Lythgoe reigns supreme to win title for fifth time

Neil Lythgoe is Norfolk's top professional for the third year in succession after he topped the Dingles Toyota order of merit – by the tiny margin of 1� points.

Lythgoe, from Royal Norwich, is delighted to win the title for the fifth time overall – but conscious of a slight sense of anti-climax. The wintry weather wiped out the last two pro-ams of the season, just when it looked as though there would be a battle royal for the order of merit honours.

The top three players were separated by just eight points, with the chase led by Royal Cromer's Lee Patterson and Gt Yarmouth and Caister's Gary Potter.

'I'm very pleased to win again but it's a bit of a hollow way to do it,' said Lythgoe. 'It would have been an exciting finish and I was looking forward to playing the last couple of events.'

However, there's no arguing with the performance he put on to pull himself to the top of the leaderboard.

'After the Norfolk Open I was nowhere in the order of merit and I didn't think I had any chance of winning it this year, but then I hit a purple patch.'

First he won the Norfolk matchplay championship, then he shot a remarkable eight-under 64 to win the Royal Cromer pro-am, and he followed up by tying first at Bawburgh and coming second at Sprowston Manor.

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'That little run moved me right through the field and all of a sudden I had a chance to do it,' he said.

On the wider stage, Lythgoe was fifth in the PGA East Region order of merit, falling just short of his target of a place in the top three, which in turn leads to a national play-off for places in some high-profile events.

He'll pursue that goal again next year and said: 'I'm still ambitious, particularly when it comes to regional events. I'd love to improve my position in the region.

'I tried really hard for a top three this year and it was a bit disappointing, but if you give it 100pc that's all you can do. The last event was cancelled which was disappointing because it would have given me a chance – but I should have done it before that.'

Overall, Lythgoe broke par 30 times during his season, scoring three-under four times; four-under three times, five-under twice and eight-under twice.

He also had a mid-season spell of two months when his worst score was two over par (once).

Next season he'll warm up with a pro-am in Portugal in January before pursuing a full schedule of Norfolk and East Region evens, together with some EuroPro tournaments.

• Norfolk PGA Dingles Toyota order of merit

Final leading places: 1 Neil Lythgoe (Royal Norwich) 46�pts, 2 Lee Patterson (Royal Cromer) 45, 3 Gary Potter (Great Yarmouth & Caister) 38�, 4 Tony Varney (The Norfolk) 33�, 5 Ian Ellis (Costessey Park) 30�, 6 Sam Cubitt (Lowestoft Driving Range) 24.

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