Yorkshire's A-Team set the standard

04/10/2012

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Adrian Ambler produced a storming finish at Forest Pines to put him and Aran Wainwright on course for victory in the final of the Skins PGA Fourball Championship.

Exhibiting the form that resulted in him winning the PGA North Region Order of Merit last month, Ambler birdied the last two holes to give the Yorkshire duo a two-stroke lead in their quest for the £5,000 winner's cheque.

Birdies at the par five 515-yard penultimate hole on the Lincolnshire course have been relatively commonplace in a tournament contested by 60 pairs.

Not so the par-four 456-yard 18th. Moreover, Ambler, the PGA pro at Low Laithes, Wakefield, claimed his the hard way after dispatching his drive into the trees that stand sentry along the left hand side of the fairway.

"He hooked it out from there onto the green and then holed the putt," said his impressed partner, the PGA pro at Mid Yorkshire Golf Club, Pontefract.

The two birdies took Ambler's tally for the inward half to four, a tally equalled by his partner in the outward nine.

Wainwright followed up with another at the par four 11th and Ambler said: "We were both pretty solid throughout and he was awesome over the first nine."

The birdie bonanza contributed to a nine-under-par return of 64, a joint best of the tournament that gave the pair a two round total of 130 and a superb chance of improving on their finish in 2010 when they were runner's up.

Ambler and Wainwright also tied for eight place last year but whereas they are longstanding golfing partners and of a similar vintage, their closest pursuers, Darren Prosser and John Bandurak, are playing together as pros for just the second time.

Their golfing association, however, goes back 12 years when Prosser coached the then teenage Bandurak.

"I gave him lessons when he was a kid and I was at the Three Hammers Golf Complex just outside Wolverhampton," said Prosser, who has since moved to nearby Halfpenny Green.

"And he used to play with me in pro-ams when he was an amateur but the first time we teamed up as pros was in the qualifier for this at Stapleford Park."

After posting six-under on day one to lie joint fifth, it was a case of the pupil leading the way when the second round got under way.

Bandurak, a PGA pro at Great Barr Golf Club, Birmingham, posted four birdies before his senior partner weighed in with three on the inward nine for an eight-under-par 65.

"It was a good in and out from us," Prosser added. "We had one bogey between us and are handily placed for tomorrow."

Likewise Leicestershire duo Matthew Cort (Rothley Park) and Craig Shave (Whetstone), who are also two adrift of the leaders after posting 65, plus a posse of pairs on 134.

That includes Cornwall-based Richard O'Hanlon (The Point at Polzeath) and Richard Sadler (Killiow), who finished joint third last year, plus Berkshire pair Gary Laird and Craig Ainsley (Wexham Park).

Both matched Ambler and Wainwright's best of the tournament 64 while, for Laird and Ainsley, there was a coach/pupil similarity with Prosser and Bandurak.

"Craig works with me now but I gave him lessons when he was 13," said Laird, after they followed up an opening day round of three-under.

"The difference was we were better on the greens than yesterday and holed more putts," Laird added.

"The greens were in better condition - probably because it was drier today and we went out earlier so there had been less traffic on them."

With 24 of the 60 pairs that started making the cut, there will be even less traffic for a final round that looks set to be keenly contested.

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