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Warwickshire Win

I think it’s apt that I’m writing this on the morning of the clocks going forward, and summer feels just around the corner.

I haven’t posted for a while, but here’s a quick update.

Since the turn of the year I have been putting in the hours making improvements in my game in preparation for the upcoming season. Luckily I have managed to get a couple of  tournaments under my belt in the winter sun.

As you will see on my results page my game has felt close.

Enter Wednesday 22nd March, my final pre-season event at Coventry GC, umbrellas at the ready!

Playing in winter conditions is always a battle, but with the wind and heavy rain, it was a day for hitting it quick and sprinting back under the brolly.

The traditional winter shotgun start saw my team start on the 3rd hole. After hitting the fairway, my first approach of the day came close to finding the hole and left me with a tap-in birdie start, and after 9 holes I was two under par.

Three birdies in a row followed before standing on the final tee five under par. As I rolled home a 12 foot putt on the final green I had completed the course in just 65 strokes, a score good enough for a 4 shot victory over the 32 man field.

What better way to end the winter but with a 65 (-6) and a four shot margin  and my 23rd professional tournament win.

Next stop summer golf!

 

 

Golf Coaching Available only £20

For those of you who don’t already know, I’m available for golf lessons if anyone requires help with their game.

 

Location: Kingswinford Golf Centre

Cost:  30 minute session – £20

1 hour session –  £32.50

 

Skytrack launch monitor data, video analysis, follow up email and range balls included.

 

Lessons 7 days per week based on availability

Contact: ajcpga@live.co.uk or 07816598891

 

World Ranking finish on EuroPro

Following  a few missed cuts, I eventually put two good rounds together on the PGA EuroPro Tour at East Sussex National.

Rounds of 73 and 69 left me in 20th place with 18 holes to play.

I was gaining confidence as the week progressed and I felt comfortable at the former European Tour venue.

The 7138 yard layout not only required some long hitting but also accuracy given the extremely small target areas on the greens.

Birdies at 2 and 6 as well as 7 pars on the front 9 saw me turn in 34 and climb the leaderboard, sitting just outside the top 10.

Four pars opened the back 9 and as I walked past the scoreboard on 13 I knew I needed a late charge to catch the leaders.

Two brilliantly struck shots with a driver and hybrid found the 575 yard 14th in two before holing a 4 foot birdie putt.

Momentum and confidence built as I holed a 30 foot birdie putt on the following hole to move to 4 under for the round and -6 for the tournament.

Two great up and downs, from the bunker and side of the green on 16 and 17 kept my card free of bogeys as I approached the 54th and final hole.

A driver and 8 iron safely negotiated the 454 yard uphill final hole leaving a 12 foot birdie attempt.

As the Sky Sports camera crew gathered behind the green, I knew I was going well in the tournament and was determined to finish strongly.

I gathered my information needed and rolled the birdie putt into the cup.

Three birdies in the final five holes gave me a bogey free 5 under par 67 and a 7 under total for the championship.

I eventually finished in 4th place, my highest finish on the EuroPro for a while, giving me some all important Official World Golf Ranking (owgr.com) points taking me to 1487 in the world.

 

Second Midland OOM

Following my victory in the first Midland PGA Order of Merit event, my season focus shifted a little towards attempting to secure some good finishes in the remaining 4 ranking events.

Wellingborough Golf Club hosted the second ranking event which was a marathon 36 holes in a day.

If you have never played the course before the extremely tricky layout requires some conservative shots testing course management and patience. Patience not usually being one of my best traits.

I was swinging well during the first round setting up plenty of opportunities as the rain came down.

Wellingborough has an unusual layout given only 2 par 5’s and 2 par 3’s. I managed to take advantage of the par 5’s with birdie and completed the first round without a single drop shot (2 birdies and 16 pars) for a 2 under par 70.

As I teed off for the final round I sat nicely in a tie for 3rd place. An opening birdie put me in contention early and as the round progressed I found myself playing well without reward.

As I stood on the 13th tee and glanced at the leaderboard I knew I was in a tie for 3rd coming into the final stretch. Two great shots on the par 5 set up a birdie before following it with another on the next hole.

Given the conditions a final round 73 moved me into a tie for 2nd place and much needed ranking points to keep me tied at the top of the order of merit.

Two down three to go.

Order of Merit Win

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http://www.pga.info/regions/england-(midlands)/news/2016/06/cheese-sets-the-pace.aspx

 

After a slightly disappointing May, it was time to switch my attention to the first PGA Midland Order of Merit event of the season at South Staffs GC.

The 36 hole event runs over 2 days with a pro-am running alongside the professional championship.

I started the tournament perfectly, a second shot from 237 yards with a 3 iron and a 15 foot putt gave a an opening eagle on my very first hole.

A couple more birdies and bogeys found the scorecards before finishing the first day with a  bogey for a 1 under par round.

As the day went on, the course got the better of most and my round of 70 lay tied 7th from the 86 professionals.

As the second round got underway I was perfectly placed for a move up the leaderboard.

Four opening pars followed by back to back birdies on 5 and 6 gave got me off to a great start, before two disappointing bogeys saw me make the turn level par through 9 holes.

A perfect drive on 10 and a 7 iron from 176 yards set up a birdie to get me back into red figures before my 4th birdie, a two on the par 3 11th took me to -3 for the tournament.

A few pars followed and I stood on the par three 15th one stroke off the lead.

My confidence was up at this point as I took dead aim at the flag setting up a 12 foot putt for birdie.

Given that the greens were running at a speed of 12.5 (if you’re not familiar with speed numbers – that’s very fast) there wasn’t much

 

chance of leaving the putt short.

