Friday, July 06, 2012


               £10,000 and a crystal trophy for Elliot Saltman
Lothians man Elliot Saltman began the week by coming through a qualifying play-off to earn a place in the Open and he finished it by breaking the course record to win the Audi Cork Irish Masters by eight shots at Fota Island Resort and move top of the PGA EuroPro Tour Order of Merit
At the start of the final round in Cork, the Archerfield Links man was tied for the lead with Australian Rika Batibasaga and Welshman Stuart Manley but a superb ten-under-par 61 saw the Scotsman to a comfortable victory.
He opened with a par at the first and then hit four consecutive birdies from the second. He completed the remaining four front-nine holes to par and made his fifth birdie of the round at the 10th. A birdie three followed at 12 before back-to-back threes at 14 and 15, both par fours.
He then completed his round with back-to-back par breakers at 17 and 18 to returne to the clubhouse to sign for 61 and collect his £10,000 winner’s cheque.
“I have always had that there to be honest,” he reflected after the round. “I felt it was a matter of time until I came out and produced something like that.
“Last time I was in Ireland [for the Ulster Bank Open at Galgorm Castle, Ballymena] I got five under in the last round and came second, and then to shoot a combined six under par at Open Qualifying meant my confidence was flying coming to Fota Island.
“I made a target of nine under for the tournament so to shoot ten under in one round was a great performance that I am very proud of.
“Fota Island is an immaculate golf course. It is very, very good and a lot of the players have been giving it very high praise. Everything was immaculate, it was a very well-run tournament and it is something Fota Island should be proud of.”
Manley (Machynys Peninsula) has moved up to fourth on the Tour Order of Merit after finishing second and collecting £5,000. The top five golfers at the end of the season will be rewarded with a card for the 2013 Challenge Tour, putting them just one step away from the European Tour.
The Welshman signed for a 69 at the end of his final round, beating Scotland’s Duncan Stewart to second by one shot.
Stewart (Grantown on Spey), who has sold shares in himself to cover his tour expenses (Paul Lawrie is one of his "investors") had been tied for fourth overnight and shot two under par in his final round to move to five under for the tournament.
Batibasaga (Indoorphilly GC) carded a three-over-par 74 in his final round and finished the competition tied for 15th.
The PGA EuroPro Tour remains in Ireland for the Kingspan Concra Wood Open, which gets underway next Wednesday, July 11.

Par 213 (3x71)
199 Elliot Saltman (Archerfield Links) 71 67 61 (£10,000).
207 Stuart Manley (Wal) 72 66 69 (£5,000.
208 Duncan Stewart (Grantown on Spey) 71 68 69 (£3,500).
209 Zane Scotland (Eng) 69 70 70 (£1,700).
211 Chris Kelly (Cawder) 71 73 67 (T10) (£700).
216 Wallace Booth (Comrie) 71 73 72, Paul Doherty (Vale Hotel) 72 68 76 (T30) (£275).
222 Zack Saltman (Archerfield Links) 74 72 76 (T58) (£155).



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