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Talbott tops at Three Rivers

MARK Talbott fired a stunning nine-under-par round of 63 to surge through the field and clinch a one-stroke success in the PGA East region’s Order of Merit event at Three Rivers Golf & Country Club.

Upminster Golf Club professional Talbott was two shots behind overnight leaders Rob Watson (Porters Park) and Luke Goddard (Hendon) after opening up with a 71. The Essex golfer’s deficit grew to a three when he began his second round with a bogey.

But after that blemish Talbott cut loose with an amazing scoring spree that saw him make two eagles and three birdies in his next seven holes.

That left him seven-under-par at the turn with a slender lead over Goddard, who had made three birdies in his opening nine.

The pair then fought out an enthralling homeward loop with Goddard striking the initial telling blows, picking up strokes at 10 and 11 to seize control.

He also birdied the par-5 14th but that marked the first of three consecutives gains from Talbott, who moved to 10-under.

The last of those was a two at the short 16th where Goddard could only make four and suddenly Talbott had a two-stroke lead with two to play.

The gap proved to be sufficient, despite Goddard closing out with his seventh birdie of the day in what was a stout defence of the title he won a year ago.

But Talbott had the luxury of finishing off with a two-putt par from 25 feet for his second outright Order of Merit triumph (he also enjoyed a shared victory in another one). The 63 equalled his previous best score for a tournament round.

Talbott, 35, said: “I’ve been playing some really good golf recently – it’s been very close without it quite happening. So it was nice to put a really good round together. The putter was working and when I did hit the odd bad shot I was able to get out of trouble and get away with some pars.”

The Three Rivers success has boosted Talbott’s chances of winning the overall Order of Merit crown for a third time.

The 2020 and 2021 champion said: “I had a steady start at Bishop’s Stortford – I think I was tied-ninth out of our region. I knew I needed a fairly good performance to not get too far out of it. So winning is obviously going to help that.”

Out in front is defending Order of Merit champ Goddard, who has Sam Forgan (Felixstowe Ferry) hot on his heels.

Forgan finished third at Three Rivers on seven-under after finishing tied-fourth in the opening two-day tournament at Bishop’s Stortford.

The third of the four Order of Merit tournaments is the East Anglian Open at Ingrebourne Links on August 1-2.

SENT ON BEHALF OF THE PGA IN ENGLAND (EAST)

PGA IN ENGLAND (East) Order of Merit tournament at Three Rivers Golf & Country Club (leading scores) 134: M Talbott (Upminster) 71 63. 135: L Goddard 69 66. 137: S Forgan (Felixstowe Ferry) 70 67. 139: R Watson (Porters Park) 69 70. 140: C Davis (Eaton) 74 66. 141: C Housden (Little Channels Golf Centre) 71 70. 142: D Salisbury (Boyce Hill) 76 66, J Ruebotham (Welwyn Garden City) 72 70. 143: B Kerr (Royal Worlington & Newmarket) 73 70. 144: H Casey (The Shire London) 75 69.  

Mark Talbott receives the crystal for his victory from James Webber, representing Sports 9. Image supplied by PGA

Martin Webb is a keen amateur golfer and has been the editor of Suffolk Norfolk & Essex Golf Magazine since 2023.

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