A race to the wire sees the two southern stars sharing top spot on the Downs
Cherry Lodge’s Craig Sutherland and West Hill’s David Callaway both shot fabulous five-under-par 65s* to tie for victory in the Epsom Pro-Am and take home £725 each.
Both players started off the 10th, but with a morning tee time it was Sutherland who set the early pace. After opening par, birdie, bogey, Sutherland got right down to business with three birdies in quick succession, reaching the turn in three-under-par.
Another birdie at the first, his 10th, was offset by a dropped shot at the third but a fired up Sutherland bounced straight back with another birdie at the fourth to go to four-under. Pushing all the way, one more came at the eighth, his 17th, and a par at his last put him in pole position in the clubhouse.
Setting off in the afternoon, Callaway didn’t know about Sutherland’s result but having played the course several times before, Callaway knew good course management was key. “I’d just got back from a family holiday in Portugal,” said Callaway, “and the day before I’d won my first round of the Keith MacDonald Match Play at the 21st having been four down with four to play. I can tell you that really sharpened up my game in time for the Epsom Pro-Am!”
He continued: “The course was in great condition, the weather was ideal, and the lovely members I played with simply added to what proved a very enjoyable day. I played pretty well but a couple of three putts from long distance on the fourth and fifth meant I was chasing at least one more birdie, which came with my very last shot, a five foot putt on the ninth green!”
Tilgate Forest’s Lea Cooper notched up another good result, carding a four-under 66 for third place and £550. But in terms of the top placing, things might have been very different if Sutherland hadn’t generously swapped his original afternoon starting time with Callaway who found he couldn’t play in the morning.
Callaway certainly made the most of Sutherland’s generosity, for not only did both players shoot 65s but with the Epsom Golf Club chairman in his team as well, Callaway led his three amateurs to a -24 victory, while Sutherland was edged into third spot by Benn Barham (Pentland Golf) and his team with -21.