Dynamic duo share the honours



Jamie Harris (Nevill) and Ian Benson (Hindhead) tied for victory in the Sand Martins Pro-Am after shooting three-under-par 67s.

Taking their winners’ cheques for £875, the hot duo was two shots ahead of their nearest rivals from East Berkshire GC, Paul Newman and Guy Woodman, who carded 69s. Only these four broke par, confirming the Sand Martins’ challenge on a windy day.

Harris made his score on the front nine, despite bogeying the ninth as he put it “...by three putting from nowhere!” A birdie on the 10th was offset by another bogey on the 11th after taking three from just off the green. Back on three-under, Harris then carded pars all the way home for his 67.

Playing just behind Harris, Benson did it the other way around, reaching the turn in one-over-par and then shooting four birdies on the way back home at the 10th, 13th, 17th and 18th for his 67. Both players felt they should have had much better scores.

Harris reckoned it was his ‘Worst 67 ever!’ He said: “I missed a two footer, hit the pin at the sixth, three putted the ninth, missed a five foot birdie putt on the 13th, had two more lip outs, and took three from off the edge of the greens at both the 16th and 18th to make pars instead of birdies.”

He continued: “I played well, but my short game wasn’t quite on target. The course was immaculate, but as ever the greens were very tricky and one or two putts actually broke sideways.”

It was a similar tale for Benson (pictured) who was still suffering from a bad cold, but whose front nine might have been very different, as he explained: “I missed birdie putts at the first, third and fourth, and shaved the hole at the ninth to be out in one-over-par. After a birdie at the 10th I had a great up and down on the 11th to save par, and then shaves the hole again at the 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th with the one birdie at the 13th.”

The 17th added a twist, as Benson described it, “The wind made it really tricky to judge the elevated tee shot over water to a green tilting back towards the water. I got a nine iron on the green, and then watched one of my partners on the same line as mine putt into the pond – not exactly what you want to see when you’re wondering about the speed of your own putt!”

Unfazed, Benson holed his 15 footer and then birdied the final hole after laying up and getting down in two more shots.

“The  owner and club pro Andrew Hall always lays on a great event and a fun day out,” he said, “and while both Jamie and I could have shot much lower scores, I know we were both delighted to end up winners!”

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