Paul Hendriksen claimed a one stroke victory in the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship at Burnham & Berrow. The Dinnaton PGA pro survived another battering on the Somerset links to secure the £78,000 title, and a place in the Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team to face America in September, after edging out Gareth Wright and Cameron Clark in a rollercoaster final day at the Somerset links.
Hendriksen did it the hard way after negotiating a treacherous chip over a bunker at the last to card a decisive bogey for a one over par 72 and 288 total for the 72-hole tournament. It proved enough to put him just ahead of playing partner West Linton pro Wright and Moor Hall’s Clark who both flirted with the top of an ever-changing leaderboard as perfect morning conditions gave way in the afternoon to 25 to 30mph gusts.
Hendriksen said, “I didn’t really know what was going on out there – I don’t normally play that well in bad weather. The wind came in from the sixth for us and it changed from a five mph to a 30mph wind. I was doing really well up until then, I was a couple under. From there on in I just somehow managed to hang on in the back nine and played some really good golf.
“I didn’t look at the leaderboard until the 18th and I had the fiddliest of shots over a bunker, downwind off an awful lie. I had to have a look to see what the situation was, because obviously my first aim this week was to get into the PGA Cup team. If anything that was priority so had to have a look and saw I had a two shot lead and just played for a bogey. I played really good chip and still couldn’t get it on the green but somehow got it to three feet and held it together. It has just been a massive test, more mental than anything and I don’t think I’ve made a double bogey this week and I don’t think many will have done that this week.”
Hendriksen picked up the £10,000 first prize plus the use of a Peugeot 308GT for a year in addition to qualifying for the end of season PGA Play-Offs in Turkey. But his biggest thrill was making Jon Bevan’s PGA Cup team at CordeValle Golf Club in California.
Joining Hendriksen in the team were Wright and Clark plus Alex Wrigley (Hartlepool), Michael Watson (Wessex Golf Centre) and Lee Clarke (Beeston Fields) who came through a four man play off with Snainton’s Alex Belt the unlucky man to miss out. Already in the GB&I team are Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin), Jason Levermore (Channels) and David Dixon (Enmore Park) who qualified via the PGA Play-Offs last December. The team will be completed with a captain’s pick to be announced in the next two weeks.