Three days of mixed weather and scintillating golf on Mannings Heath’s Waterfall course ended in victory for 25 year-old Chris Lloyd as he claimed the Nokia Masters Trophy and £10,000 for his third EuroPro victory of the season.
Lloyd, from The Kendleshire Golf Club, was already leading the tour’s Order of Merit Race to Amendoeira. He is now just one win away from collecting a £250,000 bonus which the Hotel Planner.com PGA EuroPro Tour offer to anyone who can win a record four tournaments in one season.
“It has just got very real”, he said afterwards. “I’m playing in five more events with a chance to win the money and I like my odds.”
Lloyd followed two opening rounds of 69 with 64 on Friday that featured nine birdies and just one dropped shot. His 14-under-par beat Guy Woodman by two shots after the latter carded a course-record 63, including nine birdies and an eagle, to earn a runners-up cheque of £6,000.
Scoring over all three days was excellent, testimony to months of preparation by course manager Giulio Vezza and his greenkeeping staff.
Play had been suspended on Wednesday after over an inch of rain flooded the course but a mopping-up operation at first light on Thursday saw the Waterfall’s immaculate condition quickly restored.
Those who teed off early on Wednesday morning certainly had the luck of the draw and North Middlesex’s Scott Fallon had the overnight lead with a six-under-par 66.
Over a third of the 156 starters had to return at 6.30am on Thursday to complete their opening rounds before going out again with only a half hour break. Sutton Coldfield’s Andrew Cheese had to play 30 holes in the day but finished with 68 and 66 to top the leaderboard on ten under.
Parkstone’s Tom Robson was two shots back going into the final round with Louis Gaughan (Bathgate) and Billy Spooner (Woodhall Spa) a further shot behind on 137 and three players, including Lloyd, on 138.
Cheese reached the turn in level par, but had been overtaken by Lloyd and Woodman and he then had a disastrous triple bogey on the 290-yard 15th. Spooner teed off on the 18th in third on ten-under par but finished with a bogey to be caught by Corhampton’s Neil Raymond on 207. A total of 43 players finished with scores below par including Heath’s Tom Hayward who posted rounds of 72, 70 and 70 to finish in joint 27th place.
EuroPro’s CEO and director of operations Dan Godding described the event as ‘by far the best one so far’ and there was praise from all quarters for the hard work by all at the club. Highlights from the event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf on Tuesday, August 15.