22 Sep 17
There was a danger that, coming less than a week after Great Britain and Ireland’s historic victory in the PGA Cup, the final of the Lombard Trophy would prove a classic case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’.
In the event the conclusion to Europe’s largest pro-am at the Pestana Vila Sol on Portugal’s Algarve was anything but.
As at Foxhills a handful of days beforehand, PGA Professionals showed they were capable of producing top quality golf that makes for compelling viewing.
So much so that the destiny of the trophy and the £12,000 first prize was not determined until the second extra hole on the Donald Steel-designed course.
Then it was heartbreak time for the duos from Old Fold Manor and Normanton Golf Clubs as Hart Common’s Steve Parry (above right) holed a six-foot putt for a birdie.
Parry and his partner, 16-handicapper Andy Picton (above left), had effectively gate-crashed the sudden death play-off when the former’s seven-iron approach to the 18th travelled 170 or so yards before coming to rest six feet from the hole.
By way of prolonging the drama, albeit unwittingly, Parry’s birdie putt embarked on a circular tour of the cup’s circumference before dropping in for the pair to post a 10-under-par score of 134 for the two rounds.
That approach was one of many high-class shots delivered as the tournament, which is supported by Coca Cola, reached an enthralling and tense climax.
The putt executed by Normanton PGA pro Scott McGovern from off the 17th green that took him and his amateur partner Scott McGovern to 10-under was another.
As was the chip from off the green at the second extra hole by Old Fold Manor’s professional, Jack Frances, that was a whisker away from either prolonging the play-off or possibly winning it.
Instead that was left to Parry. Whereas his approach had much in common with the one on the 18th, the six foot putt that followed did not. There were no dramas or gasps from the gallery this time as the Lancastrian unerringly delivered the coup de grace.
Reflecting on his earlier heroics at the 18th, Parry revealed: “We thought we were in the lead for most of the way round and then to get to 18 and learn we were one behind – we just had to go for it. I went for it and it came off.
“As for the putt – I just wanted to keep the drama going!”
The birdie at the par four 18th was the pair’s fourth of the round, a total that was shared between them.
Their relationship extends beyond sharing birdies and winning competitions in the Portuguese sunshine, however.
“We played well together in this tournament,” said Picton. “But we do know each pretty well – I’m his sponsor. I don’t have many lessons from him a year so it works out quite expensive!
“But this makes it all worthwhile, especially as I’m club captain this year as well.
“It’s been a great week on and off the course, Lombard and Pestana Vila Sol have done us proud.”
Frances who, with his amateur sidekick Nick Bolsover, came within inches of, at worst, keeping the play-off alive, was as gracious in defeat as he was as enthusiastic about the tournament.
“It’s been a great week,” he said. “We can’t thank Lombard and everyone involved enough. I’ll definitely play in it again next year.”