Ian Ellis wins East Region Pro-Am at Eaton with course record
Costessey Park professional Ian Ellis enjoyed a champagne moment when he won the East Region Pro-Am at Eaton – with a course record score.
Ellis shot a seven under par round of 63 to better the previous best by one shot and claim the magnum of bubbly on offer for anyone who could rewrite the record books.
It was also the second time in eight day that he'd managed to achieve such a feat having lowered the course record at Brancaster to 64 on the way to winning the Norfolk Open.
'It's always nice to win an East Region event with some very good players in,' said Ellis, who was joined by European Tour pros Andrew Marshall, from Dereham, and Richard McEvoy along with the likes of runaway East Region order of merit leader Jason Levermore in the field.
'I started on the 10th and in the first four holes I hit some good shots and I had some good chances within 10 feet which I didn't make. But then all of a sudden the putter started warming up and I holed one putt for birdie on 14, two putted 16, birdied 17 and the only two holes on the day where I struggled were the 18th and the first where I made good up and downs for par. Then I birdied three, five, seven and nine to beat the course record,' explained Ellis, who has set 17 course records throughout his 15-year pro career.
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'Before we went out the organisers said that there was a magnum of champagne up for grabs for anyone who broke the course record,' added Ellis.
'I knew obviously coming down the last couple of holes what the course record was and I had two tough par threes in my last three holes and I finished two, four, two. I holed the winning putt, a tricky left-to-righter from 15 foot, with my dad there, which was great.'
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Ellis, who is sponsored by Norwich-based Elliam Bathrooms, added: 'It's my second best round of the year. My best round of the year came the week before at Brancaster where I shot 64 for the course record.
'I've got better as the season has gone on and I've broken par 30 times so far this year. My last few under par rounds have been quite significantly under par.'
A total of 31 teams took part in the Pro-Am and along with the European Tour golfers there were also famous former professional footballers, Clive Allen, formerly of Tottenham Hotspur, and ex-Canary Rob Newman in action in the amateur event.
Ellis lead home the field with Clacton's Jason Levermore second on 66 while Bury Golf Range's Neil Mitchell finished third on 67.
The winning amateur team made up of Eaton members Mike Wilson, Malcolm Martin and Neil Harrison was led by professional Richard Webb from Tilsworth Golf Centre. They won with a score of 19 under par with Neil Harrison reaching the turn in 32 shots (-3).
The finale, played out in front of a large crowd, involved a 120-yard shoot-out for the nine amateurs who had finished closest to the pin on the ninth hole during normal play and was won by Neil Harrison. This was followed by an elimination skills shoot-out involving the five professionals who had recorded the lowest scores on the par 3s. The competition comprised a 120-yard pitch followed by a 45-yard bunker shot then a 35-yard pitch and run and finally a 25ft putt. The winner was Ben Kerr (West Suffolk Golf Centre), second place went to Roger Gray (Thorndon Park Golf Club) and in third was man of the moment Ian Ellis.