Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Handicapped by a painful back, Greig Hutcheon put in a gritty defence of the the Titleist PGA Play-offs title, played for the first time over the Antalya Golf Club's Sultan Course in Turkey.
The Banchory Golf Club tour pro did well to score three-under-par 68 in the final round and finish sixth behind all-the-way winner of the £2,000 prize, Richard Wallis from Kent who won by a shot in the end after closing with a 68 for 13-under-par 200..
Hutcheon also's financial reward was a cheque for £750 and, as a top-10 finisher, he earned a place in next year's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Greig looked as if he might finish fifth, perhaps even fourth when he birdied the short second, the long third and long seventh and the 10th to be four under par for the day with eight holes to play.
But he ran up a double bogey 6 at the 12th - the only blemish on his card - before notching his fifth birdie of the day, at the long 16th.
David Patrick (Elie Sports Club) shot a 70 for joint 10th position on 212 with Ireland's Barrie Trainor who then beat him in a play-off for the last spot in in the BMW PGA championship.
Patrick had parred the last seven holes and he will be rueing the putts that lipped down the home stretch. Earlier he had birdid the fourth, long seventh and 10th with bogeys at the short sixth and 11th.
Sadly, Stephen Gray (Hayston), the Tartan Tour top money winner and Order of Merit winner in 2011 completed his worst week of the season with an eight-over-par 79 after running up a triple bogey 7 at the first and then finishing with bogeys at five of his last eight holes.
Gray finished last of 24 with a 17-over-par total of 230 and a £300 consolation prize was no comfort at all.

It was a case of where eagles dare as Richard Wallis snatched a dramatic victory in the Titleist PGA Play-Offs in Turkey.
The Kent player was crowned the PGA's No. 1 player on the back of a thrilling back nine which had seen Simon Lilly storm into contention with a superb seven-under-par 64 - the best round of the week at Antalya Golf Club's PGA Sultan Course.
Also in the frame were Wallis's playing partners David Higgins and Paul Streeter but the Walmer and Kingsdown pro delivered what proved to be the decisive blow when he arrowed in a five iron to seven feet on the par five 16th to set up an eagle having come off a bogey on 15.
It was the perfect riposte to Lilly who minutes earlier had birdied the 16th hole himself to go in front at 13 under par.
The Wellingborough pro saw his dramatic last day charge halted with a bogey on the last to give Wallis some precious breathing space.
The ultra consistent Higgins (Waterville Links) also had a putt on 18 to force a play-off after Wallis bogeyed too but saw his effort shave the hole.
Wallis secured the win with rounds of 65, 67 and 68 which left him 13 under for the tournament - a stroke ahead of Lilly and Higgins. Rothley Park's Matt Cort was fourth on 11 under with former champion Streeter fifth on eight under and last year's winner Greig Hutcheon sixth on five under.
The Deal 30-year-old pocketed a cheque for £2,0000 but more significantly for his aspirations of getting on tour, earned starts in the BMW PGA Championship, Wales and Scottish Opens plus a handful of Challenge Tour events.
"This is my first national title, winning the South Region Order of Merit was probably the biggest result of my career to date and winning this is great - to be PGA No. 1 is awesome," he said.
"I want to use this as a launch pad. Greig Hutcheon who won the play-offs last year has had a great year in showing what you can do with the starts you get on tour from the play-offs.
"I don't think he missed a cut in the events he played and got a decent amount of money so if I can follow his footsteps and make a few cuts and some money that would be great."
Wallis, who learned to play his golf on the famed Kent links of Prince's, Royal St George's and Royal Cinque Ports, admitted it had been a rollercoaster ride in the Turkish sunshine.
"I'm stunned to be honest. I decided before the day started that I just wanted to keep it simple, hit fairways and greens like I've done the last couple of days," said Wallis.
"But from the word go that plan went out of the window when I put it into the trees on the first for a bogey and Paul birdied the first two and suddenly my two shot lead at the start of the day was gone and I'm one behind.
"I just tried to keep things going, holed a couple of nice putts on five and seven and holed a 15ft on nine over the ridge.
"I saw Simon was at nine under at the turn and I was 12 or 13 so I kind of forgot about him and just concentrated on who I was playing with.
"I then missed a short putt for par on 15 and then found out Simon had made birdie on 16 to go to 13 under.
"On 16 to be honest I was just going for the middle of the green and pulled a five iron just a fraction to seven feet and holed it to go one in front with two to play.
"But with Simon on a streak I fancied him to birdie one of the last two but fortunately got to the 18th to see him do the same as me and take a bogey.
"It was a battle all the way round, but I really enjoyed it and am really ecstatic.
Lilly, who shot the magic 13-under-par 59 three weeks ago, stormed into the frame with eight birdies in the first 12 holes with just one blip on the sixth.
"I really got it going and was seven under through 12 and actually thought about another 59," he said.
"I had two really good chances on 13 and 14 and missed them and made a disappointing bogey on the last but would have taken this at the start of the day definitely.
"It's brilliant to get the tour starts. The last few months I've been playing the best I can play, I've changed to a belly putter and it's made a huge difference. It's time to kick on, I've got tour school in a few weeks and I'm really looking forward to it."
Higgins, who lost in a play-off with Lilly to decide a number of European and Challenge Tour starts, said: "I didn't go low enough, I missed a couple of chances and as I said you have to putt well. I hit a lovely shot into the last - a six iron to six or seven feet but missed that as well.
"Overall it has been positive and I'm just disappointed to lose the play off for the European and Challenge Tour starts."
The top 10 players all qualified for the BMW PGA Championship with Barrie Trainor securing the last place after a play-off with David Patrick.



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