England and Wales (South West) Region
09 Aug 17
Mansell receives the trophy from Burnham and Berrow captain Peter Amos.
Ashley Mansell has joined many illustrious West Country legends after a wire-to-wire triumph in the West Region Championship at Burnham and Berrow.
After taking a one-shot overnight lead in benign conditions, the Clevedon assistant was able to master the second day rain and blustery wind to extend his lead and follow the stars who have won the famous Lidgerwood Trophy since 1920.
The 26-year-old left Paul Hendriksen (Ivybridge), Sion Bebb (Morlais Castle) and Mark Searle (High Post) four shots behind.
He battled the conditions to post a second round one-under-par 70 following an opening 67.
“I am ecstatic about my first Order of Merit win,” said Mansell. “This is the greatest moment of my professional career. It has been an outstanding season since I won the Gloucester and Somerset PGA Championship and Order of Merit in May.
”Conditions were tough especially on the outward nine into the wind. I didn’t make any severe mistakes, putted well and always felt in control.”
Mansell’s steady round contained birdies at the third and 13th and a solitary bogey on the last. Four pro-am wins, regular top five finishes and strong challenges in all four Order of Merit tournaments means he now holds a commanding lead at the top to make this a season to remember.
Playing partner James Lee (Lansdown), who has played infrequently since winning the PGA Championship at Dundonald in 2009, kept up the pressure until he slipped back with three-putts on the 16th and 17th. He shared fifth with promising left-hander Greg Davies (South Cerney) and defending champion Adam Frayne (Yelverton).
Steady Bebb shot level par and said: “I played fantastic golf today and could have been ten under but I missed 12 putts from inside 10 feet as I hit the ball close all day long and my one birdie only came from a 25-footer on the last.”
Hendriksen, who tasted the thrill of appearing at Wentworth this year, remains in contention for a top three finish. He is now third in the rankings after his one under 70.
“The OOM is a marathon not a sprint so you have to keep playing well every round,” he said before flying to Belfast to play on the Challenge Tour, a prize from last season’s Play-Offs.
Searle maintained the form that earned him a maiden win in the Players Championship and is now fourth, commenting: “I didn’t do quite enough but it was encouraging to follow up my win with another solid performance.”
Katie Rule (Mullion), 24, became the Women’s Champion by finishing six and seven shots ahead of the two previous winners, Lydia Hall (Hensol Golf Academy) and Tracy Loveys (Bigbury), with creditable rounds of 76 and 79.
She said: “I played really well in those conditions and had to fight my way through wind and rain. My distance control in putting on the undulating greens was good.”
Former Welsh international Martin Stimson (Ashburnham) turned 50 in January and won the seniors’ title, finishing 13th overall. Home favourite George Ryall led after the first round but was plagued by back trouble and faded.
Max Billingsley (St Kew) shot two-under-par 69, the low round of the day to climb up the leaderboard. He was boosted by an ace when his seven iron tee-shot found the 17th hole.