Exeter’s Chris Gill swept past three former European Tour winners to claim the West Region Cornish Festival prize after a stunning nine-under-par final round of 62 at Trevose.
The West’s 2009 order of merit champion finished three strokes ahead of ex-Ryder Cup man Peter Baker (South Staffordshire) who was one shot ahead of St Omer Open winner David Dixon (Enmore Park) with Scottish Seniors Open winner Glenn Ralph (Trevose) and one-time Tour player Mark Morris (Walmley) sharing fourth.
It’s nice to be back after a long time in the doldrums,” said Gill, 31, who struggled for much of last season. “This equalled my lowest round and could have even been a 59 as I dropped two shots and had other chances including a lip-out at the last.
I probably hit the ball as well as I ever and came into the tournament feeling really good after three excellent sessions with my coach. I have really grafted well, kept my head down and practiced the right things.”
He started the week by carding five-under-par 64 at sunny Newquay but followed with a four-over 73 at St Enodoc where rainy and blowy conditions shattered many reputations. He said: “I love Newquay and Trevose but never seem to master St Enodoc.”
But he certainly took Trevose apart with birdies at 3, 4 and 8 and an eagle three at the ninth. His second shot at the tenth finished six inches from the pin. The round became even better with five successive birdies from the 12th.
It was really a great round,” praised Baker. His faultless final round of five-under-par 66 left him one stroke ahead of current European Tour player David Dixon who said his faultless 64 should really have been five shots lower.
Baker said: “I enjoyed coming to the festival so much last year I returned to Trevose to play in a couple of events and that clearly helped me complete my best round on the course.”
Ralph, who shot 66 at Trevose after starting with 64 at Newquay, described his first festival as “brilliant.” He said: “The courses were fabulous and we had a lot of fun.”
Morris, who also played European Tour golf before becoming director of golf at Warmley last year, rued one hole at Newquay. He took four shots to escape from a bunker at the eighth holes and that could have cost him the win.
Cennydd Mills from Ridgeway Golf Club at Caerphilly led his team of Leighton Hill, Nicky Hill and Stuart Swain to first place in the team event on his debut at the festival. They finished one shot ahead of previous winners, pro Jon Langmead (Exminster), Jason Hampton, Andy Beezley and Rob Vooght.
Gill’s Exeter team of Andrew Rockey, Ian Morris and Russell Mayne came 6th in the team event.