Richard Wallis wins the Order of Merit title, while Raitt finishes on a Farnham high
PGA Cup star Andy Raitt (St. George’s Hill) shot a 13-under-par total of 203* to win the Crisp Thinking PGA Farnham Finale OOM by four strokes, along with a very handsome £2,222.
Raitt reeled off rounds of 68, 68, 67 to mark an emphatic victory, but as the climax to the Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit** series, the Farnham Finale also saw Canterbury’s Richard Wallis notch up his fifth regional Order of Merit title.
As the new champion, Wallis was delighted with his achievement, saying: “After winning the PGA Southern Open at Cuddington, the possibility of another Order of Merit beckoned and I took every opportunity to make it mine. It’s fantastic to be back in contention again.”
Raitt’s impressive figures disguised the multiple winner’s ‘struggling with my drives going left’, as he explained: “The figures look good, but I was fighting a pull both days. My putting was hot and turned what could’ve been pars and bogeys into birdies – occasionally from the wrong fairway! We were blessed with good weather, and after the recent downpours Farnham was in terrific shape as well.”
In second place with 71, 66, 70 for a total of 2017 was Left Handed Golf at Silvermere’s Chris Gane, who was delighted with his cheque for £1,267. So too was Romsey’s Elliot Groves and Oxford Golf Centre’s Adam Wootton who tied on 209 for third place to take home £925 each.
An honourable mention must go to Wootton; despite an uncharacteristic opening round of four-over-par 76, he put together a 10-under-par 62 in the afternoon. This would have been a new course record, had there not been a lift and place ruling following the rain earlier in the week.
The Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit rewards its top three places with starts in the PGA Play Offs at Walton Heath on October 30th. Having been in pole position for most of the seven event Order of Merit schedule, Wallis secured his after qualifying at Farnham.
Raitt’s win gave him second place, while the third spot went to Richings Park’s Chris Rodgers, whose victory in the CK Group PGA Southern Professionals Championship at King’s Hill and second place in the PGA Surrey Open at Clandon Regis always made him a strong contender.
The winners’ speeches praised the continued generosity and support of Virgin Atlantic, Crisp Thinking and CK Group. As regional secretary Sam Smith commented: “Their vision ensures The PGA in England (South) delivers top class golf and highly competitive events at the region’s best courses, and every one of our PGA Professionals appreciates how much these wonderful sponsors mean to their playing careers.”