Webb master has designs on title

MATHEW Webb had tournament officials scrambling for the record books at one point after a birdie and eagle spree during the second round of the Galvin Green PGA Assistants’ Championship at Little Aston.

The Northumberland ace was flying at eight under par through 16 holes as he looked set to carve out an unassailable lead in the £32,000 event.

But after finding water on the 17th with a flier and snap-hooking his drive off the last, the Bedlingtonshire assistant eventually signed for a six under par 66 leaving host pro Brian Rimmer’s record 63 intact.

Webb, however, remains very much in pole position at nine under for the 54 hole tournament with a three shot advantage over Three River’s James Webber and Spalding’s Adam Keogh who also carded a 66 to thrust himself into contention.

“It was a bit of a disappointing finish given how I’d played,” admitted Webb. “I didn’t even see it coming from anywhere as I hadn’t a bad tee shot all day.

“I don’t know if it was a lack of concentration but on the 18th I snap-hooked a driver and didn’t even bother looking for it because it was that far wide but the other was down the middle and I got up and down for a five. It was damage limitation on both of them really.

“I feel a bit hard done by but I played well. I think the last two days I’ve hit the ball the best I ever have.”

While a feature of the opening round on the Harry Vardon-designed gem has been plenty of scoring opportunities, equally there are card-wrecking dangers too and Webb is grateful for the three stroke cushion.

“I think it is really going to be beneficial because there are a few holes where you can play a little more defensive on. I haven’t been overly aggressive the last few days anyway, but there are a few holes where you can say you’ve got a shot in the bag.”

Webb will go out last with Webber who made a lightning start with three birdies in his opening four holes. Like Webb though he came a cropper at 17 but this time entirely self-inflected.

“I hit a terrible shot at 17 which led to trouble,” he explained. “I had a chip out sideways or a risky shot to the green. I took on the risky option which was probably wrong and hit it in the water and made double.”

Webber’s frustration at the aberration was eased by a birdie at the last and hopes his driver and wedge play will serve him well again in the final round.

“If you hit iron off the tee to play safe you’re probably going in with too much club and losing too much on the field. Twenty per cent are going to hit it driver and have a wedge in and you’ve got to try and be in that 20 per cent.

“You’ve just got to try and beat what’s in front of you which is the golf course, if I can get rid of a few of my iffy shots and wedge it as I have, there are so many chances out there.”

Keogh, in his third year of training, saw a putt lip out on the last for a 65 but is delighted to have a final tilt at winning the elusive title.

“Ultimately, it’s my last chance so I’ve got to give it a good go,” he said.

“Last year the leaders got away so I didn’t really feel in contention but hopefully tomorrow I can have a good go.

“Obviously Matt has a three shot head start and he is favourite but you can only do what you can do so we’ll see.”


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