Matt finish delivers fresh Open Series success

Matt finish delivers fresh Open Series success


Matt Cort called on some Tiger-vision to help him claim a third PGA Open Series title.

Cort (Beedles Lake GC) was tied for the lead, staring down a 30-foot birdie putt on the final green.

As he studied the left-to-right slider, the memory of Tiger Woods holing a similar putt to triumph at Bay Hill in 2008 flashed across his mind.

“I do that quite a bit – it frees you up a little,” explained Cort. “Golf is about visualising the shot, especially under pressure…if you just try and get the negative things out of your head.”

Stalking the putt and preparing himself for the crunch moments, Cort allowed himself to believe: “I thought this would be a good one to hole,” he said.

Trusting the true Bishop’s Stortford greens he drew back his putter and committed to the stroke before watching the ball track towards its target and then disappear from view into the cup.

It was truly a testament to the power of positive thinking – and yet another example of Cort’s red-hot putter.

Down the stretch he had converted lengthy birdies putts at 13 and 15 to hang on to the shirt-tails of Sam Forgan (Felixstowe Ferry), who led from the 12th thanks to an eagle.

Stood on the 17th tee, the Suffolk professional was still on top at nine-under before the pendulum swung in dramatic fashion.

Forgan tweaked his 9-iron into the greenside trap and drew a dreadful lie. By contrast, Cort’s tee-shot into the par-3 enjoyed a nice kick off the mound by the same bunker and finished 14 feet above the hole.

Forgan took two attempts to get out of the sand and missed for bogey from 12 feet – by which time Cort had made his fast downhill birdie putt.

Calm and assured, Cort proceeded to fizz two irons down the closing par-4 to set up his own Tiger moment. The telling putt was his 66th shot of the day and meant that he closed out at nine-under-par.

He watched on as Luke Goddard (Hendon) faced a similar putt on the 18th green to force a play-off. It was great for distance but never quite looked like turning enough to trouble the hole.

For Cort, the one-stroke win followed his victory in May at the Open Series ‘North’ Manchester Open – and last year’s triumph at Open Series ‘South’ PGA Surrey Open.

“I seem to be up there quite a bit in these events – it’s pleasing,” summed up Cort, as composed off the course as he had been on it during the closing stages at the Hertfordshire venue.

Goddard’s eight-under-par total left him at tied-second alongside Chris Gane (Left-Handed Golf at Silvermere) and meant he took the East Region Championship as the highest finisher from the region.

Forgan was forced to settle for fourth spot, shared with Nic Cains (Swaffham) and Dan Brown (Sene Valley).


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