From Richard 09/12/2014
'Ho Ho Ho and all that jazz. The long johns are out and the woolly hat is on but their is still plenty of golf to report on from the last couple of months.
The last event on the West Region circuit was the Stover Pro Am. Again a slow start with a lost ball on the third hole put me on the back foot. Four over through four is not the way to start!! I battled back but unfortunately due to trying to push too hard for birdies mistakes came my way and a round of 6 over was not what I was hoping for. It was still good for 10th place but the slow starts were becoming far too regular occurances!
Next up was the Devon Powakaddy Matchplay Championship at Yelverton Golf Club. The top 32 in the previous years order of merit played in a knockout matchplay tournament.
With some experienced and talented golfers in the tournament this was a tough one to progress in. I was pitted against Duncan Arnold from the Warren in the first round. A strong start followed by some good pressure putting put me through to the next round. I then had a tough match against my good friend Ben Martin from Exeter Golf and Country Club.
A high class match with lots of birdies swung in my favour and a good chip and putt on 17 was enough to see me move forward. In the Semi Final I was up against Darren Everett who dispatched Euro Pro tour winner Adam Frayne in the previous match so this was going to be a tough one! Luckily for me I played my best golf of the tournament and with my seventh birdie of the round saw Darren off with four holes left to play. The final was against Paul Hendriksen an ex West Region order of merit champion and one of the strongest players in the region. I felt I matched or even bettered his long game but I can honestly say I have never seen someone with a such a good short game. He had five shots for between 60 and 90 yards and each time he knocked them to within gimme range it was a joy to watch I battled on but eventually lost the match 3 and 2 and overall a good result.
Next up in the Devon 2014/2015 was the Devon P.G.A Championships at Dartmouth Golf and Country Club. This is the flagship event of the Devon winter series so an important one to perform well in. The first 18 of this gruelling 36 hole event was played in damp conditions making the already long course play even longer! I drove the ball particularily well and also pitched really well which is something I had worked really hard on after seeing Paul Hendriksens short game skills. I managed an error free one under par 71 and that was good enough for a three shot lead going into the final round. I hit the ball even better in the second round and got myself 2 under with two to play, and the nerves were jangling a bogey on 17 and bogey on 18 meant I had to wait and see if one under would be good enough. Kevin Harper came in with a fantastic round of 6 under but luckily for me he had a poor round of 6 over in the first round leaving myself the winner by a solitary shot. A fantastic feeling and great to see some of the hard work paying off. Here is a LINK to the write up.
The next event was the winter series at Okehampton a course I have played only twice previously and a very tricky golf course. It is a golf course I feel if you think your way round you can score very well. Unfortunately I didnt think well at all and really struggled! After the lord mayor's show or something like that!.
Finally for this segment was the winter series event at Fingle Glen. This was a course I hadnt played before so went into this event with no massive aspirations. I went with the strategy of playing what I could see to avoid going into trouble, and this worked well with a round of two under and a tied first place finish with Christian Vine and Jason Fullard another solid result.
Thanks for your support in 2014 and looking forward to 2015 - Merry Christmas!!!'
From Richard 07/10/2014
'Sorry for the slight delay in sending you the latest blog, I've had all my second year P.G.A exams that I've been busy revising for. Thankfully they are all passed now and I have just one more year until I am fully qualified.
My next event in the 2014 schedule was the Downes Crediton Pro-Am on the 6th of August. A round with 5 birdies was very promising but unfortunately 6 bogeys were not so promising, this put me in 7th position so not too bad and having birdies on the last 2 holes had me feeling positive going into future competitions.
Next to play was the final event in the West Region order of merit at the Players Club Bristol a course that can play a massive yardage in excess of 7,500 yards. The weather was pretty appalling on the first day with a strong possibility of it being called off. As it was we soldiered on, once again I had a good few birdies (3 this time), but a slow start putting me 4 over through 4 put pay to a low score. In the end level par for the rest of the round left me at 4 over par, not great but not disastorous. The second round however was much better, fewer mistakes married up with 2 birdies and an eagle got me a very solid round of 1 under which got me a share of 27th place. I feel I have played some of my best golf in the order of merit series this year, but unfortunately I haven't been able to put two consecutive good rounds together, therefore the results have been a tad dissapointing but something to work on for next season.
Next up was the Honiton Pro-Am, which again I'm afraid was played in pretty wet conditions with us being called in for a one hour delay due to flooded greens. Again 3 birdies in the round was promising but 4 bogeys once again was a little dissappointing. The real lowlight though was on the fourth hole, where my amateur partner managed to hit me with his second shot; luckily I managed to fend it off with my arm as it was heading for my head!! This shook me up slightly but luckily just a bruise was all I had to show for it, 11th position with a round of one over again was reasonable but I was hoping for better on a course I enjoy.
Well thats it for now, I have got some more events to update you on but I will do that in a couple of weeks time.'
From Richard 31/07/2014
Richard recently completed an 18 hole matchplay at Dainton Park against Steve Buzza who is a pro golfer from exeter, the round was recorded and edited and the resulats are below......
