Practice makes perfect for in-form Ablett

Lee-on-the-Solent's James Ablett
Lee-on-the-Solent's James Ablett
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James Ablett shot a stunning seven-under-par 65 to take the £1,500 top prize at the Stoneham Pro-Am – his fourth tournament win in as many weeks.

Despite strong winds, the Lee-on-the-Solent star pushed the impressive five-under-par cards of 67 by early leaders Adam Wootton and Chris Gane into the runners-up spot.

Ablett, the former south region number one, reckons there is no secret to his recent run of success, though.

He said: ‘I’ve just put in the practice!

‘To be fair, I’ve also been kept on the straight and narrow with some top-class coaching.

‘But as we all know, it’s the hours and hours of practice that grounds all that guidance into a swing you can trust.

‘The overnight rain made the greens nice targets.

‘My short game’s sharper, too. But again, that’s down to plenty of practice.’

Ablett started well with birdies on the first and third holes before an eagle at the sixth.

However, a dropped shot at the ninth left him turning three-under.

After pars through the next three holes, Ablett found top gear again with back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th.

The onset of rain and a dropped shot on the 15th did not put the left-handed player off his stride.

He deuced the 16th and birdied the final two holes to finish on 33 for the back nine – making a magical 65 shots to grab the victory.

Not unsurprisingly, Ablett also led his Ridon Joinery team to a similarly handsome victory – this time by five more than their nearest rivals led by Ryan Fitzgerald, from Burgess Hill.

Ablett’s earnings at Stoneham bumped him into an interesting three-man group at the top of the PGA South Order of Merit.

He is now jostling for position with ProAgenda.com’s Guy Woodman and Canterbury’s Richard Wallis at the summit. And with plenty of events left, a vintage scrap is in prospect.

Ablett added: ‘Stoneham’s now in really great condition after all the hard work the club and greenkeeping team have put into restoring the heathland challenge.

‘It’s always a great day out thanks to the efforts of Richard Arnold (general manager) and Ian Young (head professional).

‘But playing well and holing a few decent putts always makes things taste that much better!’

The next major event in the South Order of Merit is the PGA Surrey Open Championship at Clandon Regis on July 27-28.