Narrow margins define Bullen's day in Coca Cola PGA Assistants' Championship

Narrow margins define Bullen's day in Coca Cola PGA Assistants' Championship

24/09/2020

Defending champion Mike Bullen goes into the final round of the Coca Cola PGA Assistants’ Championship at Oakmere nursing a one-shot lead after a day punctuated by near misses.

It’s the finest of margins, which was in keeping with parts of his round.

Not least his putt for an eagle on the par-five seventh that missed its destination by a whisker and one for a birdie at the next hole, a par-three, that lipped out.

Having begun his round on the tenth, the frustration came towards the end of his round and matched the start of it.

“I just couldn’t get going,” he said, reflecting on his first nine holes that saw him reach the turn in one-over – the consequence of a bogey at the par-three 15th.

At one stage he was three shots adrift of Corey Sheppard and also trailing Jamie Brittain, his playing partner and fellow tournament leader after round one.

Like a horse with the whiff of the stables in his nostrils, however, he picked up momentum on the way home.

Three birdies on the bounce on three, four and five – his 12th, 13th and 14th holes – returned him to pole position on six-under for the tournament.

A bogey at 15th checked his progress then came the near misses before, distracted by an errant shot from another group, he uncharacteristically duffed his approach and had to settle for a bogey at the last.

It all added up to a one-under-par round of 71 to go five-under for the tournament and lead the chase for the £5,000 winner’s cheque and on course to retain the trophy.

“I’m not too unhappy with that,” he added. “It could have been worse as I found it a bit of a struggle. I’ll be looking to improve on that tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Brittain was also left to rue what might have been after putts he would normally back himself to sink went astray on the last three holes.

That leaves him two shots shy of Bullen and level with Greg Dalziel, Sam Forgan and Robert Watson.

Sandwiched by the leader and the quartet sharing third place is Sheppard. Six-under for the tournament at the turn, unlike Bullen, he lost impetus on the way home and recorded three bogeys and finished on four-under.

Full scores can be accessed here

 

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