Exciting times for Pudney after an impressive run

Mundesley's Ryan Pudney has narrowed the gap at the top of the Norfolk PGA order of merit with a run of sparkling golf.

He won the latest event, at The Norfolk, with a fine five-under par 67 which included six birdies. It was his lowest score as a professional and his first outright win in a Norfolk PGA event.

He was also rewarded with maximum order of merit points, as he was the previous week when he finished runner-up to an out of county player.

It means he's now just 10 points – equal to a win – behind Ian Ellis of Costessey Park. Ellis has just become a father and missed one of the events while, by own admission, returning rustily to the second. Pudney joked: 'Hopefully Ian will get sleepless nights before the remaining events!'

He added: 'Ian is such a good player and has had such a good year that I don't expect to beat him over the stretch of the season – but you never know what will happen if I keep playing like this.'

Pudney, who is available for four of the remaining five events on the Dingles Toyota order of merit, is in great form.

'I've felt relaxed while playing and I've had some really good teams who are fun to play with – and that makes you feel even more relaxed,' he said.

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He started on the 10th at The Norfolk and birdied the first two holes. He came close to trouble on the 14th where his tee shot finished under tress but he fashioned a five-iron onto the green to set up a par.

Birdie chances followed at the remaining four holes on that half but Pudney was unable to convert them.

He told himself to press on with the scoring and was rewarded with birdies on the second and third. On the fifth he thought he had pulled his second left of the green but found it on the edge of the putting surface and, taking advantage of his fortune, duly holed the 30-footer for another birdie.

He dropped his only shot of the round on the par five sixth, where he was within range but pulled his second into the water.

However, another birdie followed on the eighth.

Now, Pudney's sights are set on more order of merit success – and on the final of the Lombard Challenge, the PGA Pro-Captain Captain/Pro Challenge in Turkey next month when he will be partnered by Dave Crosby.

The team prize at The Norfolk was won by former Bawburgh professional Tom Robinson and his amateurs Tarro Skipper, Shaun Larkins & Elliot Patterson. They were 15-under par.

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