Southern star’s 63 sets up two round total that bests the county’s leading players
Andy Raitt (St. George’s Hill) shot a new course record eight-under-par 63* in the first round to storm into a lead that proved unassailable, winning The PGA in Surrey Championship 2014 by three shots with a total of nine-under-par 133.
Played round Cuddington GC, Raitt walked away with a cool £1,000 winner’s share of the £5,444 prize fund, while runner up on six-under-par Gary Marks (World of Golf) made £750, followed by Ben St. John (Woodcote Park) on 137 for £625. Tandridge’s Mark Hillson also picked up the leading Trainee bonus of £200.
Very much the man-in-form at the moment with three wins in two weeks, Raitt set a really hot pace with his morning round of eight-under-par 63. Hard on his heels after shooting first rounds of five-under-par 66 were the trio of Marks with three victories so far this season, St. John, and Tom Gamble (Burhill), closely followed by the current leader of the Virgin Atlantic Little Red 2014 Order of Merit** and The PGA in Surrey Order of Merit*** Chris Gane (LefthandedGolf at Silvermere) on 67.
In the afternoon, while Nico Els (Clandon Regis) was able to deliver a four-under-par 67, the leading pack could only manage rounds of par or slightly better, so Raitt’s one-under-par 70 was more than good enough to see him take the well deserved victory.
Commenting on his new title, Raitt said, “My form’s in top gear at the moment and I’m making the most of it! Cuddington was in top condition and the weather was ideal, but my morning round of 63 is something that’ll stick with me for a long time.”
Raitt shot out of the blocks, birdieing the first and then eagling the second to be three-under. Two more birdies followed on the fourth and fifth, and the dropped shot at the sixth was soon repaired with a birdie at the ninth. Coming back he made birdies on the 11th, 15th and 17th for good measure, and his 63 was the talk of the clubhouse. “The afternoon round wasn’t quite in the same gear,” Raitt explained, “but it was good enough and I’m really delighted to be The PGA in Surrey champion again!”
The Surrey PGA Professionals benefitted from an enhanced prize fund following the success of the 3 W’s Pro-Am and Annual Dinner at Epsom Racecourse in February. The PGA in Surrey Chairman, Guy Shoesmith (West Hill), commented “We have added nearly £14,000 to our county prize funds over the last two years directly from funds raised at the Annual Dinner. To have three Pro-Ams on the same day at three top 100 courses such as West Hill, Woking and Worplesdon is amazing, and we all hope we can get another 75 four man teams out again on Monday 23 February 2015****.”
The Sun Mountain PGA in Surrey Masters will be held on Monday 15 September at Woodcote Park, where once again over £5,000 in prize money will be on offer to the county’s PGA Professionals and Assistants, with special thanks to Surrey PGA supporter Sun Mountain and Brand Fusion.