Harper on target to retain league title
Kevin Harper made a brilliant start to his attempt to win the Titleist-Footjoy League for the second time in three years with a blistering six-under-par 63 in the season opener at Teignmouth.
The experienced 30-year-old trainee at Sidmouth played faultless golf and was always in command after making four birdies in the first five holes.
After turning in four-under 31 he made further progress at the 13th and 17th on his way to a four shot success. The score matched the course record but did not count as the lift-and-place rule was applied.
Harper, winner of the EuroPro order of merit early in his career in 2006, won both the Titleist League and the West Region Assistants title in 2010 and is intent on a repeat this summer. He said: “The long game is in good shape as I hit 14 greens but I haven’t played or put in many hours this winter due to my Year Three PGA commitments.
“I aim to be back playing full time on the PGA EuroPro Tour and the West Region events after I am fully qualified in July.”
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James Pickard (Honiton), another of Devon’s bright youngsters, made a slow start but made three twos at the seventh, 11th and 16th to finish second on 67.
Ross Jones (Bath) could have joined after a steady round but a dropped shot on the 17th relegated him to third.
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Ross Langdon (Henbury) also had a chance of glory after his sixth birdie at the 14th but he then dropped four shots in the closing holes. At least he and his three-handicapper father Richard were in the money by winning the betterball.
Langdon senior finished with an eagle two on the 17th and a birdie three on the last in a grandstand finish to register 47 stableford points.
This took them four ahead of Harper and Simon Carter with Royal North Devon’s Club Ross Daniel and Phil Sluggett in third on 42. They beat the teams of Devon Greenslade (Downes Crediton) and Pickard on countback.