Whatley claims back-to-back Order of Merit titles at Sapey Golf & Country Club

Whatley claims back-to-back Order of Merit titles at Sapey Golf & Country Club


James Whatley (Morley Hayes Golf Club) shot a course record at Sapey Golf & Country Club on his way to winning one of the oldest tournaments in professional golf - the Midland Professional Championship.

The par-69 Herefordshire course created a wealth of opportunity for the Midlands region players with a course record of 62 (7-under-par) being shot in round one by Whatley (Morley Hayes Golf Club).

Whatley followed that up with a 65 for his second round to finish two shots ahead of second-placed James Freeman (Retford Golf Club) on 11-under par, making him a two-time Order of Merit Champion this year.

“One of my goals this year was to win an Order of Merit event, so to win two back-to-back is pretty special,” said Whatley.

“I’ve really kept golf quite simple this year, as I’ve been so busy at work, so playing has been an added bonus, which helps take the pressure off. I’m absolutely chuffed – this was my last tournament of the year, that’s me done competitively for the season.”

Commenting on the addition of Sapey Golf & Country Club to the Midland tournament schedule, Whatley added: “It's a fun course, it’s not a long golf course so you have a lot of wedges into the green and you feel like you’ve got a lot of birdie chances. You don’t feel beaten up after playing it so it’s good fun!”

Simon Lilly (Wellingborough Golf Club) bettered Whatley’s first round score in round two, shooting a new course record of 61 (eight-under-par) on his way to finishing third.

Lilly commented: “I played with James (Whatley) in the morning who had a 62, and it seems to be the sort of course you could score 59 on if you get it going early.

“I bogeyed the first, three putted, but then went on a really strong run and was 8-under through 12, so I thought I had a really good chance, but then just didn’t really pick anything up coming in.”

Lilly topped the 2022 Midland Order of Merit standings with 885 points, after finishes of third, tied fourth and two tied second place finishes in this year’s Midlands Order of Merit events.

“I’m delighted to win the Order of Merit,” Lilly added. “There’s some great players in the Midland region so to win the Order of Merit is a great achievement. Although I won, I didn’t win one of the Order of Merit events, which was disappointing, so next year to win an Order of Merit event would be nice, but as long as I stay fit I will keep playing.”

Whatley, Lilly and Freeman all secured their spot in the PGA Play Offs thanks to their final Order of Merit positions, alongside Matt Cort (Beedles Lake Golf Club) who had already qualified thanks to his win in the PGA Professional Championship.

CLICK HERE to view a final leaderboard from the 2022 Midland Professional Championship.


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