Matthew Cort won a nip and tuck battle with Francis McGuirk, Will Fox, David James and local hero Rory Kirwan over 6 extra holes at The Warwickshire after they all tied for first place on 4 under par.
Will Fox led at the end of the first day with an impressive 3 under par 69 over the picturesque but tight Earls course. Chasing Fox on 2 under par were John Spagnuolo, David James, Mark Davies and Rory Kirwan.
The second day was within a whisker of being abandoned as heavy rain swept across the course bringing every mopping-up device available into play. Thanks to the efforts of the “Out-Door” department play was only suspended for just over an hour.
After scoring a modest level par 72 in the first round Francis McGuirk found the key to unlock the secret of Earls course and posted an excellent 4 under 68 to set a clubhouse target of 140.
Matthew Cort was the first of the final pairings to try and spoil McGuirk’s day by finishing Birdie, Par, and Birdie, now two Clubhouse leaders at -4.
Amazingly, the leaders from Day 1, on reaching the 18th tee also were at -4.
Surely one of these “on form” players could find the necessary birdie on this long par 5 and take the title and the first-place cheque for £5000.
Rory Kirwan, Will Fox and David James all had their opportunities, playing the hole well but with their birdie attempts just failing to find the target.
Incredible, our first ever 5 man, sudden death play-off.
David James and Will Fox quietly slipped away early in the proceedings with Rory Kirwan, the local favourite playing the most consistent of golf, that is, until the forth extra hole when he found the wrong end of a sodden fairway bunker, “splashing-out” way short, he then played his approach shot, pin-high just off the green, just missing his “chip in” by millimetres the following crowd not only went quiet but also went home! Leaving McGuirk and Cort to fight it out for the £5,000 first prize in the gathering gloom of the late evening. The pair could not be split before it became too dark to continue, so for the first time in it’s 6 year history The Jamega Tour went into a third day’s play.
Re-convening at 8am on the 10th Tee Cort first to play just a slight “tug” but leaving the fairway empty for McGuirks drive straight up the middle, pole position! Cort manages move his second a credible 200+ yards leaving a mid iron to the green McGuirk pulls out the driver and again rips it up the middle 30 yards short of the green. After some indecision Cort finally settles on a 5 iron slightly left off the flag but way long, 60’, should have stuck with the 6! McGuirk, definitely the favourite, requiring a short pitch over the greenside bunker to leave a makeable putt for a probable win ....... but life’s not like that, shock horror! He’s found the bunker.
Cort although on the putting surface has to play first, a very long but flattish putt which tracks all the way to the most important 6” drop of the day, he holes it! A fantastic sixty footer. This now leaves Franny McGuirk needing to hole out from the sand, an excellent attempt, missing 4” right, at the right pace, great effort and a superb finale to what became the biggest marathon in Jamega’s history.
Matthew Cort obviously delighted to win and quite emotional still had time to compliment the consistent play of Franny McGuirk.
He now jumps into his tiny camper-van, £5000 cheque in hand, for the eight hour drive north, to compete in a Challenge Tour event, sponsored by Scottish Hydro Power.
McGuirk, James, Fox and Kirwan had the consolation of each winning £1,425 for their 2nd place finish.
It was a pleasure to be at The Warwickshire with two fine courses and excellent hospitality and we will be back again later in the year to play The Kings Course.
Footnote: Matthew Cort is tied 2nd after one round in Scotland. Good Luck.