Baker on a roll



Peter Baker used ‘home advantage’ to claim a one shot lead at the end of the opening round of the £17,000 PTS Invitational at South Staffordshire Golf Club – the opening event in this year’s PGA in England (Midlands) Order of Merit.

The former Ryder Cup player is head professional at the Wolverhampton course and bagged five birdies on the way to a first round four-under-par 67.

He was one-under-par at the turn before picking up further birdies at the 10th, 13th and 14th.

Early starters Joe Smoothy (BlackStar Sports) and Lee Clarke (Beeston Fields GC) had been leading the way after carding rounds of 68 and they were joined on three-under-par by Paul Broadhurst – another Ryder Cup veteran.

Only four other golfers managed to shoot below par. Birdies on the final two holes steered Great Barr’s John Bandurak to two-under alongside Andrew Willey (Notts GC) and Paul Bradshaw (Gainsborough GC). Reigning Order of Merit champion Paul Streeter (Lincoln Golf Centre) finished the day a further shot adrift. 

Reigning champion Matthew Cort (Rothley Park GC) made a dazzling start, picking up three shots over his first five holes. But that was as good as it was to get for the Leicestershire golfer who finished his round on one-over.

The second round will be in the form of another pro am with the top 30 golfers making the cut for the final round and the chance to secure the £2,500 first prize. 

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