The PokerMillion.Com Trophy was won by local Derbyshire man Mark Smith (Erewash Valley) after an exciting final day of play went down to the very last hole.
The two leaders, Mark Smith and Gareth Davies (Abbeydale) went into the third and final round of the 54 hole tournament with a three shot lead. Both started brilliantly, making birdies and pulling six shots clear of the field by the finish of the front nine.
Coming down the stretch, former Ireland Walker Cup player Paddy Gribben piled up the birdies in dreadfully wet weather conditions and finished with a superb 68 (three under par) and leader in the clubhouse for the tournament with a four under par total.
Meanwhile, out on the golf course, brilliant young prospect Kieran Staunton played a sensational round to finish with a magnificent four under par 67 on the final day. This meant that 23 year old Kieran, who only turned professional in April this year, recorded the best round of the day, and the second best individual round of the entire tournament to leave him three under par for the tournament.
This moved Kieran into joint fourth position with Robert Rock and Ian Ridgway, also on 3 under total. Robert had arrived at Marriott Breadsall Priory fresh from finishing in 20th place in the Benson and Hedges at the Belfry the week before.
With all of these young rising stars finishing strongly the pressure was building on the long time two leaders who were finding a few problems on the back nine as the weather worsened. Knowing they were looking like sharing out the first and second place prize-money of £15,000, the pressure was clearly on.
They were locked together until the 18th tee in the final round. This last hole is usually a par five for the members, but was reduced to a par four by the Tour to make it an even tougher finish. Sadly for Gareth he found the greenside sand and only managed a bogey five, whilst Mark held his nerve well and made a superb par four.
Gareth Davies commented later, “Although the weather wasn’t too good I really enjoyed it. I knew we were quite far out in front and it felt almost like Matchplay, where every hole was crucial”
Mark added this title to the one which he won at the famous Turnberry Golf Course two years ago on this Tour. He said, “Coming down the last I thought I’d have to birdie it but luckily four was enough. I was incredibly nervous on the final putt – you don’t get many chances to hole a five footer for ten thousand pounds!”
For full results, visit the PokerMillion.Com Trophy under the Tournaments section.