Amateur James Watts shot a brilliant six under par 65 in the last round to win the 2010 PGA EuroPro Tour Q School at Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire by one stroke at ten under.
Watts (East Herts, pictured) opened the day at four under par after recording back-to-back two under par rounds to tackle the final day three shots behind the leader at four under. An early bogey saw him drop further behind but three birdies and an eagle moved him to eight under at the eighth.
A dropped shot at the ninth was a brief setback as he sealed the win down the back nine with birdies at the 12th, 16th and 18th seeing him keep in nose in front of playing partner Lee Clarke, who finished one stroke behind Watts.
“Coming down the back nine was great fun today, everything just clicked,” said Watts. “There were plenty of birdies out there and thankfully I picked up a lot of them.
“I didn’t play well at first stage last week at Stoke by Nayland but the weather affected everyone’s game,” said the 22 year-old. “The weather here has been great though and the course is in fantastic condition – I’m absolutely delighted and it’s a really great start to rest of the year.
“I’ve been in Spain over the winter but it’s mainly been practicing so to get out on the course and have that competition element was great,” said Watts, from Hertford. “If everything goes to plan, I’ll be playing The Amateur Championship then turning pro in June – and playing as many EuroPro Tour events as possible.”
Clarke (Everbuild Building Products) was five under at the beginning of the day and improved to eight under by the tenth thanks to four unanswered birdies, but a dropped shot at 13 proved costly as his birdie at the last was matched by Watts. The bright spot for Clarke was claiming the Â£2,400 prize for first place as a result of Watts’ amateur status.
“I really didn’t put a foot wrong today,” said the 29 year-old runner-up from Stanley Village in Derbyshire. “I hit 18 greens and you can’t do a lot more than that. But James played very, very well so full credit to him – and I’m happy to take the money for him of course!”
Welshman Tim Dykes (Wrexham GC) held the lead after the opening round but finished in third spot three shots behind Clarke at six under, finishing his final round with three birdies down the back nine to shoot a one under par 70. James Heath and Philip Waugh (Hexham) both carded rounds of 68 to finish in a three-way tie for fourth spot with Scott Bubb (WPGC).
Craig Corrigan’s birdie-birdie finish made it seven for the day in his five under par 66, seeing him move from one over par ahead of the final round to a four under finish. James Sheffield and Miguel Cantero both recorded six birdies in rounds of 68 to join Corrigan.
Overnight leader Matthew Swales was unable to make an impression on the day, bogeying the first before a double bogey at the third to drop him to four under – with the Cumberwell Park man recording a four under round of 75 to finish at three under for the tournament. Swales shared tenth spot with Marcus Armitage and Graham Benson (Leighton Buzzard), the former recording a two under final round of 69, the latter one over for the day.
The opening event on the 2010 PGA EuroPro Tour takes place at Wensum Valley in Norfolk on April 27-29.
FINAL SCORES FROM FRILFORD HEATH – B = Blue course (par 71), R = Red course (par 73), final round on Blue course.
1 James Watts (Am) 205 -10 69 B, 71 R, 75
2 Lee Clarke 206 -9 69 R, 70 B, 67
3 Tim Dykes 209 -6 66 B, 73 R, 70
= 4 James Heath 210 -5 69 B, 73 R, 68
= 4 Philip Waugh 210 -5 74 B, 68 R, 68
= 4 Scott Bubb 210 -5 69 B, 69 R, 72
= 7 Craig Corrigan 211 -4 76 B, 69 R, 66
= 7 James Sheffield 211 -4 71 B, 72 R, 68
= 7 Miguel Cantero 211 -4 72 R, 71 B, 68
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Date Posted: 09/04/10