Dale Whitnell returned to the winner’s circle after a fairly lengthy absence, taking The Park Wood Classic with two classy rounds of 4 under par 68 to win by 5 shots.
From wall to wall sunshine and record high temperatures in the recent weeks we went to torrential rain which drenched the course during the pro-am, which made for a difficult opening day but thanks to the efforts of head green keeper Jack Sims and his team, play commenced at 11am.
The Eleven O’clock shotgun start was the only option to enable a completion of the first days play and Dale Whitnell posted the low round of the day with a fine 4 under par 68 which could have been a whole lot better but for his bogey, double bogey finish.
Whitnell’s poor finish gave hope to the chasing pack with Dan Smith on 3 under, one ahead of Sam Buss and Michael Farrier-Twist.
Into the second day the winner could emerge from any of the leading groups and it would be an interesting final 18 holes to see who would emerge victorious.
However, it really did turn out to be a walk in the park for Whitnell, with no-one really challenging him throughout the afternoon, although the young 16-year-old Korean, Hee Min Chang came a gallant second with rounds of 71 and 70, for a total of three under par.
This second place finish also meant that Chang also won the third Order of Merit, which gives him a free season on the Portugal Pro Golf Tour for 2018/2019.
A highlight of the day for Ben Isaac, was a Hole-in-One on the eighth that contributed to his second round of one under par
Both Alex Albut and James Ruebotham scored excellent, best of the day, 5 under par 67’s, although they were each undone by their untidy first rounds of 76 and 75 respectively.
No praise is high enough for the green staff at Park Wood, who after dealing with a very long spell of hot, dry sunny weather they were faced with torrential downpours on the pro-am day and the first day of the tournament but with great resolve and dedication they still managed to make the course playable.
Throughout this difficult time, the clubhouse staff maintained a high level of service and all coped brilliantly with any situation that arose because of the unfortunate weather.
We are pleased that the more experienced professionals choose to play the tour whenever possible and although they seem to be prolific winners at times, it does give the younger players a golden opportunity to learn from these guys and also get an insight into the level of competition they will have to face, if they graduate to the bigger tours.