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Golf - West Region: Eagle-eyed Watson lands order of merit victory
DUDSBURY’S penultimate hole provided delight for winner Michael Watson and despair for runner-up Richard Dinsdale – the pair who shared the drama that decided the inaugural Dudsbury Masters in brilliant Bourne-mouth sunshine.
Former Bournemouth Alliance captain Watson from Wessex Golf Centre in Weymouth drove be-neath a tree on the 550-yard 17th. Yet he managed to make a superb recovery when he cut a low shot to within 15 feet of the hole and sank the uphill putt for an eagle.
Dinsdale, meanwhile, carved his second shot into knee-high rough beside the green. Miraculously he managed to find the green but just failed with a birdie putt.
The duo, who started the day sharing the 18-hole lead on five-under-par, were finally separated by two shots. But Dinsdale fought back and birdied the last from four feet leaving Watson to sink an 18-inch par putt to win by one shot.
Parc Golf Academy’s Dinsdale said: “It was a tough battle all day although I was three ahead through 10. But we were level again after I three-putted both the 11th and 12th and he made birdie at 11. Then we traded pars until the pivotal 17th.
“I was after revenge because he beat me in the old BMW event here 19 years ago but it wasn’t to happen for me this time.”
Watson followed his 66 with a two-under 69, including two birdies and two bogeys as the second day scoring was generally higher in the event supported by Ringwood Brewery.
He said: “There were difficult pin positions so you needed to be more cautious and I didn’t stray too far off the fairway.
“The 17th was vital. Our two shots were Seve-like to say the least. Rich played an unbelievable shot from the hay.”
Watson, 44, is determined to win a place in the season-ending Play-Offs in Turkey again and this is the time of year he usually runs into top form.
“I would sacrifice a few pro-am wins for good results in the Order of Merit,” he said. “My game is not as sharp as it used to be as I don’t have the time to practice as I am busy at the range. But I like playing and it’s great to continue to be in contention.”
He has displaced David Dixon (Enmore Park), who was absent while playing in final qualifying for The Open, at the head of the OOM. The best five results from six are registered.
The consistent Dinsdale has climbed to third with Richard O’Hanlon (St Kew) and Cennydd Mills (Pyle & Kenfig) in joint fourth place.
Last year’s OOM winner Liam Bond (Marriott St Pierre) carded 68 – the day’s low round, with five birdies to finish three shots off the pace to claim third. James Ruth (China Fleet), Ross Langdon (South Cerney) and Adam Frayne (Yelverton) were a further shot back on 139 in fourth.
Ross Whitelock (St Mellion) also shot 68 to climb to seventh alongside O’Hanlon, Mills, Giuseppe Licata (Bristol GC) and Paul Jones (Canford Magna). Lee Thompson (Dudsbury) was the only other player to finish under par on 141 after 72 and 69.