Ian Ellis tops Norfolk PGA Order of Merit for an eighth time

Ian Ellis receiving his Norfolk PGA Order of Merit trophy from Club-Noticeboard managing director Ia

Ian Ellis receiving his Norfolk PGA Order of Merit trophy from Club-Noticeboard managing director Ian Duncan. - Credit: Submitted

Costessey Park professional Ian Ellis has won the Norfolk PGA Order of Merit for the third time in a row and eighth time since 1998.

Ellis sealed his success at the Norfolk PGA ProAm at Thetford Golf Club, despite some difficult playing conditions in the winds which saw the Norfolk coastline battered by high tides.

Two of the last three ProAms at Thetford had been cancelled due to weather problems but the players managed to resist the strong wind and bitter cold.

Ellis and Mark Allen (Eaton) returned 74s and Ryan Pudney (Mundesley) shot level par 72, which was a winning score two years ago.

However the runner-up in 2011, Neil Mitchell (Bury Driving Range), was the last starter and returned a wonderful 71 to take the winnings.

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The ProAm concluded the Order of Merit for 2013, confirming Ellis as number one and seeing Pudney leap ahead of Michael Few (Weston Park) into second position, qualifying Pudney for the county exemption card for next year's regional events, with Ellis and Allen already qualified.

It brings to a close another successful season for Ellis, but he still insists his best golf is ahead of him.

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'You hope that you won't be playing in these tournaments forever, you hope you'll be playing in European Tour events but obviously that wasn't the case,' Ellis said.

'I used to have a really tough battle (for the Order of Merit) with Tony Varney in the early 2000s and it seemed quite a big deal for every club, every year, but it's not quite the same any more, but it's still nice to win and come out on top.

'In September I was 25 behind Michael Few but then I've not finished outside the top three since.

'It's nice to know people are expecting you to win and that you are expecting that of yourself. I'm at least turning up feeling confident whereas a few years ago, I wouldn't have a clue where the ball was going to go.'

Ellis also reclaimed the Norfolk PGA match play title from Weston Park's Michael Few, beating Mark Allen 5&4 in the final at Sprowston Manor in September.

Next year he is planning to shake up his game with new Cobra clubs and Puma clothing and will be attempting different tour events.

He also has the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May, which he has already qualified for after a top-10 finish at the Titleist PGA play-offs in Turkey.

He will mix it with the biggest names in European golf at the competition, which has a top prize of £700,000, during his fifth appearance at the event, although his first since 2008.

Ellis added: 'Otherwise I'll be going ahead in Norfolk and trying to win everything I can, because winning is a good habit to get into, but I still think I've got my best golf ahead of me.'

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