England and Wales (South West) Region
12 Jan 18
Richard Bentham (Hensol Golf Academy) was the surprise winner of the first South Wales PGA medal of the New Year with a three-under-par 67 on a calm and sunny day at Southerndown.
In a strong field he played immaculate golf with four birdies until he dropped his only shot on the final hole. But it did not matter as he finished two shots clear of runaway Order of Merit leader Craig Melding (Neath). Melding made an early eagle but dropped two shots on the front nine. Three birdies, including two twos followed before he shed shots at the final two holes.
The last hole proved a problem for many players. Home assistant Simon Askins was another to suffer in his 71 which contained 17 pars.
The highlight of Rhys Pugh's round was an eagle at the 491-yard par five 13th which enabled the Bryn Meadows pro to sign for 72 and take fourth place.
Melding and amateur Steve Watkins won the better-ball with 64, beating Gareth Howell (Royal Porthcawl) and Jake Thomas by one shot.
Melding extended his OOM lead with Pugh second and Ryan Haskell (Celtic Manor) third, despite a disappointing 79.