A DUO from Hartford Golf Club, Cheshire, had good cause to grin like cats associated with the county after producing a storming final round to win the Lombard Trophy.
In doing so PGA professional Adam Powell and his amateur partner, Matt Leach, the club manager at Hartford’s sister course Pryors Hayes, posted the best round of the tournament at Pestana Vila Sol on Portugal’s Algarve.
Their bogey-free 10-under-par round of 62 in Europe’s largest pro-am gave them a 36-hole total of 11-under and victory by a shot.
And if ever there was a classic case of a pair rediscovering their collective mojo, this was it.
“We both played abysmally in the first round,” admitted Powell. “We finished on one-under and that flattered us. It could have been 10-over we were that bad. We had nothing to lose today and just went for it.”
And how. Going for it in the final round of a tournament which is supported by Coca Cola and carries a winner’s cheque of £12,000 saw the pair going through the gears before turning on the after-burners on the back nine.
Having begun the day trailing first round leaders Cirencester by four shots they had reduced the deficit by just one at the turn.
Then their birdie laden back nine proved decisive. “I had five birdies on the way home,” added Powell, and Matty, who plays off 18, had a nett eagle on 17.
“We found out the score going into the last four holes and that we were in the mix – it changed the feeling a bit. We knew where we were and had to go for it.”
That eagle at the 17th coupled with Cirencester registering only their second bogey of the round there proved real game changers.
It all added up to a three-stroke swing, level pegging going up the last and the cue for Powell to deliver the coup de grace – his fifth and final birdie.
Cirencester’s late stumble meant Edward Gooding and his amateur partner James Harding finished second on 10-under; and Northampton’s PGA pro Nick Soto and Craig Groom had to settle for third place a shot further back after successive bogeys sabotaged their eagle at the 16th.
For Powell, who plays in the odd pro-am and concentrates on teaching the game, the prize is the biggest he has earned in his 13-year career.
However, the experience of playing in the tournament has left him similarly enriched.
“We’ve had an absolutely fabulous time this week,” he said. “Everybody’s been great and really friendly and we can’t thank Lombard enough. It’s been brilliant.”
Image of Adam Powell, left, and Matt Leach. Photo courtesy of Tony Marshall, Getty Images.