Winners celebrate their first victories of the season
Chris Croucher (East Sussex National) and Alex Burge shared the honours at the Bletchingley Pro-Am, after both players shot impressive four-under-par 68s* to take home their winners’ cheques for £800 each.
They edged the three-under-par card of former Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit champ Andy Raitt (St George’s Hill) into third spot for £500, while multiple winner David Copsey (DCGS Poult Wood) tied on two-under-par with Bletchingley’s Michael Day.
Playing in the morning, Croucher turned in one-under-par despite two bogeys, and continued his charge of birdies on the eighth and ninth with two more on the tenth and eleventh to reach three-under. One more at the 15th and solid pars to finish left him setting the early pace as the leader in the clubhouse.
Knowing what he had to do and starting in the afternoon on the 10th, Burge got away to a fantastic start making birdies at the 11th, 12th and 14th to put himself right into contention. A bogey at the first left him two off the pace, but he repaired the damage on the fourth with another birdie to get back to three-under.
With six holes left, the birdie putts weren’t dropping until he got to his last hole, the par five ninth where he made one more birdie to tie with Croucher.
Both Burge and Croucher were delighted to notch up their first wins of the season, as Croucher commented, “I’ve been working hard this year, and didn’t start playing in competitive events until the end of July, and my first few results were very average to say the least!”
“So coming here and opening with a bogey, it started to feel a bit déjà vu, even more so after going birdie bogey at the sixth and seventh. But then something clicked and I made four birdies on the trot, and one more at the 15th put me in what I thought would be a strong position, so I was really pleased to negotiate the last three holes in par and finish with a 68.”
Burge was very happy with his first victory, as he explained, “Bletchingley was in great condition but making a score here is all about course management.”
He continued, “After a great start I made a good job of getting round the rest of the holes, but the putter had cooled off, so coming to my last hole knowing I needed to make a birdie to tie with Chris, and then doing it, was particularly satisfying.”