Andrew Marshall wins first Norfolk Open after second round of 66

Andrew Marshall won the Norfolk Open for the first time at Hunstanton Picture: SEAN PETERS

Andrew Marshall won the Norfolk Open for the first time at Hunstanton Picture: SEAN PETERS - Credit: Archant

Andrew Marshall overcame a five shot deficit at the halfway stage to claim an impressive victory in the Norfolk Open Championship at Hunstanton yesterday.

Despite playing well from tee to green the Bawburgh professional could only manage a one over par 73 in morning as Royal Norwich's Neil Lythgoe set the early pace with a 68.

But it was a different story after lunch as the putts finally started to drop and a brilliant round of 66, including no fewer than eight birdies, saw the former European Tour player win his home tournament for the very first time.

His five-under par total of 139 left him three clear of closest challenger, Great Yarmouth and Caister's Alex Holmes, who followed a 73 with a 69, while Bawburgh's Mark Spooner was third after rounds of 72 and 71.

Lythgoe, whose role as director of golf at Royal Norwich means he is no longer a regular competitor, had to be content with fourth after a 76 in the afternoon, with Denver's Jason Groat (77, 68) and Marriott Sprowston Manor's Chase Davis (72, 73) sharing fifth position.

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'This means an awful lot to a 45-year-old with a bad back,' quipped Marshall. 'I won the Norfolk Amateur when I was a young lad but I had never won this. I always like to play in it when I can because it's an important tournament and it's great to finally win it.

'I have been coming to this course for over 30 years now and I always love playing here. It is one of my favourites although I think most of the guys here would say the same thing.

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'Conditions were just about perfect and my opening round should have been a lot better than 73. That's as well as I can remember playing here but I just didn't hole any putts. I probably didn't play as well in the afternoon but it was a different story on the greens.'

Starting at the ninth Marshall got himself back in contention by birdieing three of his first five holes and maintained the momentum until the 426 yard par four fifth - his 15th - when a poor drive led to a double bogey. But the experienced competitor quickly put that behind him and a birdie, par, birdie finish sealed what was, in the end, a comfortable win.

Leading amateur was Richard Wilson (Dereham) with a total of 148 (76, 72).

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