CUMBRIA’S Will Bowe made it ninth time lucky today when he won the English Men’s County Champion of Champions title, scoring five-under par over 36 holes at Woodhall Spa Golf Club.
“Finally!” he said, after holing a knee-knocking three footer for par on the 18th on the Hotchkin course to win by a shot with scores of 70 71.
The 32-year-old has just won his county championship for the ninth time and has played in the Champion of Champions event on every occasion – but has had to wait till now for his first win.
“I am very proud to win it, over the moon,” said Bowe (image © Leaderboard Photography), who is the second Cumbrian to take the title. He follows the 1977 champion Mike Walls who, like Bowe, represented Workington.
Bowe’s win broke a logjam at the top of the leaderboard, which at one point in the closing stages of the tournament, saw four players tied at the top. He made his crucial move when he birdied 16 and 17, but then had a long wait on the 18th tee.
“My knees were knocking then!” he laughed. “Everything goes through your mind and I’d just had two birdies and I wanted to get going.”
Bowe knew it was close over the closing holes but just followed his game plan to “keep plodding along and give myself chances. I didn’t know if I had done enough but I knew five-under would be round about the mark.”
Behind him, Lancashire’s Ian Kenwright (Haydock Park) won the tussle for second place, beating Cambridgeshire’s James Reeson (Brampton Park) on countback after they finished on four-under.
Cornwall’s Conor Wilson (Perranporth) was fourth on three-under, while Norfolk’s Simon Clark (Gt Yarmouth & Caister) was fifth on two under, having led the field after 27 holes.
Kenwright, who will represent Lancashire at men’s County Finals, enjoyed getting in the mix: “Win or lose it’s been a good weekend,” he said. He birdied the 17th to keep his challenge alive, while Reeson, who was making his second appearance in the event, staked his claim with a great up and down for birdie from a greenside bunker on the 18th.
Wilson was among those who made long journeys to take part in the tournament but he decreed it well “worth the travel up from Cornwall. I did play well, nothing spectacular but I kept it on the planet! I come from a hilltop links and anything with trees isn’t usually my forte.”