Spooner wins at King’s Lynn to keep pressure on PGA Order of Merit leader Groat

Mark Spooner, pictured left with Nic Cains Picture: John Paling

Mark Spooner, pictured left with Nic Cains Picture: John Paling - Credit: Archant

The battle for the Norfolk PGA's Order of Merit title hotted up as Mark Spooner claimed a narrow victory at King's Lynn.

The veteran from Bawburgh took the spoils with a one under par round of 70 to keep the pressure on points leader Jason Groat (Denver Golf Centre), who was joint second a shot further back.

Groat remains favourite to claim overall success, leading as he does by nine-and-a-half points, but the latest result at least makes it interesting with two tournaments left to play.

Strong winds made it a real test at King's Lynn but four professionals still managed to beat par, although not to the level of last year when Chase Davis (Marriott Sprowston Manor) won with a 68. Davis was again on the leaderboard with a one under 71, which was matched by Groat and Ryan Pudney (Mundesley), but they were all pipped by Spooner.

Matthew Gardner (Barnham Broom) and Will Farley (Rushmere) shared fifth position after rounds of 75.

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The winner would have been hoping to adding to win to his tally after reaching the final of the Norfolk PGA's matchplay tournament, but had to settle for runners-up position in that one after being beaten 3&1 by Swaffham's Nic Cains at Thetford.

After retaining his title Cains moved up to fifth in overall standings but has no chance of catching leader Groat.

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PGA Norfolk Order of Merit 2018 (after nine events): Jason Groat (Denver Golf Centre) 44, Mark Spooner (Bawburgh Family Golf) 34½, Ryan Pudney (Mundesley) 29, Chase Davis (Marriott Sprowston Manor) 23, Nic Cains (Swaffham) 22½, Sam Cubitt (Dunston Hall) 21, Matthew Gardner (Barnham Broom) 20.

The next event is at Sheringham next Friday with the finale along the coast at Royal Cromer on Wednesday, December 19.

Teams: 131 Tom Maxwell (Wensum Valley) with Kane Hindle, Harry Goddard and Sam Piggot, 133 Mark Spooner with Jake Kelley, Harry Groon and Gary Hibbard, 135 Sam Cubitt (Dunston Hall) with Gary Dixon, Ian Connel and Nic Traube. Nearest the pin on the fifth Tony Gravestoch, on the 16th Chris Hollins.

Matthew Bacon dealt best with the testing conditions to win the latest Norfolk Alliance meeting at Marriott Sprowston Manor.

Costessey Park Golf Club's general manager recorded 33 Stableford points to finish just ahead of Alex Holmes (Great Yarmouth and Caister) and Caroline Brady (Bawburgh), who both totalled 32.

A strong breeze made life tough for the somewhat depleted field of 60, even through the sun was shining.

In the betterball Stableford team event Paul Pritty and Phil Sayers of Eaton took top honours with 40 points. There were three pairs with 39 points and Gary Potter (Richmond Park) and Mark Rumble (Great Yarmouth and Caister) finished second on countback, followed by Fred Spink and Paul Cunliffe (Sheringham) and Jake Keeley (Bawburgh) and Les Grayston (Royal Norwich).

The next meeting is at Royal Cromer on Thursday, November 29 with the Christmas Bring and Win/ Rush Trophy tournament following at Eaton on December 13.

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