The roar of high performance cars lapping neighbouring Silverstone’s circuit proved a fitting soundtrack at Whittlebury Park as David Clarke and Martyn Jobling found an extra gear to win the Golfbreaks.com PGA Fourball Championship.
Having begun the third and final negotiation of the Northamptonshire course four shots adrift of the leaders, the duo from Morpeth in Northumberland clinched victory when Clark sank a 20 foot-plus putt to birdie the final hole.
Such a turnaround suggests West Country pair Michael Watson and Richard O’Hanlon froze with victory seemingly in their grasp. In truth, Clarke and Jobling earned the £5,500 winner’s cheque rather than having it gifted to them.
Although Watson and O’Hanlon’s final five-under par round of 67 did not live up to the high-octane golf they had produced over the first 36 holes, their 22-under par total took some beating. As did Scotland-based duo Gareth Wright and Graeme Brown. They were even further off the pace at the start, six shots behind on 11-under. By the end, however, they too closed on 22-under having delivered the round of the tournament.
Such was the quality of their golf that, in completing the outward nine in seven-under, they had reduced Watson and O’Hanlon’s advantage to two.
Clark and Jobling, meanwhile, trailed by three but, with the leaders effectively becalmed on the back nine and a succession of O’Hanlon’s putts flirting with the hole but declining to drop, the men from Morpeth turned the tournament on its head. Six birdies followed, including successive ones at 17 and 18 courtesy of Clark, the senior partner.
“We just had a little run,” he joked afterwards. “We holed some nice putts today, especially on 10. Martyn holed that for a par and that kind of kick-started us – we had six birdies in the final eight holes after that.
“We didn’t think about winning as such and knew there were a couple of groups in front that were going well. But we felt if we could keep chipping away at Richard and Michael we probably wouldn’t be that far away at the end.
“In a better ball format like this you can have a real go. Things can change very quickly – it’s not like singles. In fairness they did nothing wrong and they were unlucky with some putts on the last few holes – on another day they might have dropped.”
On another day Clark would have been playing with a different partner instead of Jobling, his assistant at Morpeth who was playing in the final for the first time.
“My usual partner is Mark Ridley from South Moor,” Clark explained. “We play regularly in this and the European one as well but we’ve never come close. He wasn’t able to play this year because it’s his wife’s 50th birthday and they’ve they’ve gone to Prague. After this, it looks as though he might have next year off as well!”
Final scores can be found HERE
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