SIMON LILLY led from start to finish to win the Golf Weekly International Open at the Heydon Grange Golf Club in Cambridgeshire.
Lilly claimed the winner’s £10,000 cheque after rounds of 64, 67 and 69 to finish with a 16-under-par score of 200, three ahead of his closest rivals.
For the 27 year-old Wellingborough golfer, the win represents a second major success as a pro following on from victory in the PGA EuroPro Tour event at Rye Hill in 2002.
Lilly’s first round of 64 proved to be a course record, and although that feat was also achieved by Andrew George (Ely City) during the second day, it was enough to open up a lead which he held his nerve to maintain.
And a delighted Lilly revealed afterwards that felt he was in the form of his life: “That’s the best I’ve ever played, he said. “I was so pleased with my game and I’m delighted to have won this tournament – it will really set me up for the rest of the season.”
Former European Tour winner Russell Claydon finished in a tie for second place with Graeme Clark (Doncaster) as both players put in three consistent rounds to collect £3,750 each.
Indeed, with weather conditions good, low scoring was the order of the tournament throughout and of the 57 players that made the cut, which had been set at three-under-par, most were still in with a chance of making the leaderboard on the final day.
Lilly’s opening day course record featured eight birdies – four on the front nine and four on the back nine – and left him one shot clear of Morpeth’s David Clark.
Of the four players a further shot behind, Chris Sands’ score caught the eye as he fortunately chipped in for an eagle on the first – having had to send his caddy back to his car for his forgotten putter!
Barry Hume was the big mover on day two, carding a 66 to move in to second place, two shots behind Lilly on 11-under-par.
And Hume stayed in form during the final round to finish on 12-under-par along with Sands, Michael Welch and John Cockroft, whose final round of 66 fired him in to the money.
The par three 18th hole proved crucial in determining the final placings as Hume and Claydon both bogeyed whilst Lilly’s tee shot took him to with 15 feet of the pin and he was allowed the luxury of two-putting without pressure to close out the win.
In addition to the standard prize fund of £40,000, a number of additional prizes were on offer for various feats.
Lilly topped up his prize money with a holiday for two on the Costa Del Sol courtesy of Santa Maria Golf Suites for the lowest round of the tournament having achieved his 64 a day before George managed the same score.
Lee Slattery, already a tournament winner on the PGA EuroPro Tour this season, was presented with a digital camera by Coors Brewery for carding the most birdies and eagles and Sean Whiffin took home six crates of Coors for winning the ‘nearest the pin’ competition on the last hole.
|2=||203||-13||Graeme Clark||Special Steel Group/ Doncaster||68||68||67||£3,750|
|Russell Claydon||Gog M Gog||69||66||68||£3,750|
|Michael Welch||Hawkstone Park||67||68||69||£1,393|
|Barry Hume||Haggs Castle||67||66||71||£1,393|
|Zane Scotland||Woodcote Park||69||66||70||£900|
CLICK [url=http://www.pga-tic.com/tic/tmresult.cgi?tourn=HEYG~season=2004~result=PF~]HERE[/url] FOR THE FULL SCORES