Double success is boost for Lythgoe
Professional Neil Lythgoe has hit winning form with two wins from two events – and both achieved with sub-par scores.
The Royal Norwich player shared the honours at the latest Norfolk PGA pro-am at Royal Cromer where he and home professional Lee Patterson both topped the leaderboard with scores of one-under 71.
Just three days later he was well clear of the pack at the Norfolk Alliance meeting at Thetford where he shot four-under 68 – and won by four.
'They're two really good courses and you don't get away with anything at this time of year,' said Lythgoe, who puts his success down to the results of some small swing changes.
'I haven't been playing badly, but I haven't quite been doing it. But the last couple of rounds have been much better and because my swing feels better it's easier to concentrate on scoring.'
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His rounds followed a similar pattern in both events as he scrambled well over the front half, with some very effective up and downs, before getting into the swing on the back nine.
'At Cromer when I needed good shots on the back nine I played them, particularly on the tough driving holes towards the end of the round,' said Lythgoe, who birdied the short 17th to get below par.
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It was crucial to the result, because it meant he caught Lee Patterson, who had set the scoring target when he played in the first group out.
'It's always nice to do well at home and after a couple of nervy shots early on I felt really, really good,' said Patterson. However, he was disappointed on the greens where 10 out of 15 birdies putts came up short.
'I don't feel I putted badly, but I just needed to hit each putt further – and I think I would have been four shots better,' he added.
However, he did make three birdies on the par fives – fifth, 10th and 11th – which outstripped two bogeys and he said: 'I was pleasantly surprised to win and really enjoyed the course which is in great condition.'
The result moves both players up the Dingles Toyota Order of merit while long-time leader Ian Ellis (Costessey Park) failed to make progress. Lythgoe is 17.5 points behind with two events to go and it's mathematically possible for him to snatch the title. Mundesley's Ryan Pudney, who is currently lying second, can't catch Ellis after missing an event to travel to Turkey for the final of the The Lombard Challenge, the PGA Pro-Captain Tournament
On to Thetford, where Lythgoe had five birdies and one bogey and again drove the ball particularly well. 'I could have had a much better score because I missed some good birdie chances on the last nine holes,' he said. 'But it was a particularly pleasing score because we always play Thetford right from the back and it's a long course in the winter.'
Competition for the team prize was intense with 10 pairs separated by just two shots. Trevor Greef and Malcolm Hardingham (Swaffham) broke the deadlock with a betterball medal score of net 68 and a one-stroke win.