Ablett strikes to win Hampshire Strokeplay

James Ablett
James Ablett
Harry Ellis. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

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James Ablett blew the rest of the field away to cruise to the Hampshire PGA Strokeplay Championship title but admitted: It should have been even better.

The Lee-on-the-Solent professional carded a 36-hole winning total of 131 – 11-under par and seven strokes clear of nearest rival Jon Le Roux after two scintillating rounds at Hockley.

Ablett fired himself to the top of the pile with a five-under-par 66 in the morning round that included six birdies and just one bogey.

But even though he went even better in the afternoon to shoot seven birdies in his 65, Ablett felt he should have been threatening the low 60s after standing at seven-under-par for the round on the 14th tee.

Ablett said: ‘I probably could have sneaked a couple more birdies out of it.

‘I played really solid golf – it wasn’t a case of hitting glorious shots all the time but I gave myself plenty of chances and took a fair percentage of them.

‘I don’t think I missed a fairway but it was definitely on to shoot a low score even though there was a bit of breeze around.

‘The greens were receptive and there was a bit of room off the tee on most holes.

‘But I was a bit disappointed with the afternoon round because I was seven under at the 14th with two par fives and two relatively short par fours to come.

‘The only one dangerous shot was the tee shot at the 16th and I bogeyed it.

‘I was looking to get it to eight or nine under and I didn’t know how the other scores were going so I wanted to drive myself on.

‘But you can’t complain too much when you win.’

It was a Lee-on-the-Solent reunion with Steve Richardson also in Ablett’s playing group.

But the former Ryder Cup star failed to find his best with two rounds of 74 to leave him in a tie for 17th place.

Corhampton’s Ian Roper shot a second-round 69 to claim joint third at 141, while Hayling’s Mark Treleaven was a stroke further back after rounds of 70 and 72.

Cams Hall’s Sam Pleshette (154) and Portsmouth Golf Centre’s James Moore (155) finished further down the field.

It was Ablett’s first victory on the Hampshire PGA in his only appearance so far this season, while he has picked up two fifth-place finishes in the Southern Region’s two events.

But despite his impressive form, the 33-year-old left-hander has decided against attempting to qualify for the Open Championship at final regional qualifying.

He said: ‘I toyed with the idea but it’s a lot of money to spend out and there are only three spots for 120 guys at each course.

‘It can turn into an expensive golf holiday and I would rather spend that money on going to Tour School at the end of the year.’