Clutch birdie claims Spalding Park title

Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Kim Felton and Peter Welden
Kim Felton and Peter Welden

Strong winds and slippery greens challenged the field each day for the 37th running of the McDonalds Wholsalers Spalding Park Open.

Andrew Martin lead Peter Welden and Kim Felton into the final round after a 71 68 start to the tournamnet in the dificult conditions. As play on sunday progressed a final round duel developed between Welden and Felton when overnight leader Martin crashed out of contention with consecutive double bogies on holes 7 and 8.

Martin’s misfortune seemed to envigorate his nearest competitors as they both birdied the 9th to turn 5 and 4 under respectively.

The lead would then switch as Felton Birdied the 12th and 14th while Weldon stayed in contention with some great saves including a superb up and down from over the 12th green.

A soft bogie and a three putt in a three hole stretch threatened to derail Felton’s chances while Welden remained steady including a solid par on the difficult par 4 17th. This saw the pair tied for the lead as they stood on the 18th tee.

After good drives that left them both in range of the par five green Welden, playing first, and no doubt keen to apply the pressure, played a poor iron that found rough 30 yards sort and left of the green.

With the title there for the taking and in front of a good croud that had been building throughout the day, Felton took charge with a fine iron shot to the back tier of the 18th green, setting up a 20 foot eagle chance.

Welden then faced a difficult down wind pitch from rough, across a bunker , to the back plateau of the green. To his credit Welden played a good shot that set up a birdie opportunity. Putting first Welden’s ball slid by leaving Felton two putts for the title.

Felton who made a welcome return to form in 2010 including a win on the OneAsia tour a the Midea China Masters, lagged his first put to just a few inches from the hole to secure the title.

In his speech he thanked the tirelss work of Chris Clarkson the clubs volunteer Green Keeper and his small crew of staff who again presented the course in a truly tournament worthy condition.

Major sponsors Tim, David and Beth Perks from McDonalds Wholesalers thanked the 77 professionals for supporting the event and said how proud they were to be involved in what has been acclaimed best tournament in WA two of the last three years.

The WA circuit heads to Newman for the $25,000 Fortescue Pro-Am before moving on to Port Hedland andthen Broome for the final event in the last week of June.

While in the regional areas of Western Australia PGA professionals also support the games future holding coaching clinics for children at local schools. The program is supported by the state government’s Department of Sport and Recreation and will expose the game to around 300 children in WA’s regional towns.