild of County secretary Roger Tuddenham. Stubbington added: “We have got the momentum now and hopefully next season it will be even better.”
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