Hendriksen wins at last

31/05/2013

Paul Hendriksen could hardly contain his excitement after winning his first South West PGA Order of Merit tournament having been runner-up on six occasions in the past two seasons.

After claiming the Bournemouth Fourball title at Isle of Purbeck and Dudsbury by one shot, the 33-year-old Dinnaton manager-professional said: “This proved that if you keep knocking on the door you will go through one day.”

The former Welsh amateur international has been a consistent West player for several years and has finished third in the Race to Woodbury Park for the past two years to qualify for the PGA Play-Offs.

Although he failed to earn one of the tasty European Tour starts on offer, his ambition remains the same. “I would love to play in a Tour event and to compete in the BMW PGA Championships at Wentworth would fulfil a life’s ambition,” he added.

After finishing seventh in the Total Triumph Classic at Oake Manor the previous week, he is already well placed to return to the PGA Play-Offs in Turkey in December.

After carding level par 70 in a steady opening round at Purbeck he produced a consistency unmatched by any other player with a five-under-par best-of-the-day 66 at Dudsbury. He made five birdies, the last at the par five 17th which took him into the lead for the first time, and dropped no shots.

But he was wary of the tough finishing hole, a dogleg right 461-yard par four playing its full length after spasmodic showers.  He worked out his strategy by exploring the course on Google Earth and felt that placing his drive on the adjoining tenth fairway was the best way to make the par he required for victory.

Richard Woods, a first-year assistant at Dainton Park, became the surprise early leader after a four-under 67 – his first sub-par round as a professional – to assume the clubhouse lead by making five birdies on the back nine.

Then former Tour player Andy Beal produced his best form for a while. The Salisbury teaching pro, now 47, also shot 67 to take over as leader by one shot. But another ex-Tour man Sion Bebb can never be underrated. He drew level with Beal after birdies at 16 and 17 and required a birdie at the last to force a play-off.

He also took the 10th fairway route, left his approach on a bank before the green and his chip drifted no more than three feet past the flag.

Overnight leader James Pickard (Honiton) started comfortably with eight pars but three bogeys in the final 10 holes proved costly. He shared fifth with another former Tour man Gary Emerson (Playgolf, Bournemouth), who was one shot adrift at Purbeck, and West chairman James Lee (Caerphilly) who burst back into form.

Emerson’s consolation was to win the betterball with three-handicapper Selwyn Burke (Remedy Oak) on 85 points in a tournament sponsored by Ringwood Brewery and Dudsbury Golf Club. Joe Ferguson (Celtic Manor) and five-handicapper Phil Harrison (Burghill) were one behind and beat Pickard and Dan Noar (off four) into third on countback.

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