10 Oct 18
The temptation to suggest the only way is Essex at the halfway stage of the PGA in England and Wales Inter-County Championship is irresistible.
After the first of two negotiations of the PGA National course at The Belfry, the defending champions have a firm grip on the trophy they claimed 12 months ago when Jason Levermore (above) prevailed in a play-off to foil Cheshire and North Wales.
That tense finale resolved a close contest that saw four of the five three-man teams harbouring realistic hopes of victory at the start of the second round.
This time, by contrast, Essex, represented again by Brett Taylor, James Scade (right) and Levermore, are out on their own.
Producing golf to match the unseasonably high temperatures that cooked the four time Ryder Cup venue, all three broke par to establish a seven-shot lead.
Levermore, who posted a bogey-free five-under par round of 66, was the pick of the trio while Scade and Taylor weighed in with contributions of two and one-under respectively.
The best two scores from three format of the competition meant that Taylor’s one-under-par round of 70 did not count. Not that he was bothered.
“It’s great to have a couple of good players on my team,” he said.
“It’s good when everybody is going along nicely – it takes the pressure off,” added Levermore.
Given that Nottinghamshire’s Lee Clarke (above) and Andy Raitt of Surrey were the only other players to shoot a sub-par round, how the other teams could have done with Taylor’s contribution.
As things stand, Surrey, with Andy Raitt and David Copsey contributing, are on level-par, Devon are one-over while Lancashire and Nottinghamshire are two shots further back.
Understandably, Essex are taking nothing for granted or leaving anything to chance despite their commanding advantage.
“We’ve got a good lead but need to play well tomorrow – anything can happen,” cautioned Levermore.
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