Lilly storms to Tour Championship victory

Lilly storms to Tour Championship victory

October 29th, 2009

Simon Lilly carded a fantastic final round of 65 to win the Tour Championship on the PGA EuroPro Tour at De Vere Slaley Hall by seven shots at eight under par – securing a 2010 Challenge Tour card in the process.

Lilly (Wellingborough) played with the duo he shared the overnight lead with – Chris Hanson (Woodsome Hall) and Paul Doherty (Vale Hotel) – but as they struggled to build on the platform they had set, Lilly stormed out of the blocks with four birdies in the first six holes to seize the initiative.

He then matched that birdie salvo on the back nine by picking up a shot at the tenth then three straight birdies from the 13th moved him to nine under for the tournament before a minor blemish in the shape of a bogey at the last saw him finish at eight under par, seven shots ahead of Steve Surry.

“Obviously with three of us tied for the lead I had winning in my mind and I thought that if I shot somewhere in the 60s I would be hard to beat, but to do that today was just unreal,” said Lilly, who moves into fifth on the final Order of Merit standings with the £15,000 winner’s cheque to take the final Challenge Tour card.

“I always like being in contention and I was really looking forward to getting out there,” said the 32 year-old, who won the Tour Championship and Order of Merit on the 2004 EuroPro Tour. “I was happy with my game all week, really liked the layout of the course and there wasn’t a tee-shot I hit that I didn’t like.”

Hanson’s bid for the title was all over after dropping four shots in his first four holes, eventually finishing eight over for the day and in a tie for 18th spot, while Doherty went round in 75 to finish two over for the tournament and in a three-way tie for sixth with Colin Roope (wstore.co.uk) and Paul Maddy (Gog Magog), who shot a three under par 69 in his final round.

The respective slips from Hanson and Doherty opened the door for Surry (Cumberwell Park) to move through the field to take second spot with a two under par final round. Following rounds of 74 and 71, Surry made his move on the front nine with three birdies and just one bogey – consolidating his position with a level par back nine.

Brian McElhinney (Team Ireland) carded a final round of 69 to finish level for the tournament and move into a tie for third spot with Steven Parry (Bolton), with Matthew Ford’s (Marriot Tudor Park) four under par 68 enough to see him claim fifth place at one over par – one stroke clear of Paul Maddy in sixth.

Scott Jamieson secured the Order of Merit title as the top three on the money list prior to the event remained the same, with Tom Haylock (Ground Construction Ltd) finishing second and Daniel Brooks (Mill Hill) taking third spot. The performances of Surry and Lilly saw them claim fourth and fifth spots respectively to form the quintet achieving their Challenge Tour cards for 2010 through the EuroPro Tour. The top 15 on the money list will travel to Morocco in December to take part in the Samanah Masters 2009 Satellite Tours Grand Finale at the Samanah Country Club in Marrakesh.

Date Posted: 29/10/09, 4.45pm

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