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Ashton secures Norfolk Tour 2012 despite late charge from Saunders
Marriott Sprowston Manor played host to the final event of the Golf Days UK Norfolk Tour 2012 – The Race to Turnberry on Friday 23rd November. An exciting finale was the proposition and it didn’t disappoint!
Four players could still win the Tour – Dean Ashton, Adam Saunders, Nick Barrett and Kevin Goude – and with true tournament style, they all took to the course in the final grouping if the season. Ashton was the current leader, but with a chasing pack of inform golfers, being crowned Norfolk Tour Champion 2012 was far from his. Saunders was two back and having played two very impressive rounds in the last two events was the man in red hot form. Barrett was a further six behind, but a big score from him on the day would have pushed Ashton all the way. Goude started the say some ten points adrift of the leaders, but with a worst score of 30 points to improve on, he was certainly capable of producing the sort of round required to test the nerve of the leaders.
Barrett made the perfect start, holing a monster putt on the first for a birdie. This put him right into the frame and with Saunders and Ashton struggling, the final day of the tour was starting to take shape. A lost ball on the fifth undid all the work Barrett had put in and with Ashton and Saunders settling in after a rocky start, Barrett’s chances was fading. Meanwhile, Goude was playing his some of his best golf of the tour and as the others struggled, he showed his skill by making pars all the way until the par 4 12th. Goude hit his best drive of the day and managed to find the green on the 358 yard hole, he then sank the putt from ten feet to bag an eagle two and was right in the mix to trouble Ashton and Saunders at the top. A birdie on the par 5 13th followed, but unfortunately, Goude could only return a string of pars to finish, which was good enough to win the event, but not enough to get into the two top spots overall. He did improve on his ‘best five’ scores and secured a third place finish the in overall leaderboard.
Saunders battled back from a poor start and with Ashton not having the best of rounds and looking unlikely to improve his ‘best five’ score of 178 points and the last three holes made for a great finish. With Saunders knowing he had to pick up two shots in the final three holes and only receiving one shot on the tough 16th, he knew he had to make par to get to within one of Ashton, which he did. With two holes to play, the difference was one point in total. Saunders could only manage a par on the 17th despite almost chipping in, it was all down to the final hole of the tour. Some of the other players had finished their rounds and could see what was going on by the live scoring system decided to wander back up the 18th to watch the drama unfold. With Saunders having to make a birdie on the 18th to tie Ashton at the top of the overall leaderboard, the real grandstand finish was on.
Saunders pulled his drive off the tee and managed to advance the ball to get within range to reach the green with his third shot from the right rough. He came up short with his approach and despite a valiant effort to hole his pitch, he knew his chance to win the tour had gone. Ashton watched on and knew he had secured the title despite having a difficult day on the course.
The final standing for the Golf Days UK Norfolk Tour 2012 – The Race to Turnberry are as follows:
1st Dean Ashton – 178 points, wins trip to Turnberry Resort in Scotland
2nd Adam Saunders – 176 points, wins set of custom fit irons from Chris Potter Golf
You can view the final leaderboard standings by clicking here
Check out our YouTube video below for a look back at the 2012 Norfolk Tour, with some of the best shots and some of the worst!
The Norfolk Tour 2013 will start on the 22nd February at Great Yarmouth and Caister golf club, with a new format and a trip to Gleneagles on offer, the 2013 Tour is set to be the best yet! See the schedule here