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Too close to call

16 May 19

Neil Cheetham Day 2 Story

Although gusts of wind made the testing courses at Foxhills even more challenging in the second round of the Senior PGA Professional Championship, the status quo remained at the end of it.

Having begun the day leading Darren Prosser and the rest of the 200-plus strong field by a shot, Neil Cheetham (above) ended it nursing the same advantage. Similarly Prosser remains his closest pursuer in the quest for the £6,000 first prize.

Gone, however, were the birdie-laden and largely bogey free rounds both enjoyed in the first round.

Prosser, who runs the Kingswinford Golf Centre in the West Midlands, completed the Longcross course at the Surrey resort in two-under after negotiating its Bernard Hunt sibling in four-under.

Meanwhile, Cheetham followed up his round of five-under on the Bernard Hunt with one of two-under on the Longcross.

That he ended it with his narrow advantage intact is due to a birdie at the par-five that was fashioned somewhat unconventionally.

Cheetham, who is based in South Africa and is in the UK specifically to play in this tournament, unleashed a tee shot that resembled anything but the direct flight he took to get here.

Having clipped the trees that separate the 18th fairways on both courses, his ball ended up on the wrong one. From there, making a 5-wood propelled return journey over the foliage, his ball landed in a greenside bunker from which Cheetham splashed out prior to holing his birdie putt.

“That was an interesting approach,” Cheetham said with more than an element of understatement afterwards. “But my round wasn’t like that at all. It was very straightforward.”

Prosser Day 2 Story

All of which has put Cheetham on course to justify one of at least two reasons for making the long trip to play in the event.

“It’s a great tournament,” he added. “I like the courses and there’s a chance to get in a Staysure Tour event later on. That’s my motivation really.”

The Staysure Tour event in question is the PGA Seniors Championship at the London Club in the first week of August and the top 15 at Foxhills will qualify to play in it.

Given that nine shots separate Cheetham from the sextet sharing 11th place, only a collapse of Devon Loch proportions will surely prevent him from achieving his aim.

Likewise Prosser (above), who is playing in his first senior tournament after turning 50 in November.

Whether either of them win the tournament is not what the betting fraternity would describe as a ‘banker’, however.

Not least because defending champion John King lies third four shots adrift of Cheetham.

Moreover, King has previous in coming from behind in this tournament. Having trailed John Gould and Mark Ridley by four and five shots respectively going into the last round 12 months ago, he defeated the latter in a play-off to claim victory.

 

 

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