Melton Golf Club: Six qualify for Road to Woodhall Spa final

Road to Woodhall Spa finalists, from left, Rob Smith, Steve Goddard, John Burgess and Phil Curtis. Missing from picture: Sam Pollard and John Griffin EMN-150610-182337002
Road to Woodhall Spa finalists, from left, Rob Smith, Steve Goddard, John Burgess and Phil Curtis. Missing from picture: Sam Pollard and John Griffin EMN-150610-182337002
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The top 30 from Melton Golf Club’s Order of Merit battled it out on Saturday for six coveted qualifying spots in the Race to Woodhall Spa.

Players accumulated points over the season for their performances in 34 RWS qualifying competitions and the best went head-to-head to try and reach the final.

It will be staged at Woodhall Spa’s prestigious Hotchkin course, ranked 25th among the world’s top 100 courses by Golf World Magazine.

A large crowd of members gathered at the first tee and each player was individually introduced by the master of ceremonies, Doug Woolley, while club captain Brendan Boyce wished each player good luck.

Rob Smith, the 2015 Order of Merit winner, had already automatically qualified and hit the opening tee shot, with the remainder aiming for a top five finish to join him at the Lincolnshire course on Saturday, October 17.

On-course leaderboards were placed on the ninth, 14th, and 17th greens to keep players up-to-date with the scoring.

After nine holes it was very close with junior Jack Griffin leading at two-under, a shot clear of Richard Haines, with Gary Kitchen, Tim Mortimer and John Burgess all on level par nett. Last year’s champion Matt Catton was a shot further back.

Steve Goddard made a charge on the back nine and after 14 holes led on two-under, with Griffin a shot back, and Haines, Jon Baxter and Sam Pollard all on level.

Goddard increased his lead, carding a final score of three-under, while Griffin was joined on one-under by Burgess with a late burst.

Pollard qualified in fourth on one-over, but there was a four-way tie for the all-important fifth place with John Harvey, Baxter, Guy Rayson and Phil Curtis all on two-over.

A crowd of more than 50 members followed the sudden-death play-off down the first hole, and a fantastic up-and-down sent Curtis through with a nett birdie.

Melton GC members would all like to thank Tim Buxton for organising another fantastic season-long event.