De Dombal posted his intent to go one better in the NMB-Heller sponsored tournament this year by recording 34 points under the stableford scoring system, five clear of runner-up Alan Hynd and seven clear of third-placed Scott Moreland on 27 points.
‘I was just trying to come sixth,’ the modest De Dombal revealed after his blistering round at Slaley Hall. ‘But now I’m through I am really looking forward to the final at The Belfry in September’.
The conditions meant the balls were picking up mud and the contestants encountered some difficulties with a number of temporary greens, which had been brought into play.
The three winners will be joined by Paul Williams, Andy Sneddon and the only lady in the heat, Janet Nesbitt, in the final after a nail-biting count back, with all three posting 27 points.
The rhododendron-covered Slaley Hall course in Hexham had been closed for the previous three days amid hail and floods. But despite a soaked course and windy conditions, the rain did at least hold off until the last group had safely returned to the clubhouse.
The conditions were also responsible for slowing down the play, and were described by one contestant as ‘punishing every slightest error’.
The point was further emphasised with the pace of the rounds taking an hour longer than usual.
Stephen Brown was found to be the ‘beast’ of the field after winning longest drive competition on the 11th, while Neil Highfield took consolation for not progressing to the final by showing a deft touch, winning the nearest the pin competition on the sixth.
The remaining regional finals take place at St Pierre Park in Chepstow on 15 June; Hever on 22 June; Brocket Hall on 27 June and Forest of Arden on 28 June.
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