Off colour Mew good enough for second Champions title

2014 winner Alan Mew

An off colour Alan Mew was still good enough to win his second Seniors County Champions title in three years after shooting 76 over the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa.

Following his sub-par first round 69, the second round left the Hampshire man on 145, three over par, and two strokes ahead of runner-up Paul McGarry from Shropshire & Herefordshire with Hertfordshire’s John Ambridge third on countback from Derbyshire’s Graham Coppen.

“I played horrible today,” said Mew (image copyright Leaderboard photography). “Yesterday I couldn’t miss a fairway. Today I couldn’t find one. There was no reason for it but my swing was so poor I couldn’t make anything work.

“My wife Maureen was on the bag and she tried to motivate me all the way round. Fortunately I had a good lead from the first round so I got away with it but it wasn’t pretty.”

Mew began the second round four strokes clear of playing partner Coppen but he soon ran into trouble with a double-bogey at the sixth hole. He followed that with bogeys at nine, ten and 13 before securing his only birdie at the long 14th.

Fortunately for him, Coppen was also failing to find his first round form and even another bogey at the last couldn’t deny Mew his success. “It’s always good to win but I’d liked to have done it in style,” he added.

“I’m grateful that the rest of the field didn’t play that well otherwise I would not have won. Another reason I wanted to play well was because I’m off to Scotland for the Senior Home Internationals with England in a good frame of mind.

“It was much windier today that yesterday but there was no excuse for my poor play but, as I said, I got away with it.”

One man who did play well was McGarry, whose 69 was easily the best of the day and deservedly saw him into second spot on 147, five over par.

The 57 year old son of the late Bill McGarry, who managed Wolverhampton Wanderers and Ipswich Town among others, had five birdies in his 69 and but for bogeys at the 16th and 18th would have forced a playoff with Mew.

“I played well today,” said McGarry. I struggled a bit on the back nine but overall I was pleased with the way it went. I had a hip replacement last year and not having any pain when I play is a bonus.

“This is a great course and Woodhall Spa is a delightful place to come. I last came here in 1974 for the English Amateur Championship,” added the man from Bridgnorth.

McGarry covered the front nine in 32 strokes, three under par, with birdies at the second, fifth and ninth. He dropped his first shot at 11 but hit back with further birdies at 14 and 15 before that disappointing finish.

Senior international Ambridge carded 75 for 149, admitting: “I putted like a lemon”, while Coppen said he’d had a bad day at the office with his 76 which left him out of the prizes.

But as Mew headed for North Berwick and the Senior Home Internationals he knew he had secured Hampshire’s second title of the weekend and repeated his Senior County Champions success of 2012.