Ellis squeezes through
IAN Ellis of Weston Park is already looking forward to a fifth visit to Wentworth to play in the BMW PGA Championship next May. He ended on top of the PGA East Region Order of Merit for the second time in his career, his previous success coming in 2000.
By Tony Garnett
IAN Ellis of Weston Park is already looking forward to a fifth visit to Wentworth to play in the BMW PGA Championship next May. He ended on top of the PGA East Region Order of Merit for the second time in his career, his previous success coming in 2000. On three other occasions in 2001, 2003 and 2005 he has been runner-up.
Yet Ellis had an anxious wait in the Motor Clean Classic at Stock Brook Golf and Country Club, as Mark Stokes of Rayleigh Golf Range conjured up an eagle on the 474-yard par-five final hole to go six under par for his second Order of Merit win. His first came four years ago.
A superb second shot with a rescue club from semi-rough left Stokes 10 feet from the pin. He holed his putt to give him a two-shot win over Mark Davis of Thorndon Park and Paul Hetherington of Great Hadham, who were already in the clubhouse at four under.
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A win for Davis, the former European Tour player, would have seen him overtake Ellis in the Order of Merit. Instead he had to settle for second place, a position that no longer carries the prize of playing at Wentworth.
Instead Ellis, Davis and third-placed Andrew Pestell of Chelmsford will compete with the top three in other regions at Notts Golf Club (Hollinwell) on October 16 and 17 for starts in European Tour and Challenge Tour events
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Ellis, whose first round score of 75 put his Order of Merit win in jeopardy, hit back with a second round of 69.
He said: “There was a little bit of pressure but I am naturally an attacking player and it paid off rather than trying to protect a score.”
Stokes, who lives at Alpheton near Sudbury in Suffolk, was only one under par with nine holes to play. His blistering back nine of five under eliminated the need for a play-off.
Forty-five-year-old Stokes, who played on the European Tour in 1990 and 1995, said: “I went four under at the 15th and had an up and down from a bunker at the 17th before the eagle settled it.”
Davis will look back on the damage done on his opening round when an unlucky 217-yard par three 13th hole cost him a double bogey in a round of 73. In his second round he found water at the 193-yard par three seventh hole.
Midway through the second round Pestell was leading after an eagle on the fifth, but his challenge fell away when he dropped four shots between the 11th and 13th holes. Andrew George of Ely City set an early target of three under par with a second round of 66, which was some concern to the Sky camera crew, who had been taken by surprise by George, who had 75 in his first round.
Hetherington did not drop a shot in his second round but had only two birdies. With better luck on the greens his turn must come.
Simon Harrison was top Suffolk finisher, but he was disappointed with his second round of 73 after starting one shot behind the leaders, Richard Beadles and Andrew Clapp, who both faltered.
The course at Stock Brook is maturing well and was in excellent order. Conditions were easier on the second day with spells of sunshine coupled with a chilly autumnal breeze.
Why there is still a mandatory free drop from plantations of seemingly mature trees remains a mystery.
Motor Clean Classic Scores
138: M Stokes (Rayleigh Golf Range) 70 68 (wins £1,400).
140: M Davis (Thorndon Park) 73 67, P Hetherington (Great Hadham) 70 70. (£803 each).
141: A George (Ely City) 75 66, M Baker (Colchester) 73 68 (£474).
142: P Mayoh (King's Lynn) 73 69, A Pestell (Chelmsford) 70 72 (£383).
143: L Eggleston (Orsett) 73 70, S Harrison (Thorpeness) 70 73 (£325).
Other scores included:
144: I Ellis (Weston Park) 75 69, J Bevitt (Moor Park) 75 69, D Poulter (Bedford) 75 69.
145: M Allen (Eaton) 75 70, J Lowe (Lords) 72 73.
146: N Mitchell (Bury Golf Range) 76 71, A Collison (Bungay) 75 72.
147: P Davis (Saffron Walden) 71 76.
149: N Lythgoe (Royal Norwich) 74 75, W Sargent (Towerlands) 74 75.
150: A Cotton (Ufford Park) 78 72, A Tokley (Stoke by Nayland) 75 75.
153: P Wilby (Fynn Valley) 79 74, R Pudney (Royal Cromer) 73 80.
154: T Dobson (Stonham Barns) 75 79.
157: A Lucas (Waldringfield) 80 77, M Kierstenson (Searle's Golf Resort) 74 83.
158: S Cubitt (Land of Golf, Diss).
160: M Angel (Colchester) 79 81.
161: J Gurry (Millers Barn) 78 83,
162: K Vince (Rushmere) 80 82.