Ford's surge secures Open Series success

Ford's surge secures Open Series success


Matt Ford produced a stunning scoring surge to clinch victory in the PGA Open Series (East) at Bishop’s Stortford Golf Club.

The Kent professional looked to have dropped off the pace at a key time when he bogeyed the 13th hole. But it was to prove the only blemish on his card in what was an otherwise high-class round of golf.

Ford responded superbly to dropping a stroke, making three straight birdies from the 15th, thanks to a combination of pure iron play and precision putting.

The ex-European Tour golfer closed out by a holing a gutsy eight-footer for par and signed for a six-under-par round of 65. It was a fine effort in breezy conditions, leaving him on an overall total of nine-under.  

Ford then had to wait for his closest challenger Jordan Godwin to finish in the group behind. The Rochester & Cobham pro duly conjured up a brilliant up-and-down for a par on the final green to force a play-off, which took place on the first hole.

Both players comfortably found the fairway with irons off the tee, but it was Ford who seized the advantage by hitting a 50-degree wedge to six feet from 118 yards.

Godwin’s attempt from 18 feet trickled by the left edge of the cup before Ford stepped up to send his birdie putt into the heart of the hole.

Ford, 46, said: “For me, this last two days have been really good mentally. The golf course, if you’re hitting fairways, will give you lots of opportunities and I was hitting the ball nicely. I made a few putts and I missed a few putts but overall it was steady golf with a good mindset – that made a big difference.

“It’s the first pro-only tournament I’ve won this year and my first win of any sort this year in the UK, so that’s always a great feeling. Wherever you are, the standard is good at all levels these days. Any win’s a great feeling and that’s what we all play this game for. It doesn’t always happen that often – hopefully I can keep that form going forwards.”

Ford was especially satisfied with how he managed to dig in during the heat of battle on the final day.

He said: “During the middle of the round, there was a stretch where I was getting a little frustrated and things weren’t quite going right. I’d hit a couple of poor shots but I wasn’t really playing badly. That was where that mindset kicked in. I said to myself, ‘You’re playing well, keep going’ and that’s what’s I did.

“I made a really nice birdie on the 15th – that’s a tough par 3. Then on 16 I made a really good birdie and an even better one on 17. So there was three really strong birdies in there, which was down to me saying, ‘Right come on, let’s just knuckle down’.

“I hit a slightly poor iron shot into the last and then an average chip which left myself a horrible putt for par. I’ve made a few bogeys on the last hole lately that have niggled me and I thought just focus on hitting a good putt and see what happens. I did that and it went in.”

Craig Housden (Little Channels Golf Centre) and Brandon Meads (Billericay Golf Ltd) tied for third place on six-under and shared the spoils for the East Region Championship, which was integrated into the Open Series tournament.

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