From Richard 24/07/2014
'The next event on the schedule was the Exeter Ladies Pro-Am which is always a fun event played with a team of lady amateurs accompanied by a professional. I took a team from Dainton and we enjoyed a cracking day, with the ladies picking up 7th place in the team competition and myself a top 15 finish with two double bogeys ruining a pretty tidy card.
Next up came my first West Region order of merit event of this year at Oake Manor. A two round tournament with a cut after one round with the top 40 out of 110 making it through to the second round. Unfortunately the double bogey monster struck again spoiling another pretty tidy round with 1 birdie 1 bogey and 14 pars, but two double bogeys due to poor mental errors ended the chances of qualifying a disapointing result!
I didn't have to wait long for the next event; the following week I had the final event of the Assistants Sprint series at Woodbury Park. In 15th place in the order of merit I was hoping for a strong finish to push me into the top ten, and thats exactly what happened - birdies on 2,3,4,5 and 9 and no bogeys got me to 5 under after 9 and two bogeys and one birdie on the back nine got me to the clubhouse at 4 under. After a long wait the last players came in at three under meaning I had won. My first win on the West Region circuit. This also catapulted me up the order of merit table and finished in 4th position. A great result.
Me at Woodbury GC
Next up was the final of the Powerade Assistants Championship a national event with 12 regional qualifiers held earlier in the year, a very solid round at Exeter got me into the final but unfortunately I had a poor couple of days with the driver and didnt contend. I did however have a lovely piece printed in the PGA magazine which goes out nationally and on the P.G.A website so it wasn't all doom and gloom. Link to the magazine article HERE
Dudsbury was the next West Region order of merit event, a course I had good success with last year shooting a four under par I went into the event with high hopes. Unfortunately this proved not to be the case a battling round of two over in the first round was not too bad, but an 81 in the second round was very poor again with to many high numbers 2 double bogeys and a triple bogey.
A busy run of Pro Am's came next with Carlyon Bay,Okehampton and Trethorne on consecutive days. Again my 'A' game wasn't with me but I managed a top 10 finish at Carlyon Bay, and my team came 4th in a top 15 finish at Okehampton and a pretty disappointing 8 over par at Trethorne, although it was a very enjoyable day playing with the Munchkins team, more enjoyable was seeing Martin Smith attempt some kind of Spanish salsa dance after holing a putt for a two on one of the par threes!!!!
Finishing this blog was the third West Region order of merit event at Cumberwell Park. Another course I have played well in the past and also a course designed by the same architect as Dainton Park. A very solid round in the first round was ruined by a double bogey finish on the last two holes, after 30 minutes of quiet time I realised that I had played 16 very good holes so took that as a positive feeling for the second round, it worked and a round of 5 under par leapfrogged me from 55th place right up to tied 14th, and the second round was the joint lowest of the tournament which I was chuffed at bearing in mind there were 14 current or ex european tour players, including Phillip Price who beat Phil Mickelson in the Ryder Cup singles at the Belfry. I have one more order of merit event to play in and then several local Pro Ams so I will keep you all up to date with how those go until then - Happy Golfing'.
From Richard 05/05/2014
'In my first event for Firewatch in February in blustery conditions at East Devon Golf Club I finished in second place with a level par round. My golf game was not as sharp as i would have liked, but I was really pleased with my shortgame and course management which is something I have worked hard at through the Winter.
My next event was at the beginning of March in a Devon winter medal at Thurlestone Golf Club, a club I have fond memories of, having been a member at neighbouring Bigbury for 21 years as an amateur. In glorious sunshine I played some of the best and most consistent golf I have ever played, and finished with a career best 6 under par score; this was leading until the very last group of the day came in and Barry Austin (a player that has made the cut in three out of three European tour starts!), came in with a fabulous 8 under par score. My emotions were mixed as I was delighted with my golf and my score but a little part of me was disappointed I didnt get the win.
The Devon Winter series finished the first week in March and I finished in fourth position in the order of merit, which I was very happy about as I finished above players who have played on the European Tour and other West Region Champions. At the prize giving I was also given the Peter Ward Trophy for the most improved assistant, I was chuffed to bits to receive this, my first trophy of the year.
April saw the start of the PGA in England and Wales schedule begin, with the Assistants Sprint Series a four event order of merit event for assistants and trainees. The first of which was at Weston Super Mare. In winds making the golf course virtually unplayable at times I battled around in three over par for a share of 10th place, which would of have been worse if it wasn't for 4 birdies on the last nine holes.
The second Assistants Sprint event was at the Players Club in Bristol. Unfortunately this was my poorest event for some time, scoring a disappointing 8 over par which may have knocked me out of contention for the order of merit but strong finishes in the last two events may make amends.
The third event of the Sprint Series was held at Cumberwell Park, a course I played last year so I felt a lot more confident going into this event and this was to prove useful. I played very solidly for a level par round and a share of 6th position this has got me back in the race!
And that brings me up to date with my events so far this year, keep popping back for regular updates.'