Andy putts his way to county crown

GOLF: Andy Cotton captured the GHB Roofing Suffolk PGA matchplay title at Thorpeness.Cotton won his semi-final against Paul Kent down the first extra hole.

GOLF

ANDY Cotton captured the GHB Roofing Suffolk PGA matchplay title at Thorpeness.

Cotton won his semi-final against Paul Kent down the first extra hole.

But in the final Cotton's superior putting enabled him to overcome Shane Warren of the Suffolk Water Park Driving Range by the convincing margin of 5 and 4.

The strength of the wind increased during the day. In the semi-final Kent, the holder, was two up after 11 but Cotton fought back to end all-square. Cotton's drive down the first was hooked into trees while Kent had the whip hand with a drive down the fairway.

Cotton took a provisional off the tee, but found his original ball in reasonably good shape and played it to the fringe of the green. Kent, in the meantime, chipped into a bunker short of the green and the ball finished just under the lip.

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An accurate long putt enabled Cotton to record a par four but Kent dropped a shot which ended his challenge. Kent had overcome Robin Mann at the third extra hole in the second round. But on the second day his luck ran out.

Warren beat Tim Cooper of Newton Green 2 and 1 in a well-fought semi-final in the bottom section of the draw.

Warren won the first hole in the final with a par but that was the only time he had his nose in front. Cotton drew level on the 182-yard par three second even though he was hardly in pole position after the tee shots.

Warren was just through the green but three putted. Cotton secured his par from a greenside bunker on the left.

On the third Cotton's drive clattered into the trees on top of the hill on the right. The ball ended lodged in a buggy. He was allowed a free drop and put his second on to the fringe of the green, which enabled him to halve the hole in par.

Cotton went ahead at the fifth after Warren missed a short putt. He went two up at the pond hole, the 178-yard par three seventh. Cotton's tee shot ended behind the hedge to the left of the green while Warren was plugged in a bunker just short of the green.

Cotton's high chip was immaculate leaving him a 15-foot uphill putt which he sank. Warren had a putt of much the same distance across the slope and missed out.

Cotton went three up at the turn after another disappointing putt by Warren.

Both players were on the green on the par three 10th but Cotton, putting first, sunk the ball from some 20 feet for a birdie and Warren could not match such accuracy.

At the 11th Cotton's drive was caught by the wind and ended in a bush while Warren was in the middle of the fairway. With the hole there for the taking Warren's six iron was also caught by the wind and ended in wet bracken to the left of the green. A scrappy hole ended halved.

Cotton won the 12th when Warren lost the ball to the left from his drive. Cotton completed his first victory in this event since 1997 when the 14th was halved. Both players struck the ball well at times, but Cotton's putting was the telling factor.