Clarke sets the pace


John Clarke, head professional at Berkhamsted Golf Club, is setting the pace after the opening round of the Weston Homes plc/Bishop’s Stortford Classic, the second PGA in England (East) Order of Merit event of the year.

His three-under-par round of 68 included six birdies. Hot on his heels is James Scade of Little Channels who played in the final group of the day and signed for a 69.

Three players are well placed with one-under-par 70. They are Jason Levermore, the newly-appointed Head Professional at Channels Golf Club who made the cut in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last month; Glen Portelli who is a first year assistant at Verulam Golf Club and Andrew Pestell of Chelmsford, who is a former Order of Merit winner.

Those on level par can also make a strong challenge. Former England amateur international Lawrence Dodd of Bury Golf Range, Mark Hooper of Rayleigh Golf Range who was third in the Royal Cromer 125th Anniversary Championship and Irishman Barrie Trainor of Old Joe’s Golf Range in Suffolk are poised to strike.

Trainor was five-under after 12 holes but dropped five shots in his final five holes.

Nick Pateman of Pinner Hill, winner at Royal Cromer, has work to do. He is tied 18th at two-over-par. There were five eagles all coming at the 481-yard par five 12th hole. They were from Alex Bowell (Stanmore), Craig Housden (Little Channels), Scott Tuffey (Abridge), Paul Wilby (Haverhill) and James Wood (Highgate).

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