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England and Wales (South West) Region

Record breaker Thompson returns to Oake Manor

30 May 19

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Lee Thompson (Dudsbury) is determined to make amends after sharply fluctuating fortunes in last year’s Total Triumph Classic at Oake Manor when the popular event returns for the 11th year.

He opened the 36-hole first Marstons Order of Merit event by setting a sensational new course record. He shot ten-under-par 60 and even had a putt for a birdie at the last. But disaster struck on the second day, he dropped three shots at the unlucky 13th, and slipped to ninth.

Thompson, one of the most talented West players who regular features high in the OOM list, has played steadily in Dorset PGA winter medals and believes he can show the form that brought his last title, the Dudsbury Masters in 2015.

There will be a new champion this year. Last year’s surprise but deserved winner John Bickerton is not available. The three times European Tour winner, now based at Minehead and West Somerset, was persuaded to enter by Neil Mossman, boss of Total Triumph and the region’s major benefactor. It was his first and only regional tournament. He shot a record 12-under-par 128 after rounds of 63 and 65.

But there will be other past winners at the thriving complex near Taunton on Thursday and Friday June 6-7. Paul Hendriksen (Ivybridge) has won twice, Jon Bevan (Sherborne), last year’s Marston’s Order of Merit champion Sion Bebb (Morlais Castle) and Chris Gill (Newquay), the first winner in 2009, are in this year’s field as well.

Liam Bond a former European player returns this year after taking time out as a player to establish his new coaching academy in Chepstow.

But there is also an expanding group of up-and-coming younger players emerging. Former West Region champion Ashley Mansell (Clevedon), Toby Hunt (St Mellons), Dan Carter (Upavon) who finished second last year alongside experienced Richard O'Hanlon (St Kew), expect to be in contention.

National Assistants’ champion Lee Corfield (Burnham and Berrow), James Ruth (China Fleet), Ian Brown (Newent) and Michael Watson (Wessex Golf Centre) could feature.

David Dixon (Enmore Park) was the most successful West man in the Play-Offs last year and has qualified for European Tour events this year. He is a favourite whenever he tees off in the West.

The event offers a unique chance for amateurs of all standards to play alongside the professionals in a separate competition on the opening day.

Regional manager Robert Moss said: “This promises to be one of the closest fought events for some time in view of the high calibre field and the emergence of several excellent young players.”

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