21 Sep 18
Whetstone Park pair Craig Shave and Phil Wright proved aptly-named as well as perfect partners in winning the Lombard Trophy at Pestana Vila Sol, Portugal.
Their victory over Carden Park, who were represented by former European Tour player Garry Houston and his amateur sidekick, consultant orthopaedic surgeon Patrick Laing, was indeed a close shave.
That it was secured by a nett birdie at the final hole on the resort’s Prime course confirmed Shave’s amateur partner was made of the right stuff.
According to Shave, Wright, a 16-handicapper, was a bundle of nerves throughout the two rounds.
However, when faced with that crucial putt on the par-four 18th, he became Mr Ice Man in the Portuguese sunshine.
At that stage, both Carden Park, two holes behind, and Whetstone Park were on 12-under and Wright, faced with two putts from six metres to secure that all important nett birdie, left the first inches from the hole for a tap-in.
Carden Park had their own birdie opportunities to force a play-off and Houston (below) was left to ponder what might have been had his putt on the 17th dropped into the hole as opposed to embarking on a frustrating tour of its rim.
All of which meant the Leicestershire lads had ended up a shot clear of their rivals from Cheshire after starting the final pursuit of the £12,000 first prize on five-under, three strokes behind them.
Dukinfield and Worldham Golf Clubs had also ended the first round of the tournament supported by Pestana Hotels and Coca Cola on eight-under and Shave felt winning was beyond him and his partner.
“We thought if we could get to 12 or 13-under we might scrape into the top three,” he reflected. “So it’s a surprise to win at 13-under.”
Shave, a winner of Order of Merit events in the PGA Midlands region and victorious in last year’s PGAs of Europe La Manga Club IV Pro-Am, also admitted this was the highlight of his career to date.
“This is my biggest and most prestigious win by far,” he added. “It’s unbelievable. It’s been a great week for both us.
“Phil has really enjoyed it, has been great company and the tournament has been staged at a fantastic venue and run superbly.”
“As for the secret of our success, we get on, have a laugh, and there are no apologies. We just crack on and get on with it. We gelled well - when I had a bad hole Phil was there and vice versa.”
Leading scores: Whetstone Park 131 (-13); Carden Park 132 (-12); Piltdown, Worldham 135 (-9).
Solid performance at Belfast venue
20 Jun 19
67s take the main prize, while home Pro takes the Lanson Shootout
19 Jun 19
On the verge of the county stroke play championship, Barnes lays down his marker
18 Jun 19