Walker steps into Turkey final after close finish



West Essex Golf Club captain Billy Walker admitted he was pleasantly surprised to be heading for Turkey after winning the Golfplan Insurance PGA Pro-Captain Challenge qualifier.

Walker (pictured on right) teamed up with PGA Professional Chris Baron (left) for the event, which is supported by Canopius, and was held at John O’Gaunt Golf Club in Bedfordshire.

The pair carded an eight-under-par round of 63 to tie at the top of the leaderboard with Lee Fickling and Ray Hurding of Bush Hill Park Golf Club.

But Baron and Walker won the event on countback thanks to a superb back nine.

Now they will play in the £25,000 final over the PGA Sultan course at Antalya Golf Club in Turkey from November 21-22.

But for 63-year-old Walker, who plays off a handicap of 19, the prospect of an overseas final was the last thing on his mind.

He joked: “I honestly didn’t know what the prize was for the winners.

“I thought we were playing for a golf bag!

“It’s a good job I didn’t know we were going for a Turkey final otherwise I might have frozen out there.

“But when I heard what we’d done I thought we’d done a really smashing thing. It’s going to be fantastic for the club.”

Baron secured his place in the final at only his second time out in the competition.

And he admitted that he and Walker knew what they had to do if they were to win.

He said: “We were two-under at the turn and could see the leaders were at eight-under.

“We had to force it and go for a low one. A nett eagle on the par three 16th hole helped us and when we birdied the 17th we went into the lead.

“But we made a bit of shambles and bogeyed the 18th, but it turned out we’d done enough.”

Baron revealed he has good memories of Antalya.

He added: “I’ve won there before and got a second place so I know it well and I’m looking forward to going back.”

Northampton's Nick Soto had a hole-in-one on the 153-yard par three 16th to help earn a tie for sixth place. It was his fourth hole in one but unfortunately for Soto he didn't have Golfplan cover in the event of an ace as this lucky golfer did.

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