Pyman and Whiteley on song at Carden Park

Whiteley & Pyman

ON SONG: Oliver Whiteley and  Iain Pyman  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

TOUR veteran Iain Pyman has a bagful of golfing memories and chalked up another with Oliver Whiteley as they dovetailed to near perfection to fire an opening round 62 in the PGA Fourball Championship at Carden Park.

The duo’s ten under par total in the SkyCaddie and BMW supported 54-hole tournament matched that of Mathew Webb and Alex Belt who had posted the clubhouse target with a rousing display of their own.

Pyman (Waterfront Golf Ltd) and Whiteley (Bramall Park), who tied third last year, set out with the intention of having fun at the Cheshire resort and the latter enjoyed a hot streak with the putter which yielded him six birdies and an eagle.

Another highlight was a 270-yard approach to set up an eagle on 13 and when his accuracy deserted him, Whiteley was on hand to plug the gaps.

“We gelled really well,” said Pyman. “There were a couple of bad tee shots I hit where I was completely out of the hole and Oli steps in with par and birdies and I holed quite a lot of putts. I enjoyed it and had fun.”

Whiteley admitted a lower key approach had benefited the pair.

“When you’re used to playing a lot, you always want to win and put expectation on yourself and I said to Iain let’s just try and enjoy it. The expectation level has to go down for us to enjoy it a bit and we dovetailed well.”

Pyman is now getting his teeth into a coaching career but it was wisdom teeth trouble that was the source of one happy memory when he played alongside Arnold Palmer in the 1994 Masters, courtesy of winning the British Amateur Championship.

“I was having a terrible time with my wisdom teeth when I was there,” recalled Pyman.

“We were walking down 17, and I just wanted to get in off the course, and I’d clipped Eisenhower’s Tree.

“I thought to myself in all the years I’ve watched this, no-one has clipped that tree.

“Arnie comes up to me, puts his arm around me and said ‘back in the 1960s I hit this tree’ and I thought ‘that’s okay’, it’s not just me then’. But then he said ‘and I went on to win’ and I’m thinking ‘I’m going to shoot 80! But he was a really nice guy and those are memories you cherish for ever.”

Hoping to clip Pyman’s wings in this event are joint leaders Webb (Bedlingtonshire) and Alex Belt (Snainton Golf Centre). Webb is still on a high after winning the PGA Assistants’ Championship at Little Aston two weeks ago.

“I’m still over the moon with that, just to have gone out and shot good scores – you think ‘I can do it’ so I’ve just got to keep doing it,” said Webb.

Meanwhile Belt thinks their relaxed attitude helps bring out the best in their golf.

“It’s a solid partnership, if he messes up I feel quite content I’m not bothered about letting him down because we don’t have that mind-set which can hamper a few if you’re not careful in this format particularly,” said Belt.

Two strokes back, is the pairing of Mark Hillson (Kilconquhar Castle) and James McGhee (Whitehill House) who share third with Daniel Wilkes (Garforth) and Paul O’Donnell (Cookridge Hall).

McGhee notched up a career first – three eagles in a round including two on par fours.

“I don’t know what the difference is with other events, we’re trying to figure out the fact that I’ve never made two eagles in a round, never mind three,” he said.



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