England (South) Region
19 May 17
Carding three-under-par 67s, Pentland Golf’s Benn Barham shared top prize at the Royal Blackheath Pro-Am with Royal Ashdown Forest Jonny Ingram and Pyecombe’s Mark James, each taking home a cool £816.
The 2016 Longball PGA South Assistants Order of Merit champion, Ingram summed things up when he said: “Blackheath was in fantastic condition for May and the greens were as good as ever, but the afternoon downpour surprised us all, and it certainly made things quite a lot more challenging - I certainly hadn’t been expecting to need my waterproofs. That said, my golf while it was dry was very so so, but when all that rain arrived, it seemed to sharpen up my game - it’s also my first regional Pro-Am win as well!”
The winning trio edged out the cards of Purley Downs’s Matt Rice and Prince’s Charlie Wilson, who both shot 68s to share the runners up spot, adding £500 each to their wallets. In the team event, Elliott Owens led his Hever Castle team to victory with a terrific score of fifteen-under-par, beating Ingram’s team by one, who in turn pipped the leading team of Royal Blackheath members and Charlie Wilson on a countback over the back nine.
The afternoon rain made for tricky conditions but didn’t seem to slow up the scoring, as all three winners teed off in the afternoon. Barham was out in in four-under-par 31, adding a fifth birdie after the 10th, but his terrific run of form ran dry and two dropped shots followed at the 11th and 12th, and while a birdie at the 13th helped, a run of bogey, birdie, bogey through the 15th to the 17th left Barham on 67.
Also starting at the first, Ingram’s opening nine left him on one-over-par, but in the rain two birdies on the bounce got him back in business, and while a dropped shot on the 12th threatened to set him back, a fine finish down the home strait of birdies at the 13th, 15th and 18th left him tied with Barham.
Starting on the back nine, James was looking very impressive on four-under but a dropped shot at the 18th spoiled things a little. He bounced back immediately with a birdie at the first, but two more bogeys followed at the second and fourth. With five holes left to find something in the bag, James duly picked up another birdie at the sixth, but couldn’t find any more in his last three holes, finishing on 67.
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