23 Jul Robert Watkins Wins The JHJ Barker trophy
The field was very tight going into the second round but the weather played it’s part in loosening up the leaderboard. Tough conditions saw a host of N/Rs give those a way back in the field some initial hope but that proved a false dawn as Rob Watkins kept his card, and his nerve, under control to ease to victory. His round of 66 added to a 69 in round one saw him finish 4 clear of Mark Wareing in second place.
[pictured above – Isaac Davey-Day tees off in tough conditions and (inset) Rob Watkins on the 6th. Photo of Isaac courtesy of The Halifax Courier]
Mid way through the day the clubhouse lead was with Adam Gibson and Geoff Whitworth after a glut of N/Rs. Matt Saxon, Lee Earnshaw, John Hodson and first round leader Rob Ogden all succumbed and an out of sorts 82 from Chris Thornsby suggested that the result might have been a complete curve ball. Heading out on the front nine Rob himself wasn’t really entertaining a low score with a few 3-putts and a fair share of bogeys over the first six holes. But then a run of six pars from the 7th through to the 12th put his card back on track. Asked how the round went after Rob said, “Then I went on a run of pars and just kept my head down and slowly, slowly began to be more consistent. Coming up the last I thought I could be in with a chance.” And with a par at the last Rob had clinched a winning score.
We had a chat to Rob after his victory to find out a little more about our first Major winner of the season. Rob was a member of a course in South Wales for 15+ years, Newport Golf Club, before moving up north in the late 90s to Manchester and then moved to Tod on 2007. Work and family meant little golf for many years (most of us know that feeling, Rob!) but now he’s able to get out more and the golf is a little more consistent. Featured in Golf Monthly last August and Today’s Golfer in October for the 72 Golf Challenge for work colleague Mark Graham, Rob raised £5K for the UTS foundation. Playing the 72 Holed at Heswall Golf Club was supporting Putt for Cancer, 72 holes to handicap, walking 25 miles and teeing off in pitch black at 5am – “a really memorable day for a great guy and great cause”. When asked about his JHJ win he said, “it was actually the 72 Holed charity that got my game back on track”.
We also asked Rob to give his vital golfing stats for his profile so here you go….well done Rob for his Major win.