10 May 19
Martin Stimson overcame a catalogue of daunting hurdles at Burnham & Berrow to win the PGA West regional qualifier for the PGA Professional Championship and book his place in the final.
The Somerset course presents a tough examination at the best of times and a fierce wind compounded the challenges confronting a field packed with experienced and accomplished competitors, none of whom broke par.
In the event, Stimson, who is attached to Glyn Abbey Golf Club, Carmarthenshire, led the way by posting a one-over-par round of 72 to claim the £500 winner’s cheque.
More importantly, the 52-year-old has qualified for the Titleist and FootJoy sponsored final which, staged at Hunstanton, carries a £78,000 prize fund with £10,000 going to the winner.
Situated on England’s east coast, Hunstanton is also a links course and Stimson is hoping for more benign conditions when he plays there in the third week of June.
“I haven’t played there before but hear it’s a cracking course,” he said. “It will be my first appearance in the final since Carden Park in 2012 and I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully the sun shines and there won’t be any wind like there was at Burnham & Berrow.
“I hadn’t played there for a while and it was tough. My birdies and bogeys were almost equal and I managed to keep the ball in play most of the time. My putting was also good and it came right in the end.”
In addition to resulting in qualification for the final, Stimson’s round was a competitive warm-up for his appearance in next week’s Senior PGA Professional Championship at Foxhills.
He will be joined there by Morlais Castle’s Sion Webb (right), his compatriot who finished a shot behind him at Burnham & Berrow to complete what was a one-two for Wales and senior golfers.
Meanwhile, the wind did not prevent Tim Elliott from Tall Pines Golf Club recording a hole-in-one at the 182-yard ninth. Unfortunately it was not enough for him to join the 13 others who have qualified for the final at Hunstanton.
They are: Louis Boston (Chippenham Golf Club), James Hammam (Bath Golf Club), Greg Davies (South Cerney Golf Club), Leigh Jones (Tickenham Golf Club), Chris Gill (Newquay Golf Club), Kieron Fowler (Lyme Regis Golf Club), Ian Campbell (Wels Golf Club), James Ruth (China Fleet), Mark Plummer (Cirencester Golf Club), John Gould (John Gould International), Albert MacKenzie (Saunton Golf Club), Darren Murphy (Harborne Golf Club) and Clevedon Golf Club’s Ashley Mansell who claimed the last place by winning a play-off involving five players on the sixth extra hole.
Full scores can be accessed here: