Friday, July 23, 2010

Goodwood's Harris gallops into English PGA championship lead

Jamie Harris proved a golfing thoroughbred at Golf At Goodwood by galloping into the lead with a four-under-par course record 67 to set the pace in the Business Fort English PGA Championship.
The Nevill Golf Club PGA pro leads a packed leaderboard by one stroke from Paul Bradshaw (Boothferry GC) with a clutch of players locked at two under for the inaugural 54-hole tournament which is also supported by Cobra and 59Club.
Marathon running Harris, who is also a martial arts expert, has been hitting some of his best form of late with two top three finishes in the last two PGA South Region Order of Merit events and was delighted with his latest performance over the James Braid-designed Downs Course.
"It's good because it tests every part of your game, but it's fair," said Harris who reached the turn in four under par with birdies on the first, third, fifth and ninth holes.
"If you drive the ball well and give yourself chances you can score but equally where the course is good is that you can't hit it off line and get away with it.
"Any hole you miss the green you're going to have a tricky shot."
Harris dropped a shot at 11 and another at 13 with what he called a 'terrible five' after three putting when he missed the green with a wedge from just 65ft.
But the PGA Cup player made amends with the shot of the day on the 599-yard par five 16th.
"I hit driver-driver and the second was the best shot of the day," he said. "I had 280 yards and the ball was above my feet and I had to cut it but I hit it to 20ft which was a really good shot because it runs away."
Harris, who finished runner up in the PGA Professional Championship 12 months ago, has set himself a target of 10 under to lift the inaugural title which carries a £5,000 first prize.
"The way I look at these events is that it gets a bit easier every day because people put themselves out of it," he added. "You start the week with 150 but by end of day only 20 or so will be in with a chance so I reckon we need 10 under to win."
Hot on his heels is Bradshaw who birdied the last for a 68. It was rich reward for long hours of extra practice that the English PGA Assistants champion has been putting in near his home.
"I've had no real form of late but have put in some extra hours and it's paying off," he said.
"I think we got good end of the draw with the weather, I spoke to my mate Neil Evans at the 11th who said it was tough but that's life as we saw at the Open. But I played solid all the way round.
"I set off with a few good birdies, birdied the hard holes, seven and 18. There was no fireworks but I just didn't make mistakes and I think that's what's everyone is fighting around here."
A group of seven players shot 69s including Bournemouth's Lee Thompson (Dudsbury), Surrey duo Gary Marks (World of Golf) and Ben St John (Woodcote Park). Morning starters James Whatley (East Midlands Golf Academy), Tim Backhouse (Bromborough), David Green (Croham Hurst) and Graham Cox (Davenport) also carded 69s.



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