ALTHOUGH Celtic Manor Resort’s Joe Ferguson finished in a tie for 15th place in the final match of the Titleist-Footjoy Young Professionals League at Woodbury Park, he was still able to celebrate winning the title.
Ferguson decided to forsake the chance of playing in the Welsh Professional Champ-ionship at Cardiff to try to win the T-J League – and he did just that.
Yet the 28-year-old former England amateur boys international faced a nail-biting wait until his triumph was confirmed following his disappointing round of three-over-par 75.
If Matt Lockey (East Devon), a former junior member at Woodbury Park, had posted 75, Ferguson would have lost out to defending champion Cennydd Mills (Tredegar Park) who opted to play in the Welsh Pros instead.
But Lockey made a double bogey at the tight 17th hole and signed for 77, so Ferguson became champion by 0.57 of a point on 333.07.
The other players who win mini contracts with Titleist are Mills (332.5), Russ Berry (RB Golf Range, 282.5), Mark Searle (High Post, 228.75) and Steve Buzza (Exeter, 222.75).
Although the consistent Berry has never been out of the top six this season, he achieved his first win at Woodbury with a six-under-par return of 66.
But he had to share with Searle, another first time winner.
The former South West amateur champion made it a double for he won the better-ball with his father Roger, the Wiltshire golfing legend who won his club championship again this year. They scored 46 points to beat Honiton’s James Pickard and amateur Stuart Selway by two points with Taunton Vale’s Daniel Keitch and Phil Howard third on 43.
Berry made six birdies, three on each half, in a flawless round. Searle dropped his only shot at the par-five ninth but hurried home in 31.
Eliott Harding, the 21-year-old former Milford Haven junior and club champion and Welsh schoolboy international, was third with a blemish-free two-under-par 70.