Nick Redfern (Julius Baer) became the surprise winner of the PGA South Region’s third Virgin Atlantic Order of Merit event, the PGA Surrey Open Championship sponsored by Kronenbourg 1664 and played at the widely praised Gatton Manor.
Redfern’s six-under-par total of 210 earned him his first Virgin Atlantic PGA South Region Order of Merit victory and a cheque for £2,750. On an afternoon when the wind played havoc with the scoring, Redfern’s gutsy performance edged out Ben St. John (Woodcote Park) whose five-under-par total took second spot and £2,000. Having led up to the last hole in a dramatic bid to win three Order of Merit titles in succession, Richard Wallis (Walmer & Kingsdown) consoled himself with third place and £1,400.
After a superb second round of 67 on the morning of the final day, Wallis led on eight-under-par and despite dropping three shots on the front nine of the final round three birdies kept him in the lead on eight-under-par after the fourteenth.
Redfern’s second round of 66 had put him on seven-under-par, and in the final round he added two more birdies to be nine-under-par by the fifth, but bogeys at the sixth, seventh and tenth dropped him back to six-under-par and two strokes off Wallis’s lead. Redfern then parred the remaining eight holes to post six-under-par score to be leader in the clubhouse.
After an excellent opening 67, St. John shot a second round of 73 to drop back to four-under-par. His final round opened with a bogey five, and by the turn St. John was back to two-under-par. Digging deep he birdied the thirteenth and the fifteenth, and then made a very rare birdie at the eighteenth to finish on 71 and five-under-par.
Wallis in the meanwhile bogeyed the sixteenth and parred the seventeenth to be seven-under-par but still one stroke in the lead. Driving into pole position on the eighteenth, Wallis’s second shot ricocheted out of bounds off a greenside tree. His provisional was then blown left of target, needing a pitch and two putts to finish with a seven and fall at the last hurdle.
Reflecting on his day, Redfern said: “This is my first Virgin Atlantic Order of Merit victory and my biggest achievement in the PGA South Region. The level of play in the Region is outstanding, and my wife and caddy kept me really focused and patient. The final nine holes was something I’ll never forget, and this win is a tremendous boost.”
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