01 Aug 18
Old Fold Manor turned the inaugural final of the Staysure PGA Trophy at the London Club into a battle for second place by producing golf befitting the competition’s innovative format.
The Stableford better ball competition is contested by pairs comprising a PGA Professional and senior amateur and, having demonstrated their liking for it in round one, the pair from the club located in Barnet on the cusp of north London turned on the style in the second.
Glen Portelli (above left) and his amateur sidekick, 14-handicapper Vic Kenny (above right), began it on nine points, two behind Cornwall’s St Kew Golf Club, the tournament leaders.
Eighteen holes later they had more than doubled their tally and put a six-point gap between themselves and their closest pursuers, St Kew and Gerrards Cross Golf Club.
Not that there was much in the way of pursuing going on once the first half of the Heritage course had been negotiated.
At that stage St Kew’s first round advantage had become a three point deficit and Gerrards Cross were two points further back.
Although the Gerrards Cross pairing of PGA pro Lewis Atkinson and Peter Hewitt rallied on the back nine to finish second on countback from St Kew, there was no catching the eventual winners.
Portelli, who was ably aided and abetted by Kenny, saw to that as they claimed the trophy and £7,500 first prize. Not least with a brace of eagles at the par five 12th and 15th holes.
In addition to those two four-pointers, Portelli contributed another 26 points, a total Kenny attributed to his teammate’s new putter.
“Glen putted really well,” he said. “I don’t think he made a mistake with the putter over the two days.”
Portelli, however, attributed his success with the putter to the condition of the greens on both courses at the London Club, the International and Heritage.
“The greens were so nice to putt on,” he said. “If you got the ball rolling on the right line it took care of itself. They were really good surfaces to play on.
“We also dovetailed really well. Vic had four nett birdies on the four holes I didn’t play particularly well."
As well as praising the course, the pair were bowled over by the occasion and the competition.
“I’ll be on a high for several days after this,” Kenny said. “I think there’s going to be a rush of entries for it next year. I’ll definitely be trying to qualify for it again.”
Portelli added: “It’s been amazing. What more can we ask for than to play on two golf courses like these with a superb practice facility with some really friendly guys?
"We’ve also been put-up in a hotel and had our food paid for - we couldn’t ask for any more.”
Terry Dyer, St Kew PGA Professional Richard O’Hanlon’s amateur partner, was similarly enthusiastic about the tournament despite having to settle for third place.
“It’s been a brilliant experience,” he enthused. “i can’t praise it highly enough. For amateurs like me, it’s our Major.
"I’ll be telling every senior golfer in north Cornwall to take part in it next year even though it might cost me the chance of playing in the final again. It’s an experience not to be missed.”
Scores: Old Fold Manor 93; Gerrards Cross*, St Kew 87; South Moor 84; Silverstone 82; Holme Hall 81; Boat of Garten 78; Abbeydale 74.
*placed second on countback
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