Kent swept to an impressive six shot victory in the PGA of England & Wales Inter-County Championship showpiece at The Belfry.
Peter Appleyard, Scott Stevens and Thomas Muchmore were the dominant force from start to finish in the £10,000 event, leading on day one with a -4 team score before running out winners on -9.
Ridge professional Stevens admitted: “It’s a great event and we are proud to have won it. We are glad to be taking the trophy back to our region. We did the ground work on the first day. Conditions were difficult. So a four under par team score was pleasing. Even with an advantage going into day two, you know there are plenty of good players out there so the aim was to try and shoot around par.”
Appleyard produced the lowest round on day one, firing a 68 over the PGA National Course on Tuesday and going one better 24 hours later. But Adam Keogh led the Lincolnshire fight back on Wednesday with a five under 66, the best round of day two, to go with his opening 71.
Daniel Greenwood fired successive one over 72s while Scott Emery fired 75, 72. While the quick greens were causing many of the other pros difficulties, the Sittingbourne pro Appleyard revealed changing the way he gripped his putter transformed his round.
He said: “I struggled to get the pace early on. After five holes I changed to left hand low on the putter and that seemed to make all the difference.”
Appleyard opened with a birdie, but it wasn’t until the ninth, when he rolled in a par saver, that his round burst into life. He said: “Putting left low is something I practise. I feel comfortable swinging that way. Glad I made the change. Last 13 holes, my putting was much better. From the ninth I managed to birdie four out of five holes.”
The only note of concern was for Muchmore who walked off the 18th on Wednesday, after his second sub-par round, fearing he could be the first player hit with a fine – despite winning a major national event.
“I forgot my suit,” he revealed. “I had to have it sent from home by UPS. Paying for delivery seemed a better option than paying a fine.”
But the team’s outfit issues didn’t end there. A memory lapse in the regional office meant the trio could not perform in team colours. So while Hertfordshire were looking good in a strip provided by Ryder Cup vice-captain Ian Poulter, Kent had to make do with their normal shirts. Stevens joked: “It meant a quick trip to the pro’s shop for an outfit.”
Lincolnshire moved into second place with a three under par score over two days but the gap to third placed Yorkshire was 15 shots.
Image of Peter Appleyard, Scott Stevens and Tom Muchmore used courtesy of Tony Marshall at Getty Images.