Title returns to West Midlands after play-off

13/09/2012

West Midlands PGA pro Alan Roach got his hands back on the PGA Super 60s trophy after tense sudden death play-off at De Vere Belton Woods.

Roach, head pro at the West Midlands Golf Club, sunk the winning putt on the fourth extra hole to claim victory alongside his amateur partner - and childhood friend - Leonard Tolster, after the pair had conjured up a six-under-par 66 to add to their opening day 69.

That saw them deny Scottish-born pro Gordon Goldie of Chingford Golf Club and his partner Geoff King, who carded a best-of-the-tournament seven-under-par 65 to tie on nine-under-par.

Both pairs faced a wait in excess of an hour to discover if their total would result in a shoot-out or see the trophy destined elsewhere.

But none of the first round challengers were able to overhaul the total, with overnight leaders Bobby Browne and amateur Tom Weir, bogeying the par five last to miss out on the play-off.

The Laytown and Bettystown pro, who was back competing two years after undergoing surgery for cancer, and his partner settled for third after they were only able to add a two-under-par 70 to their first day 66.

Roach, who finished fourth last year and won the title in 2010 with Stephen Wild, hailed his new right-hand man.

"We've never played before together in an event like this and I can't thank him enough as he has done brilliant all day," said Roach, who picked up £1,250 from the £10,000 prize fund.

"We fancied doing a better score today as we struggled a bit yesterday. We had some good moments and could've been a couple better - but you can always say that.

"I had a putt on the last to win it and missed but we battled on. In the play-off we looked a bit dodgy at times but we got through.

"To win it for a second time is great - to win anything is great!"

Tolster, who plays off six and is a member at Olton Golf Club, near Solihull, had an opportunity to end the drama at the third extra hole but drilled his four foot putt past the hole.

"I one thing I was thinking was I wouldn't dribble it towards the hole," he said.

"I aimed at the right lip and hit it too hard and that was it, but I always knew my man was going to come good.

"It was a very nervous thing I have done today as Alan is a more seasoned campaigner, so it was great playing with someone playing really well.

"I've known Alan since he was 10 and when he rang me up to play, I said of course I would, having known him for such a long time.

"And now, I am just lost for words at winning."

Goldie and three-handicap partner King, who played on the senior tour for 10 years before returning as an amateur seven years ago, set the clubhouse target with their stunning 65 that included three eagles, but were unable to reproduce the fireworks in the play-off.

Having been nip and tuck with their rivals, two stray tee shots at the fourth extra hole, saw them pay the price as they both bogeyed the hole leaving Roach two putts to win - and he only needed one.

Goldie, who earned £1,000, said: "We had a two-under par yesterday and we said we had a chance but have got to play a lot better and when Geoff played well I played well and vice versa, so we combined very well.

"We're very pleased with our round and getting into the play-off but we made a big mistake on the fourth hole both missing the fairway and that cost us the tournament.

"But we're pleased over all."

The fairytale ending would have been for Irish legend Browne to have followed up his success on the opening day with Weir and taken the title, in light of his battle with cancer.

However, as he collected a cheque for £800, he was far from despondent, as he added third place to his share of second two years earlier.

"We had a very bad first nine but were right back in it down the home stretch after Tom had an eagle and 13 and birdie at 14," he said.

"We had our chances but they weren't to be. But we enjoyed ourselves and I'm just delighted to be back playing golf as it wasn't on the cards 18 months ago."

A new trophy was also presented to the winners of the inaugural PGA Superb 70s, given to the leading pair aged 70 and over.

That was won by Ireland's Hugh Jackson and his amateur Jimmy Clynch, who finished in a share of fourth place overall, earning Jackson £875 altogether.

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