Flawless Wallis in record 59



Winner of three Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merits on the trot and current PGA Play Offs champion Richard Wallis (Walmer & Kingsdown) has notched up yet another massive milestone in his professional career: a round of 59 under full tournament conditions to win the Virgin Atlantic sponsored PGA Southern Open Championship Pro-Am at The Drift GC, Surrey.

His winner’s cheque of £625 pales besides his spectacular achievement, as Wallis carded fourteen-under-par on a par 73 course, a feat which may yet go into the record books as other 59s have been on par 72 courses. His card left the otherwise terrific scores of eight-under-par by Andy Raitt (St. George’s Hill) and Nick Redfern (AIA Group) trailing six shots behind.

Fresh off his first PGA EuroPro Tour win, the Kerry London Championship at Burhill, by seven strokes, Wallis hit his customary 40 shots on the range and found top gear from the first tee onwards, opening his account with a birdie.

Splitting the fairways around the tree-bound course, after a couple of pars Wallis started knocking the flags out at the next seven holes, with no putt longer than nine feet and holing the lot, including an eagle putt at the fifth from four feet.

After nine holes Wallis had needed only eight putts and was out in 29, eight-under-par. Another birdie at the 10th was followed by two steady pars and then Wallis went on a birdie, birdie eagle charge through the 13th, 14th and 15th where he drove the green and holed his eagle putt.

Amazingly, he missed a three foot putt for birdie at the 16th, but a steady par up the 17th set up one last opportunity for a birdie four down the 18th. Despite missing his first fairway and bunkering his second, Wallis splashed out to five feet, read the line and made sure of the putt he’d only ever dreamed of for a 59 in an official PGA event.

“I’m absolutely over the moon to shoot this score,” he said, “because I’ve shot low scores before, but never in an official PGA event like this. Usually the game’s great but the putting’s not, or vice versa, but today everything really clicked. The course was in great nick and on the greens you felt any putt could go in.”

With a 10 week old baby daughter fatherhood has taken priority for most of 2013 to date, but now as he explains it’s back to work. “With the BMW PGA Championship start at Wentworth and then the PGA EuroPro Tour event at Burhill, I’ve been working hard on all departments, but my focus and thinking is the same: keep it steady, down the middle, on the green, hole the putts – easy to say, tough to do.”

Wallis is very upbeat about the standard of play in the region. “It’s very exciting at the moment, with Benn Barham in great shape, Andy Raitt back in top form, Michael Lowe on his A game, and Chris Gane is right in there as well. Jamie Harris is always a threat, and there are others coming to the fore.

“I’m playing in nine PGA EuroPro Tour events in 2013,” he said, “but my goal is to get a top three place in the 2013 Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit and try to earn another PGA Play Offs place. So with all the heat from the other players, the Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit events are the best place to try and raise my own game.”

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