Dale Marmion (Eaton) appeared to be an innocent bystander ahead of the final round, three shots behind leader George Woolgar who was one stroke clear at six under. He missed a ten footer at the first for birdie but picked up a shot at the second to kick off a fantastic run of scoring. Further birdies came at four, five and nine before the shot that put him in control – holing a seven iron from 170 yards over the water at the tenth for an eagle to take him to nine under.

He didn’t stop there either, following that with birdies at 11 and 12 to stretch his lead even further. The rest of the back nine was negotiated with steady golf until the final hole, where a fine approach left him 15 feet from the pin, putting solidly to tap in for his seventh birdie and a final round of 62 to follow rounds of 69 and 70, a tournament score of 201 to win by three strokes from Noel Fox.

“I’m shocked to be honest, I didn’t think at the start I’d do that – I went a bit silly out there,” said Marmion.

“I felt good after the birdie at the fourth because I knew a lot of players were going to bogey that. And the two on the tenth – well, that was just frightening – I was laughing when it went in!”

The 23 year-old is the first player to win two tournaments this year after winning at The Players Club in July. He was out in front in that event but rather stuttered to victory compared to his imperious win here, something he attributed to being relaxed by chasing the leader.

“I was four clear at Bristol and even though that sounds a lot it’s not when you are on the course,” said Marmion, who picks up £10,000 for the win – taking him to the top of the Order of Merit. “By the time I got up to the sixth I was up with the leaders and I got into a rhythm so it was just a case of keeping that going and getting some birdies which I did.”

The top five in the Order of Merit after this event are entered into the second stage of the Qualifying School for the 2009 European Tour – something that Marmion is delighted with.

“It’s a massive win really, both to get my Challenge Tour card and to get into the second stage of Q School for the European Tour – I can go into that relaxed because of this win which is good.”

Torrential rain caused havoc in the first two rounds of the Whittlebury Park Classic but in the end the players were able to complete the tournament in good time thanks to the hard work of both the PGA and the club itself, something that wasn’t lost on the victor.

“This was my third pro event last year so I really like this place!” said Marmion. “The greens staff did an excellent job in the conditions – the greens are in fantastic condition.”

On any other week, Fox’s score of 204 would’ve been enough to win but the Irishman had to settle for second spot – the position he now occupies in the Order of Merit. Fox’s final round of 64 with eight birdies is in fine company with his opening round of 67, but a 73 in the middle cost him dearly.

There was a three-way tie for third spot between Paul Maddy, Simon Thornton and James Ruebotham. Maddy (Gog Magog) had the second best round of the day, not dropping a shot with eight birdies to card 63 after going into the final round one over par. Thornton (Royal County Down) put another solid tournament together – rounds of 68 and 69 on Wednesday and Thursday were followed by another 69, while Ruebotham’s 206 could’ve been better if he’d supported opening and closing rounds of 66 and 69 with something better than level in the second round.

Jamie Elson (Forum Financial Associates) and David Clark (Morpeth GC) shared sixth spot at six under for the tournament (207), while six players were tied in eighth spot at five under (208).

The Ivobank PGA EuroPro Tour moves to East Sussex National near Brighton next week for the eleventh event on the 2008 Tour.

FINAL SCORES

1 Dale Marmion                201 (-12)     69, 70, 62             £10,000

2 Noel Fox                         204 (-9)        67, 73, 64             £5,000

=3 Paul Maddy                 206 (-7)        71, 72, 63             £1,866.66            

=3 Simon Thornton         206 (-7)        68, 69, 69             £1,866.66

=3 James Ruebotham    206 (-7)        66, 71, 69             £1,866.66

=6 Jamie Elson                 207 (-6)        71, 71, 65             £1,100.00

=6 David Clark                  207 (-6)        73, 69, 65             £1,100.00

=8 Robert Steele              208 (-5)        68, 73, 67             £775.00

=8 Ross Whitelock           208 (-5)        77, 63, 68             £775.00

=8 Daniel Brooks             208 (-5)        72, 67, 69             £775.00

=8 Graeme Brown           208 (-5)        70, 68, 70             £775.00

=8 Sean McDonagh        208 (-5)        71, 66, 71             £775.00

=8 Peter Richardson       208 (-5)        68, 69, 71             £775.00

TOP FIVE ORDER OF MERIT

1 Dale Marmion                £26,122.48

2 Noel Fox                         £25,691.65

3 Lloyd Kennedy              £19,991.38

4 Alan Murray                   £18,152.89

5 Simon Thornton            £13,731.62