Weather and injury no problem for Neil

Royal Norwich's Neil Lythgoe defied gale force winds and an elbow injury to take the honours in the first Norfolk PGA pro-am of the season. He overcame the twin difficulties with a solid one-under par 71 at Royal Cromer, which just pipped The Norfolk's Tony Varney.

Royal Norwich's Neil Lythgoe defied gale force winds and an elbow injury to take the honours in the first Norfolk PGA pro-am of the season.

He overcame the twin difficulties with a solid one-under par 71 at Royal Cromer, which just pipped The Norfolk's Tony Varney. Eaton's Mark Allen was a further shot back.

The wind built up during the day and for the last hour was coupled with drenching rain. So Lythgoe counted himself fortunate to be among the earlier starters and was out in the worst of the weather only over the closing holes of his round.

“Tony had it for quite a lot of his round, certainly for far more holes than I did,” said Lythgoe. He had four birdies, on the 3rd, 4th, 10th and 12th, but was particularly pleased with the five pars which ended his round.

“That was a good finish. Usually at Cromer you're looking to pick up shots over the last five or six holes but in that wind I was happy to be level par. The lighthouse hole (14th) and the 15th were played in a cross wind and the tee shots were quite testing.”

He was most satisfied, however, to win despite a tendon injury which has been giving him problems since mid-January. “It's been really niggly. It seems okay one day and then it flares up again the next.

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“It's been a really off-putting factor so I was really pleased to play a half-decent round of golf.

“It was a nice start to the season,” added Lythgoe, who is planning to play the first two EuroPro events of 2008, including the curtain raiser at Wensum Valley from April 30-May 2.

There was strong competition for the first team prize, with three groups tied on 135 (nine-under par). The honours went to Sprowston Manor's Craig Graver and his amateurs who won on countback.

Sam Cubitt (Eagles) made his first appearance as new Norfolk PGA captain and was among the prizewinners - and among those to score in the new Dingles Toyota order of merit. The table has been changed this season to award points to the first five places and ties: 10, 8, 6, 4, 2.