Essex boys Jason Levermore and Andrew Pestell picked up their second Golfbreaks.com PGA Fourball Championship – becoming the first double winners in the tournament’s history.
The wise-cracking duo, victors in 2008, claimed the title in style as they produced a best-of-the-week 11-under-par 62 to finish on 23-under and win the BMW-supported event by one at Forest Pines, Lincolnshire.
Levermore (Channels) and Pestell (Chelmsford) admitted they thought they were playing for second having begun the final round five-shots behind the leaders – however, their audacious game plan came good as they scooped the title and the £5,000 winners’ cheque.
A stunning round of nine birdies – including two in the last two holes from Pestell, plus the bonus of an eagle on the third, saw them come through the pack and deny Kent neighbours and tournament debutants Benn Barham and Mark Trow (both Kings Hill).
Levermore, who has had a life-changing 2013 having taken on the role of Head Professional at Channels as well as becoming a father, admitted victory capped a memorable year.
“It feels great to win a second time – saves us qualifying next year!” he said.
“The last time we won we played the following year and then failed to qualify the following two. If we win again, maybe we’ll get a lifetime entry!
“This has been a really busy year for me with a new job, a little kid and playing the regions, which wasn’t in the plans, so this just tops the year off.”
Levermore, who eagled the third from 120-yards after being forced to chipping out of a fairway bunker, admitted he thought the duo were playing for second until seeing that none of the other title challengers were grasping the nettle.
“I didn’t think going into today we’d have much chance of winning,” he said.
“I thought if we could get a good round going we could finish second. The leaders didn’t get off to any start and then we were five-under going through nine and could see no-one had pushed on.
“That was when we thought we had a chance with a good back nine. We wanted to post a score and give the guys behind something to beat, which we did.
“The first couple of days we didn’t get anything flowing, but today it flowed lovely.”
Pestell, who sunk crucial putts over the final three holes, revealed that he’d been forced to swap putters after a disappointing opening day when the pair only managed a four-under-par 69.
“The first day we just putted terrible,” he said. “I changed putter and that seemed to come to life which was nice.
“This morning we talked about what we needed to do. The game plan was to get to five-under through nine and then hopefully before the other boys got round, get another one at 10 and get on the leaderboard. That was the idea and it was going to be hard as we haven’t played the front nine well this week, including one par five that we keep making five on.
“But we did that and then pushed on. Those final few holes I was feeling a bit drained but stuck in there. I had a shaky putt on 16 for par, knowing it was a big one. I had a lovely up and down on 17 from the left trap and at 18 I knew the putt had to go in. No ifs and buts.
“To win again is brilliant considering we struggled a few years to even qualify.”
But the duo had to wait for confirmation of their win, with the two pairs in the group behind both having chances to force a play-off with a birdie on the last.
Barham and Trow, both on the green in two, parred the hole to card an eight-under-par 65, their best score of the week, to finish as runners-up in 22-under-par on the back of successive 66s.
Former champions Martyn Thompson (Parkstone) and Michael Watson (Wessex Golf Centre) were also in the hunt. But the weight fell on Thompson after Watson was forced to pick up after a loose tee shot. Thompson’s approach missed the green leaving a testing chip from off the green for his birdie. It fell short and he ultimately bogeyed the last as the pair signed for a third successive seven-under-par 66.
It left them in a share of third place with overnight leaders Jon Bevan (Rhos-on-Sea) and Mark Sheppard (Darland) who closed with a four-under-par 69 for a 21-under total.
Runners-up Barham and Trow admitted to being disappointed at missing out on the title, but on picking up their cheque for £3,250, vowed to build on their first showing.
“We played solid all week and shot our best score today so we can’t be too disappointed,” said Barham.
“We shot seven-under, seven-under, eight-under and have been pipped by a team that shot 11-under so well done to them. We left a few out there but I am sure every team left a few out there. It’s just a bit disappointing not to win as we’re both competitive and we’re both winners.
“But it was a great experience. It’s a really good golf course and we both really enjoyed it and I am sure we’ll be back next year to go one better.”
Trow added: “I haven’t played a lot of competitive golf for quite a while so it’s good to be back in a big tournament with a good partner that helps you out. It was also good to see your name on the leaderboards again.
“It was a shame to finish one short but as Benn said to shoot eight-under, our best of the week, I don’t think we can be disheartened by what we scored. We have played consistently all week, putted nicely but the last couple of holes in each round we didn’t quite finish what we started.”
GOLFBREAKS.COM PGA FOURBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Club, 2 – 4 October 2013
Pos. Score Names
1 196 (-23) Jason Levermore (Channels) &
Andrew Pestell (Chelmsford)
2 197 (-22) Mark Trow (Kings Hill) &
Benn Barham (Kings Hill)
3=198 (-21) Mark Sheppard (Darland Golf) &
Jon Bevan (Rhos on Sea)
Michael Watson (Wessex) & Martyn Thompson
5 199 (-20) Adrian Harris (Broadstone) &
Neil Rowlands (Broadstone)
6 200 (-19) Matthew Cort (Rothley Park)
& Craig Shave (Whetstone)
7= 201 (-18) Steve Carter (Walmley) &
John Bandurak (Great Barr)
Aran Wainwright (Mid Yorkshire) & Adrian Ambler
James Whatley (Morley Hayes) & Ian Walley
10 202 (-17) Ben Clayton & Hindhead)
& Clifford Gough (West Hill)