With a stunning score of five-under-par 131*, amateur Jacob Smith won The Golf College Challenge by two shots to become their third home-grown winner in 12 years.
Smith’s terrific performance marked a fast return to form after a fallow period, and it was enough to shade the card of 133 of past winner Michael Lowe (Leatherhead) by two, although Lowe was the one who took the £550 cheque.
Off seven handicap just two years ago, Smith is now off one and pushing for scratch, and proof of The Golf College’s** position as the way into professional golf. Run by Paul Lyons and Denis Pugh, its teachers now include Tim Spence, Ben Clayton from Hindhead and Jack Bado, one of the college’s former students.
In third spot was another product of The Golf College, amateur Lauren Horsford who shot a one-under-par 135, and who will soon be playing on the Ladies Access Tour as a PGA Professional.
Despite a strong wind all day long and the threat of rain, Smith made a very fast start, reaching the turn in the morning in 29 shots to be five-under-par. He steered his way through the tight back nine to finish on 63 and in pole position.
Just two shots in front of southern star and multiple winner Lowe, Smith went out in the afternoon in one-under-par and dropped just the one shot on the back nine to finish with a par round and five-under for the day.
Going out last, Lowe dropped a shot to par going out, and was now four behind Smith. Three birdies and two bogeys on the back nine clawed back two shots from Smith, enough to take second spot and head off Horsford.
Tim Spence of The Golf College, was delighted with the day’s results, saying, “This is the 12th time we’ve laid on this event, and it’s growing in popularity with the up and coming young and successful PGA Professionals, witnessed by the presence of proven winners like Michael Lowe, Jordan Godwin, Tom Muchmore and Charlie Wilson.”
“The Golf College itself is now established as one of the leading places for young amateurs to take their next step into the world of professional golf, and we’ve got 46 students this year alone. One of our annual highlights is our 11 weeks of winter training from early January to mid-March, which we now run at Castro Marin in Portugal where the weather this year was superb – we didn’t miss a day’s training on the course.”
Summing up, Spence said, “It’s been another great day for The Golf College, and congratulations to Jacob Smith, he’s definitely a name to watch.”