Despite the swirling winds and sporadic showers, Doug Stoker – who made last year’s final at the Forest of Arden – posted his intentions of wearing the coveted Masters jacket with an incredible 35 points, playing off an 11 handicap.
After receiving his prize, Stoker revealed his recipe for success. ‘The secret was to chip and putt well after missing the greens. I have played here before a couple of times and that helped, but essentially it is important to have fun while playing the game,’ Stoker said.
Dennis Maslin finished runner-up, one point behind Stoker, while PwC’s Nick Lamb followed the firm’s impressive form in the NMB-Heller sponsored tournament by becoming its fourth player to reach the Belfry final after making 31 points.
The other finalists were Jeremy Ward finishing on 30 points, one ahead of Stuart Ritchie and Keith Pratt on 29.
Pratt and Ritchie went through after a countback with the unlucky Andy Bowles and Mark Wainwright.
One competitor said: ‘I’ve really enjoyed the course but it was so windy we could have been playing in Chicago.’
Horror holes included one of the longest holes in the UK at the 17th, stretching 618 yards, with water either side of the fairway.
Lamb and Ritchie completed their fine day’s play by also scooping the nearest the pin and longest drive competitions.
Ritchie unleashed a 300-yard monster drive on the 506 yard uphill par-five hole, while Lamb demonstrated fine judgement landing just six feet from the pin on the 128 yard 12th across water.
‘I had been driving poorly all day,’ explained Ritchie, ‘but I realised there was a prize at stake on this hole and that spurred me on. I hit a low piercing drive and enjoyed some good bounces on the shot.’
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