JOHN KING, long-serving head professional at Lindrick, muscled in on the anticipated duel between Mark Ridley and John Gould to win the Silversea Senior PGA Championship at Foxhills.
Six and five strokes adrift of Ridley and Gould respectively at the start of the final round, King kept his game together while they faltered.
Ridley, who is attached to South Moor, was unable to reproduce the form that had seen him lead the tournament at the end of the first and second rounds and posted a four-over-par total of 77 to finish on two under. One over after 12, his round was effectively derailed by bogeys at 14, 16 and 17.
Meanwhile, Gould, who had drawn level with Ridley courtesy of a birdie at the par-5 fifth, never recovered from the plague of bogeys that followed over four of the next five holes.
A birdie at the par-5 12th provided brief respite before two more bogeys resulted in a five-over-par 78 and him ceding third place to Mossock Hall’s David Shacklady.
King, by contrast, unaware of the implosions behind him, made flawless progress round the Bernard Hunt course and, courtesy of a birdie at the par-4 13th, carded a one-under-par 72 to finish on two under.
All of which meant a sudden-death play-off with Ridley to determine the destiny of the Bernard Hunt trophy and £6,000 winner’s cheque put up by luxury cruiseline specialists Silversea, sponsoring the tournament for the third successive year.
It was staged on the par-4 18th and while King had the momentum, Ridley had ‘previous’ on the double green that serves the final hole on both the Longcross and Bernard Hunt courses at the Surrey resort.
He had signed off on days one and two with a 40ft chip for a birdie and an even longer putt for an eagle, but this time his Midas touch with either putter or wedge deserted him and King won the hole with a par.
King, who has been head pro at 1957 Ryder Cup venue Lindrick for 20 years and was an assistant there before moving to nearby Worksop, where he coached a youthful Lee Westwood, described his round as one of the best he has played.
But he admitted that, given the deficit he had to make up on Ridley and Gould, his initial target was finishing in the top 15 and earning a place in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at the London Club in August.
“I was playing with a good buddy, Rob Ellis (Newark),” he explained, “and we were realistically looking at making sure we finished in the top 15.
“But you never know at this game. It was a little bit of a surprise to catch them, but obviously I’m delighted. I’ve had to work that hard for a victory before on occasions, but this was one of the best rounds I’ve played tee to green.”
King was also fulsome in his praise for Foxhills and added: “I’ve been coming here for a few years now and it’s been fabulous, the best it’s been. We’ve had bad weather in the past, but this year it’s been perfect.”