26 Jul 17
Dave Shields (right) with professional partner Peter Thompson.
Bicester amateur Dave Shields is heading to Portugal for the Lombard Trophy Final after a remarkable victory in the regional final at Camberley Heath Golf Club.
Shields, who works as a prison officer, partnered PGA professional Peter Thompson to card an impressive 11 under par round of 60 at the Surrey venue.
That would normally be enough to see them through to the final - but their score was matched by Matthew Cousens and David Zost of Hertfordshire’s Bushey Golf & Country Club.
But it was the Bicester Golf & Country Club duo who won it on countback after a back nine of 28 - which included two eagles and a birdie at the 18th hole.
The Oxfordshire pairing now head for the £41,000, Coca-Cola and Pestana Resorts supported, National Pro-Am grand final which will be played at the Vila Sol resort in the Algarve between September 21-22.
Shields admitted it was a tense finish as they had to wait to see if anyone pipped them with an even better return on a low scoring day where even Mid Kent Golf Club’s Mark Foreman and Richard Lock’s 10 under par was only good enough for third spot.
“I know people hadn’t seen scoring like that for some time in this event, but the greens were the best I’ve played on, absolutely marvellous,” said 49-year-old Shields.
“We needed three more with two holes to play, I got a nett eagle on the 17th hole before Peter birdied the 18th. It was only the one shot in our favour that counted on countback. Everything we expected to hole, we did.”
Five handicapper Shields admitted he did not go into the event in the best of form - and also had to cancel a planned practice round with Thompson at Camberley Heath.
“I blew up in my own club championships, so I didn’t see this win coming, I was a bit down afterward but I’ve fallen back in love with the game now,” he smiled.
“We wanted to have a practice round at Camberley Heath but bad traffic stopped us and we just decided to play it blind.
“But I can’t wait to get to Portugal now, I’ve never played in anything like this before. It’s going to be great. I was worried when we tied though, I thought there might be a play-off and I’d had a couple of beers!”
Thompson admitted he has played the Vila Sol resort before: “I was there last year and I’ve played Vila Sol a few times. It’s a lovely track and hopefully a bit of background knowledge will help.
“The win was a bit unexpected and quite thrilling at the end. But I thought the course was playing well and someone would go low.
“We targeted 10 under so 11 was a bonus, although I did sneak a look at the scores before my putt at the 18th. Dave did really well to get a birdie, nett eagle, at the 17th, so we made up three shots on the final two holes which was unbelievable."