Matthew Ford put in a battling performance in ferocious winds to win the Brooks Brothers 2008 Classic at Five Lakes Hotel, Golf, Country Club and Spa on the Ivobank PGA EuroPro Tour.
Ford (Marriott Tudor Park) led by one shot overnight at seven under from playing partner Alan Murray (Greystones GC) but his slender lead didn’t last long and after four holes, the pair had swapped places – Ford bogeying the second and third, Murray birdying the fourth to go two shots clear. The pair always remained in touch of each other though, with Murray just one shot clear going down the back nine and Ford bogeyed 12 to move to six under with Murray eight under after birdying the tenth.
But from the thirteenth onwards it was all Ford – he birdied that hole with another at seventeen, and Murray fell away with bogeys at 14, 17 and 18 in the trying conditions to fall to five under – three shots behind the winner in joint second place with Jacques Blaauw.
“It hasn’t sunk in really,” said Ford, who collects £10,000 for his win. “I’ve been working on achieving this win for a while and as much of a cliché as it sounds it was really a case of taking it one shot at a time.
“The conditions were unbelievably tough – you had to aim about 30 yards right on your shots with the winds and putting was very difficult,” said the 30 year-old, who has only missed one cut in the first event of the Tour.
“We were seesawing a bit throughout the day and I think I might have suffered a bit from nerves but I finished nicely and I felt like it was my time out there.”
This time last year, the Maidstone man lost in a play-off to Elliot Saltman at Stonebridge and he highlighted the good timing of his first ever win on the EuroPro Tour with just two events left.
“It’s really important to play well at the business end of the year – I move up the Order of Merit and one more good finish should see me in the top five so if I keep it going I’m in good shape,” said Ford, who is now in fifth spot in the Order of Merit with £17,937.76.
Blaauw put the leaders under immense pressure after going through the first seven holes level – holing his second shot at the par four eight from 160 yards then birdying the ninth and tenth holes to move to seven under. Back to back bogeys at 12 and 13 halted his run though, and although he registered a birdie at 15, he dropped another shot at 17 to card 69 to follow 70 and 69 for a five under tournament of 208.
Matthew Richardson and Francis McGuirk finished tied in fourth spot at four under (209) with Tom Haylock and James McLean sharing sixth place at two under par (211) and Alistair Presnell eighth at one under (212).
The Ivobank PGA EuroPro Tour heads over to La Cala in Spain for the Ladbrokes Masters on September 23, the final event before the Tour Championships at Les Bordes in France.
1 Matthew Ford -8 205 67, 68, 70 £10,000
=2 Jacques Blaauw (AM) -5 208 70, 69, 69 Amateur
=2 Alan Murray -5 208 69, 67, 72 £5,000
=4 Matthew Richardson -4 209 70, 70, 69 £2,100
=4 Francis McGuirk -4 209 71, 68, 70 £2,100
=6 Tom Haylock -2 211 68, 72, 71 £1,300
=6 James McLean -2 211 68, 72, 71 £1,300
8 Alistair Presnell -1 212 67, 70, 75 £1,000
Roy Mugglestone, Ian Keenan, George Woolgar, Daniel Gaunt and Elliot Saltman pick up £800 each finishing tied ninth at level par (213).