PGA West Region: Graham's back in the winning groove

WEYMOUTH WINNER: Ferndown Forest's Graham Howell

WEYMOUTH WINNER: Ferndown Forest's Graham Howell

First published in Golf by

DORSET’S Graham Howell won his first pro-am for three years at Weymouth, one of his favourite courses and where he has played well in the past.

“The first time I played I shot 63 to set the course record,” he said.

“I’ve won two or three times since. I recovered from my usual shaky start but the back nine was where I really made things happen.

“I knew the very strong wind would allow me a few birdie opportunities on the back nine and I managed to make four at the 10th, 13th, 14th and par five 16th playing 598 yards. I hit a five-wood second shot through the green to the fringe but got up and down. My ten foot putt on the last proved to be the winning blow – but I had no idea at the time.”

The 43-year-old Ferndown Forest club professional, who won at Cirencester and also the Bournemouth Festival in 2011, added after his three-under round of 67,: “I am now back to playing as well as I know I can.”

He displaced clubhouse leaders Giuseppe Licata (Bristol Golf Centre) and David Dixon (Enmore Park) who both finished a tough day on 68.

Licata double-bogeyed the fifth but recovered with four birdies and two bogeys in a back nine of 33.

Dixon looked a probable winner again when he made four birdies and dropped one shot at the eighth before the short 15th proved his downfall. He took six and, although he followed with two more birdies, fell just short.

Nicky Maddison (Saunton) returned his best score of 69 to share fourth with Martyn Thomp-son (Parkstone) and Michael Watson (Wessex Golf Centre).

James Ruth (China Fleet) led the winning team with a 12-under-par score of 128.

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