GWENT GOLF: Bond reigns in Spain to move closer to Tour return
10:00am Thursday 15th November 2012 in Sport
LIAM Bond was the man with the golden touch at the Spanish resort of Lumine as the St Pierre pro sealed consecutive European Tour qualifying stage wins in style.
The 42-year-old posted rounds of 64, 68, 70 and 65 to finish on 17-under-par as he marched through to final qualifying later this month and a chance to get back on the tour.
Bond was one of 73 players from across four venues to reach the demanding 106-hole marathon at the PGA Catalunya Resort from November 24-29 where tour cards will be on offer.
After winning the first phase event at Frilford Heath, Bond was always going to be among the favourites to qualify in Tarragona and that’s the way it panned out as the man who had one year on the main tour in 2011 clinched a three-shot margin of victory.
His place at Catalunya looked on the cards after the first day when Bond soared to the top of the leaderboard thanks to a brilliant 64, which included no fewer than nine birdies and only two dropped shots.
He maintained pole position at the end of day two with three birdies on the front-nine followed by nine straight pars coming home.
Bond’s lead slipped after the third-round despite a one-under 70 but that only served to spur him on when the final day’s play started.
The father-of-two signed for an unblemished round of 65, picking up shots at holes five, eight, nine, 13, 14 and 16 for a 72-hole aggregate of 267.
That left him three clear of England’s Paul Maddy and 23 ahead of Garry Houston, the only other Welshman competing at Lumine.
Scotsman Jamie McLeary, Italy’s Nicolo Ravana and Dutchman Tim Sluiter were the other tour hopefuls to win at courses in Valencia, Murcia and Alicante respectively as more than 300 golfers went toe-to-toe in Spain.
Meanwhile, John Davies and Leon Hillman have made a promising start to the defence of their Tredegar & Rhymney Cock o’ the North Winter League crown, but it’s another pair leading the way in the top division after the first two weeks of competition.
It’s David and Gareth Price who currently occupy first place in Division ‘A’ after winning both their opening matches against Dale and Anthony Zdzieblo then Alwyn Death and Barry Llewellyn.
Davies and Hillman, who beat Mike Shepherd and Glenn Trigg 2&1 to become champions last winter, began well this time around with a victory over Lee Harrison and Marc Watkins, however, they couldn’t make it two on the bounce.
They were held to a draw by Mike Sutton and Tony Morgan, who had also got their campaign off to a positive start by overcoming Jeremy W Davies and Andrew Evans, winners over the Zdzieblos in week two.
In a change to last year’s format there are now three divisions rather than two with 29 pairs taking part altogether. Beaten finalists last season, Shepherd and Trigg, had a bye in the second round of games in Division B after losing their first encounter to early leaders Matthew and Bradley Trigg.
The two Triggs then defeated Scott Philpotts and Chris James and after only a fortnight of competition are the only pair in the division to hold a 100 per cent record, as the two Prices do in the top tier.
Two pairings in Division C, Daniel Kiraly and Andrew Jones and Mike Russell and Sean Thomas, have won their first two games and lead the standings by one point.
The Golf Union of Wales has added two new events to the ladies’ calendar for 2013 with Nefyn & District hosting the first, the Welsh Ladies’ Mid Amateur Championship on May 19-20.
The 36-hole strokeplay competition is open to Welsh qualified golfers who are 30 or over on the first day of play and there will be a handicap limit of 15.
Then, on July 16, Builth Wells hosts the Welsh Ladies’ Inter Counties Strokeplay Championship for teams of six players with the five best scores from each of the two rounds counting. There will also be an individual award for the best 36-hole gross score.