Mendip successes for Harper and Pickard

Defending champion Kevin Harper failed by one shot to retain the West Region Assistants Championship at Mendip Golf Club in Somerset.

He said: “Had I known more about a course I had never played before I am confident I would have won again,” said the Sidmouth assistant who had to defer to former Welsh amateur international Cennydd Mills. I had no chance to practice there as I was qualifying for the PGA Powerade Assistants’ Championship at East Sussex National the day before.

“I was frustrated in the morning, got careless and tried to force things but I sorted but out in the afternoon although I let a few putts slip by. But winning is what matters as no-one remembers who finishes second.”

Mills, on the other hand, made a 130-mile round-trip from Ridgeway Golf Club in Caerphilly for a practice round the day before and his preparation paid off.

with rounds of 69 and 73.

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Harper followed 74 with a two-under-par 69, a 143 score later matched by Ross Jones (Bath, 73 70) and Jack Stevenson (St Mellion, 72 71) who shared second, earning �360 each.

Mills becomes the first player to qualify for the region’s Race to Woodbury Park, the final Order of Merit event of the season.

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He said: “It’s an honour to win and a good accolade to have

on my CV. I tied first in an assistants’ league event at Weston-super-Mare but this is my first big win in the region.”

Former Sidmouth cricketer James Pickard (Honiton) shot 73 and 71 to take a creditable fifth place worth �240. It was his best result since changing sports.

Royal North Devon's Ross Daniel and Henbury's Ross Langdon, were two behind at lunch after par rounds of 71, but slipped out of contention.

Former regional secretary Ray Ellis (Exeter Golf and Country Club), who organised the tournament before his retirement, handed over the Ray Ellis Trophy.

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