West Country pair fly high in the forest



A brace of eagles ensured west country duo Ross Langdon and Russell Berry were flying high at the end of round one in the final of the Skins PGA Fourball Championship at Forest Pines.

With the Lincolnshire course featuring five par fives, Langdon and Berry took full advantage of the opportunities to post birdies as they set the pace in pursuit of the £5,000 winner's cheque.

Langdon (Henbury Golf Club, Bristol) eagled the 494-yard third before Berry (RB Golf Range, Coleford) birdied the par five fifth, tenth and 17th as well as emulating his partner with an eagle at the 488-yard 15th.

All of which contributed to an eight-under-par total of 65 and a one-stroke lead at the head of the 60-strong field.

That advantage could have been even healthier had the pair not stumbled at the last, however.

"We were nine-under going into it but finished with a bogey," said Langdon, recalling their solitary blemish.

Meanwhile, the pacesetter's fellow west countrymen, Barry Forster (North Wilts Golf Club) and Daniel Carter (Uphavon Golf Club) were left to reflect on what might have been.

"We both three-putted the par three 16th," said Forster, reflecting on the combined but solitary blip that consigned them to a share of second place.

Occupying it with them on seven-under are two pairs with an affinity for the competition: Yorkshire duo Aran Wainwright and Adrian Ambler and Midlanders Ed Martin and Andrew Jones.

The former led the 54-hole tournament after the opening round last year before finishing eighth and were runner's up in 2010 behind Martin (Longcliffe Golf Club) and Jones (Stonebridge Golf Club)

But, with Ambler enjoying a rich vein of form that saw him win the PGA North Region Order of Merit, they will fancy their chances of improving on that.

And ominously for the other 59 pairs, Ambler, the PGA pro at Low Laithes, Wakefield, overcame what he described as "testing conditions because of the wind" by accounting for five of the pair's eight birdies.

Paying tribute to his partner's purple patch, Wainwright, the head PGA professional at Mid Yorkshire Golf Club, Pontefract, said: "He's playing really well at the moment. Now, unlike last year, we've got to keep it going over the next couple of days."

Jones was similarly on song, posting five birdies as he and Martin set about reprising their triumph of 2010.

And he, too, concurred with Ambler in describing the conditions.

"The course is playing tough at the moment," he said. "The swirling wind doesn't help and the greens are quite soft because of the rain and, by the time we played, the traffic that had been on them.

"That added up to us having to hole some tricky four and three footers. So we're pleased with the way things went and it's given us a good platform to build on."

Our Partners