Tom Haylock has moved into second spot in the 2009 PGA EuroPro Tour Order of Merit after securing his second title of the year in the Formby Hall Classic at Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa in Liverpool.
Haylock (Ground Construction Ltd, pictured) began the day five shots off the lead at one under par but set about climbing the Leaderboard with seven birdies in his final round – five in six holes from the ninth – and clinched the title by one stroke from James Freeman at five under despite a double bogey at 17.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it at the start of the day,” said Haylock, who climbs from tenth in the Order of Merit to sit one place behind money list leader Scott Jamieson. “I knew it was going to be windy throughout but I can’t say I was looking for anything other than one or two under and top ten really.”
The Hertfordshire man was one under for the day after the eighth hole when his remarkable birdie run began, although his six at the par-four 17th almost prevented him from adding this title to his first of the year claimed at Stoke by Nayland at the beginning of July.
“I just started holing putts at the start of the back nine,” said the 22 year-old. “I looked at the scoreboard at 15 and knew I was on top and if I could pick one more up in the last few holes I’d be in great shape. Then came the double bogey at 17 and the last is a tough hole too so I thought ‘here we go’, but thankfully in the end it was enough.”
With the end of the Tour drawing closer, the £10,000 first prize at Formby Hall was much coveted in the chase for a top five spot and a Challenge Tour card, something that the champion is very aware of.
“I’m in a great position of course but there’s still work to be done. The Tour Championship is worth more that one event to whoever wins, but a top five place is in my hands now,” said Haylock, a 33/1 shot for the tournament with official bookmakers Sky Bet.
Freeman (Worksop) carded a three under round of 69 to take second spot after opening rounds of 73 and 70, but ultimately he will regret a bogey at the last which prevented a play-off with Haylock – and he wasn’t the only player who came close to winning on a topsy-turvy final day.
Jack Doherty (North Gailes) returns home to Scotland regretting the last four holes of his round, where two double bogeys and a bogey undid his earlier good work. Doherty roared out of the traps with five birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes to move to seven under for the tournament, and was eight under after another birdie at 14. But those five dropped shots from that point saw him card 70 and meant he had ended in a four-way tie for third, and drops one place to fourth in the money list.
Doherty’s burst put overnight leader Tim Dykes (Wrexham GC) under real pressure when he went out in the last pairing with Elliot Saltman (Aegon) – Dykes was six under going into the final round with Saltman one stroke behind him, but both men endured frustrating days. Dykes was level at the turn before picking up a birdie at the tenth but a double bogey on the next hole followed by bogeys at 13, 15 and 16 ended his chances of victory, the Welshman carding a final round 75 to finish three under.
Ricky Lee (Tyneside GC) is another man whose strong claims for victory were ruined by the tough final holes, eventually joining Dykes and Doherty in third place despite moving into a commanding position through the front nine. Lee went through the turn at five under for the day – seven under for the tournament – but failed to register another birdie and bogeyed the 12th hole before a miserable run of three bogeys in the last three holes left him with a final round of 71. South African Michiel Bothma also returned a 71 to end on three under for the tournament.
Saltman was the 2/1 favourite overnight with Sky Bet despite being one stroke behind, but he gave himself too much to do after starting with bogeys on the first two holes. The Scotsman moved to one under after the tenth but matched Dykes’ double bogey at 11 and followed that with a bogey at 12 and another double at 15 to card a final round of 75 after setting the course record with a opening round of 65 – finishing two under for the tournament and dropping one place to fifth on the Order of Merit.
Paul Dwyer (Clitheroe) began the day at two over par, but a fine round of 68 saw him join Saltman at two under along with Neil Walker (Rotherham GC), Mark Kerr (Golf Fit Ltd/Bathgate GC) and Scott Henry (Cardross GC).
The PGA EuroPro Tour moves to Five Lakes Hotel, Golf, Country Club & Spa for the Brooks Brothers 2009 Classic in Essex, beginning Wednesday August 26.
Date Posted: 21/08/09, 6.30pm