The putt found the hole for my third 2 from the four short holes to give me a share of the lead.

At that moment I was solely focused at the shot in hand, a good tee shot at the par 5 sixteenth would give me an ideal opportunity to move ahead of the field.

I did just that, a perfect drive and iron found the green in two leading to a birdie to move to five under for the tournament.

Two closing pars gave me a second round 67 and a one stroke victory.

Not only was I now the Lotus Invitational PGA Midland OOM event champion, me and my partner Andrew Burley also landed the Invitational Pro-Am first prize.

I would like to thank Andrew for a special two days and his continued support.

 

3 wins in 4 events

As part of the Midland PGA season, many Midland Professionals are required to compete at Qualifying school in order to gain a ranking to compete in tournaments throughout the season.

Along with many others my entry went in, with the intention of qualifying for a handful of events planned in between my EuroPro Tour commitments.

An extremely wet and blustery Walsall Golf Club provided a tough challenge on Monday 25 April.

Having only played the course once, many years ago, and the lack of opportunity for a practice round due to course conditions, I went into the round with very little knowledge of the par 70, 6259 yard layout.

Controlling trajectory in the swirling winds was vital and something I managed to do well on the opening 8 holes despite being 2 over par.

Standing on the 9th tee my luck was to change, a good drive and an up and down from 75 yards produced a birdie and a run of five 3’s in a row.

This amazing run included a birdie on the long par four 11th before an eagle on the par five 12th by finding the green in two and rolling in a 20 foot putt.

Four under in 4 holes is definitely a quick way to turn things around.

The closing holes were difficult shooting at narrow greens into the wind but I battled well and signed for a one under par 69.

My 69, the only score under par from the whole field was enough for victory and my 3rd tournament win in 4 events.

 

 

Eagle Tour

The midland based Eagle Tour hosted an 18 hole event which would see my return from injury, having been out and not playing 18 holes for around a month.

I was keen to test out my fitness and although I didn’t feel 100% it was hard to overlook the opportunity to compete around my home course, Sutton Coldfield.

I opened with a trio of pars before moving to one over through 4 holes. A driver and 5 iron on the 482 yard slight dogleg 5th found the green in 2 setting up a bounce back birdie.

After some solid ball striking I finally got rewarded on the greens with a hat-trick of 3’s from the 8th to reach 2 under par.

Seven pars and a tap-in birdie 2 on the 198 yard 17th sealed my 3 under par 69 and a 4th place finish in a very strong field filled with multiple European, Challenge and EuroPro tour winners.

 

 

That winning feeling

The sixteenth of March saw Coventry Golf Club host the final pro-am of the winter season.

Typical winter cold winds and muddy conditions greeted all players for the early shotgun start.

Hopes were high given the previous weeks practice in Spain.

A par 5 start provided the opportunity to get off to a good start, and after finding the green in 2, I opened with a birdie 4.

A bad swing on number 3 led to a bogey on the 200+ yard par 3, before taking advantage of another par 5 with a bounce back birdie.

I kept the round going and managed to keep the right side of par with some miraculous par saves following some errant tee shots.

I eventually carded 5 birdies and 3 bogeys for a 2 under par round of 69 and took the title by a single stroke.

Lets hope 2 wins already in 2016 sets the tone for the upcoming season.

 

Sawgrass Grand Final Win

After qualifying for the Hole In One Club Grand Final back in May 2015, it was time to compete, only this time the event would be held at the TPC Sawgrass Resort in Ponte Verda, Florida.

It’s hard to believe that one perfect shot on the EuroPro Tour at Burhill GC would take me across the world to compete courtesy on the Hole In One Club.

The final was contested over 36 holes on the Dye Valley and the TPC Stadium course.

Winter sun and a chance to compete on the course where the world’s ‘5th major’ golf tournament is held, what more can you ask for.

Surprisingly unsettled conditions provided a tough test on day one.

Opening birdies on holes 1 and 2 set me off nicely on a round that included 4 birdies and 2 eagles, add in the bogeys which gave me a comfortable lead to take into the final day after a score of 73.

Excitement was the feeling on the first tee of the famous Stadium course, particularly leading the tournament.

I was hitting it confidently off the tee as we approached the well known par five 16th, although I was 2 over par I felt like I was playing well.

A perfect drive and a 5 wood covered the 523 yards to set up a birdie 4 before approaching the world famous island green par 3 17th, the scene of many lost Players Championships.

As I stood on the signature 137 yard hole its hard not to notice the vast amounts of water surrounding the green after watching many before me ‘plop’ one in the lake.

My pre-shot routine paid off helping send the ball on its way finding the green no more than 18 feet from the pin, before rolling in the birdie 2.

Unfortunately the good work was undone with dropped shots on the demanding finishing hole as I signed for a 74.

A 147 total was enough over the challenging 2 rounds to crown me HIO-Club Grand Final Champion.

Lets hope that next time I win at Sawgrass its the tours ‘5th major’.

 

As champion I have become a HIO-Club ambassador, anyone who would like to win a trip to Sawgrass and Orlando for only £5 by scoring a hole in one in competition please contact me to enter – 07816598891

 

Looking Ahead

As we creep into 2016, I’m feeling positive with how my winter training and preparation is coming along ahead of the upcoming season.

My priority will be competing on the PGA Euro Pro Tour whilst bulking out my schedule with PGA Pro-Ams and other events before European Tour  School at the end of the year.

The Euro Pro Tour now provides added bonuses for golfers like myself looking to progress their careers by offering Official World Golf Ranking points.

In the meantime I will keep competitive by trying to convert my PGA Warwickshire Order of Merit lead into another title by the end of the winter.

View my schedule by selecting the Results & Schedule page above.