Nico nails his first win of the season with top class course management
Nico Els (Professional Golf Tuition Breaks) gave a masterclass in both course management and dealing with breezy conditions, shooting a winning one-under-par 70* at the Puttenham Pro-Am.
With just one bogey, Els returned the cleanest card to edge three of his rivals into second spot, comprising the new CK Group PGA Southern Professional champion Chris Rodgers (Richings Park), along with Michael Lowe (Leatherhead) and Mark James (Pyecombe).
Each shot a level par 71 but had as many bogeys and birdies on their cards, leaving Els’s score with two birdies and the one dropped shot of 70 at the top of the leader board. To make things even better, Els also led his three amateurs to victory in the team event as well, on a count back from West Hill’s David Callaway and his team.
Collecting the £725 winner’s cheque, Els commented: “I came really close in The PGA in Surrey Championship but lost the play off, so winning here – and collecting nearly a £1,000 in the process! - is a very nice boost for my own confidence.”
He continued: “Blustery winds combined with tree-lined fairways and well protected greens, made club selection challenging to say the least. Added to which, knowing what to hit off the tee makes a big difference, as it’s easy to get into trouble round here if you are pushing for distance with your drives.”
He added: “That said, Puttenham was in great nick and despite rain for the last 30 minutes of play and dropping a shot on my opening hole, the second, I was very pleased with the way I played the other 17!”
The result means that Els has also won The PGA in Surrey Order of Merit*** for 2018 snatching the title from Leatherhead’s Michael Lowe by just £200.
Despite carding a 74 in the Pro-Am, The PGA in England (South) Money List leader remains Lee-on-the-Solent’s James Ablett. But with Canterbury’s Richard Wallis hard on his heels and rich pickings to be won throughout the remainder of the season, the current positions could still change dramatically.