04 Aug 17
Matthew Fieldsend held his nerve to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the Galvin Green PGA Assistants’ Championship – none more so than on the final hole at Coxmoor Golf Club.
Faced with an eight-foot putt to join a list of winners that includes former Open champion Tony Jacklin, Fieldsen could have been haunted by his previous visits to the hole.
“I had similar putts on the first two days,” he recalled. “I missed them both and ended up with a bogey both times.”
This time the putt dropped and the 24-year-old, who is attached to Drayton Park Golf Club in Staffordshire, was £5,000 richer and facing an exciting year.
As well as pocketing a prize that will help finance his sorties on the PGA Europro Tour, the victory has earned Fieldsend entry into the end-of-season PGA Play-offs and the Australian PGA Futures Championship.
In addition, he will be able to choose a complete golfing wardrobe selected during a visit to Galvin Green’s UK showroom.
All of which would have been put in serious jeopardy had he failed to negotiate the 18th in par for a one-over round of 72 and a one-under par total of 212 for the 54 holes.
A third successive bogey at the 500 yard-plus par four hole which proved the nemesis for many competitors during the three days would have resulted in a three-way play-off also involving Stuart Davis and Elliott Groves.
Davis, a former European Tour player who is attached to Wollaton Park, Nottingham, was left to rue missing a short putt on the par three 17th that took him back to level par for the tournament. Similarly Romsey Golf Club’s Groves bogeyed the hole to squander a potential winning position.
Jamie Howarth, level on one-under with Fieldsen going up the last, also had good cause to ponder what might have been after his escape from a greenside bunker stopped well short of the hole and he three-putted.
It was not just on the 18th, however, where Fieldsend kept his cool.
“It was difficult not to look at the leaderboards,” he admitted. “My name had been at the top of them for the majority of the first two rounds, so that created a little bit of pressure.”
Having gone into the final round nursing a one-shot lead over his rivals, that pressure appeared to be building up a powerful head of steam come the 13th hole.
Fieldsend arrived there on four-over for the round courtesy of a double bogey at the par-three seventh and single ones at nine and 12.
“I knew I was only two back at that stage,” he reflected, “And I’d felt comfortable on the last six holes all week, although the final two are the trickiest I’ve encountered for a long time, especially in the wind we’ve had this week.”
Buoyed by that experience, Fieldsen birdied three of the next four holes and then negotiated the final two holes in regulation to secure the biggest win of his short career.