Ford Drives On To Play-Off Victory



After matching the 12-under-par total of clubhouse leader Richard Wallis (Walmer & Kingsdown), Matt Ford (CK Group) holed a nine foot putt for a birdie four down the first play-off hole to win the first Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit event, the Virgin Atlantic PGA Southern Open Championship.

Played at the Drift GC, Ford took home the winner’s cheque for £1,800, while Wallis was consoled with one for £1,250.

Despite starting badly in each round, three rounds of 69 proved Ford’s ability to find birdies when it mattered, and he found four crucial ones over the inward half of the last round to match Wallis’s final total of 207.

Holding the trophy in his arms afterwards, Ford was tired but elated, as he explained: “I got straight off a plane from a Challenge Tour event at 3am on Monday morning and after a few hours sleep headed here for my first round start at 1pm. So I’m not surprised I made the odd bogey to begin with, but I seemed to hit the right gear and find the necessary birdies.”

The two Southern stars were nearly joined by defending champion Adam Wootton (Oxford Golf Centre) for a three way play-off.

Finishing on 11-under-par for 208, a poor approach shot to the final green resulted in Wootton facing a 20 foot putt which proved too much to ask. 

Close behind him on 10-under-par and 209 was Paul Newman (East Berks) with three rounds of 71, 70, 68, and Jack Harrison (Wildwood) with 73, 65, 71.

Ford and Wallis both holed long putts on the last green to tie, but Ford stayed in the groove in the play-off.

“I played some great stuff for 14 holes in each round,” he said, “but the other four were poor. My game was generally pretty good, but my pitching was consistently bad throughout, although the one on the play-off hole was probably the best all week!”

The jet-setting Ford is off again to Prague tomorrow for another Challenge Tour event, but like his colleague Wallis, Ford’s goal is a place in the Titleist PGA Play-Offs, as he explained: “I’m playing in all the Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit events this year, and some of the pro-ams, between my Challenge Tour opportunities. The standard in the region is top quality and helping me raise my game.”

The next Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit event is the PGA Surrey Open Championship at Richmond Park from July 23rd to 24th, so both Wallis, Ford and the other Southern stars will have plenty of time to find top form.

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