Conor Wilson - County Champion 2017!!
After a long four days Conor Wilson became County Champion for the second time on Saturday. It’s not often that the Champion wins ‘at home’ but Conor withstood the inevitable pressure of attempting to win the Championships here at PGC and came through in fine style.
After qualifying in joint 6th place (of the 32 that qualified for the knockout stages) with rounds of 70 and 76 on the Wednesday, Conor then played two-time County Champion Steve Chapman of St. Enodoc – an extremely tough first opponent given that Steve became County Champion for the second time when the Championships were last held here in 2007. However, Conor overcame Steve 4&3 (holing an eagle putt on the 15th to close out the match!) to march into the last 16 where he met Carl Burley of Trevose, who he beat in the final at Bude in the 2015 Championships. Conor was in full form when he took this match 6&5.
Friday morning saw Conor come up against defending Champion, Joe Cruse of St. Enodoc, who had qualified top by four shots in shooting two successive rounds of 69 on the Wednesday. This match saw a titanic battle between the two County players (both playing off +3 handicaps). Joe continued his form of the previous two days to storm into a four-hole lead through 12 holes but Conor would not give up. He birdied three of the last 6 holes (including a superb drive which pitched and stayed on the par 4 18th green) and then went on to take the match on the 20th hole.
In the afternoon semi-final Conor took on the three-time County runner-up, Richard Ackland of Trevose. Another epic battle ensued…. Conor took an early three-hole advantage, going three up through six holes, but the momentum seemed to change when Richard got up and down from off the green on the 7th and Conor missed his 15 foot birdie opportunity. Richard then won the 8th with a par and the 9th with a fine birdie. The 10th was halved in 4’s but Conor then hit his tee shot out of bounds on the 11th to see the match all square and when Richard birdied the 13th to go 1 up Conor was right up against it. The next four holes were shared before Conor took the 18th with a par before continuing into extra holes for the second time that day! Both players had chances to take the match on the next two holes before Conor finally closed things out on the 21st with a par 4. Understandably Conor was palpably drained after playing 41 holes under the utmost pressure today – he needed a rest that evening!
He was now in the final and would play fellow County player, Jared Mortimore of Truro. Saturday’s final got under way in rather wet conditions but the weather improved as the day went on. Unsurprisingly things were tight in the 36-hole final in the early stages but the golf was of the highest quality. Referee, Steve Ashby, stated after the match that it was the best final over which he had officiated in the years that he had refereed the final. Conor took two of the last three holes in the morning to emerge two up at lunch.
He saw his opportunity and knew that a fast start in the afternoon could put him clear….. A birdie, eagle start certainly saw him achieve this to go four up through 20 holes, a good lead he never really relinquished before finally closing out the match 5&3 on the 15th. Much credit must go to his opponent Jared who certainly played his part in what was an excellent final – surely he is a Champion in the waiting. However, Perranporth should be rightly proud of Conor Wilson who cemented his place among the greats in taking his second County title!!
Other notable successes during County Week came from Simon Knowles and Peter Foxwell:
Simon won the Handicap Challenge Cup on the Wednesday with the best nett qualifying scores of 70 and 71 and Peter took the Seniors' Cup on the Monday with an excellent 35 points in tough conditions.
Congratulations to all our winners.