Last minute reserve’s eight-under-par sails away with the top prize at Farnham
Lee-on-the-Solent star James Ablett took full advantage of a last minute call up due to a late withdrawal, shooting an eight-under-par 64* to win the Farnham Charity Pro-Am by six shots.
In tough conditions where many would have settled for par, Ablett’s stellar performance at one of the most popular events of the schedule means he’s notched up four wins so far this year, including a successful foray to the Las Vegas Classic Pro-Am. His win at Farnham was handsomely rewarded with a winner’s cheque for £1,200, while Scott Stevens (Staplehurst) and Matthew Rice (Purley Downs) both turned in two-under-par 70s to take home £800 each.
With the weather far from ideal, Ablett agreed that level par would be a good score. Starting with a birdie at the par five first, he got up and down at the second for a good par and then put a six iron close enough on the fourth for his second birdie.
On the seventh, using his natural shape of shot against the wind and comfortable there were ball spotters, Ablett drove the par four’s green and then holed the fifteen foot putt for an eagle two.
Putting a two iron just through the green at the next, a par three, he duly holed the chip, saying, ‘”It was one where I could see the line and all I had to do was get it on the green and let it roll in. The greens were rolling beautifully, and even all that the rain took a while to get through and soften them up.”
Five-under-par at the turn, Ablett’s next birdie came at the 12th with another 15 foot putt, and at the 14th as he explained, “I should have made another as I had an iron for my second shot, but the lie was cuppy, I bunkered it and found a poor lie, so it was just a par.” All the same, he made another birdie at the next, the long par three 15th, with a putt of 20 feet to go to seven-under-par and relish the prospect of equalling David Osborn’s (West Hill) course record 63.
Sadly it wasn’t to be as a 12 footer at the 17th rolled past the hole, but he made a final birdie at the par five 18th to sail home in 64 shots. His team management was pretty hot as well, as they won that event by three shots, adding a little extra Ablett’s takings for the day.
“It didn’t feel like a career best,” said the former South Region number one, “the eagle and the birdie two at the 15th were the only really cheeky ones, but I putted very efficiently. My swing’s not feeling that comfortable, but there were no bad holes and I’m working on a tip I was given for my putting, so I’ll see if it keeps on working!”
Practicing hard to maintain his form, Ablett’s looking forward to the next Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit tournament - the PGA Southern Open** at East Sussex National on June 16th-17th.