21 Jun 19
Alastair Forsyth confirmed what had been regarded as a cast-iron certainty since the halfway point of the Titleist and FootJoy PGA Professional Championship at Hunstanton by winning it.
The Scot had begun the fourth and final round 11 shots clear of the field and that was the state of play at the end of it after he signed off with a four-under-par round of 68 for a four-round total of 263.
It was the lowest total posted since the tournament began in 1973, eclipsing the previous best of 268 carded by Little Aston Golf Club’s Brian Rimmer at Northop County Park, Flintshire, in 1997.
That venue, like Hunstanton, is a par 72 course and Rimmer finished on 20-under. That, too, was surpassed by the 43-year-old who is attached to Mearns Castle Golf Academy, Glasgow. He finished on 25-under.
However, given his golfing pyrotechnics in the first two rounds and, to a lesser extent, the third, when he posted rounds of six, nine, and five-under-par respectively, his negotiation of the fourth was comparatively low key.
“I slacked off a wee bit today!” he joked. “It’s been a great week but it was a strange experience having a lead like that at halfway and then with a round to go.
“I was 11 shots ahead going into today, so I stuck to what had got me there – course management and keeping to my game plan.
“Today was probably the easiest final round I’ll ever play. I can’t think of ever having a winning margin such as this in any tournament of this magnitude.”
Forsyth attributed his success to a liking for a course that suited his game and almost unerring precision with his irons. No matter where his ball landed off the tee, it was as though his approach shots were radio-controlled.
Two bogeys in 72-holes is testament to the accuracy of his game and his affinity with a course regularly rated among the top 100 in Great Britain and Ireland and described by three-time Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher as ‘true championship test of golf’.
“Sometimes a course fits your eye,” he explained. “I was looking forward to playing the course because I’d heard a lot of good reports about it. I played it for the first time in a practice round on Monday and really enjoyed it.
“The course suits my game – my long game has been solid for a couple of years now and if you stay out of the bunkers and keep to the fairways there are good opportunities to score.
“My iron play was the real key and from there it was just a case of trying to get the putts in. Obviously on the first two days especially, I managed to do that very well.”
In addition, to claiming the £10,000 winner’s cheque and booking his place in the Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team that will tackle the USA in Texas in late September, Forsyth derived some local satisfaction from his victory. That was finishing 13-shots ahead of Paul O’Hara, his compatriot and rival on the Tartan Tour.
“I’ve won two Order of Merit events this year but I’m still second behind Paul O’Hara,” he reflected.
“We’ve played together quite a few times in final groups and I’ve had some good battles with him.
“He’s a tough opponent – he never goes away so it was nice to be that far ahead of him for a change.”
O’Hara, who began the day sharing second place with Jordan Godwin on 10-under, finished tied fourth with Jason Levermore and Alex Wrigley on 12-under. Godwin, meanwhile, shared seventh spot with Sion Bebb and John Wells on 10-under.
Second place was annexed by England’s Richard Wallis who, in posting a seven-under-par round to finish on 14-under, prevented a Scottish one-two involving Forsyth and Craig Lee.
Lee, like Wallis his playing partner, made a late ascent of the leaderboard with his best round of the tournament – a six-under-par 66 to claim third place.
The complete list of scores can be accessed via this link: