West of England Senior Champs; close call for Churston’s Rick Osborne

It was a case of so close but yet so far for Churston’s Rick Osborne at the West of England Seniors' Open at Burnham and Berrow this week.

The first England Golf Seniors' Order of Merit event of the season attracted the usual powerful field of senior players from around the country to the Somerset links, and the event started on Tuesday 25th April in shirt-sleeve weather.

The Wisley’s Stephen Jensen set the pace. Winner of last year’s Scottish Senior Championship, the +1 player whistled around Burnham in a new-course record 63, 7-under par for the current course with it’s par 3 12th hole (the new par-4 12th hole opens this weekend and looks spectacular)

Osborne was the closest challenger after a cracking 3-under 67, which put him a shot ahead of former international George Best Wilson from Calcot Park, 2 ahead of Steven Creed from Stratford-on Avon.

The second day dawned much colder and with a heavier breeze as the field went out in reverse order, leaders out last as is traditional. The front 9 played very hard, Wilson and Creed both falling back. Aided by an eagle at the 4th Osborne was only 2 adrift after 9, then level after 13 before a birdie 2 at 14th took him a shot ahead. He held on to that advantage until the final hole.

Down 18 Osborne found himself standing in a bunker, with the ball outside the hazard in a very poor lie and he gripping on the steel trying to recover the position; it was a desperate piece of fortune. Not really able to save the situation he then chipped up to 6-foot for 4 but missed the putt for a 5. Jensen made his par to win by a solitary shot.

Jensen and Osborne were the only two players under par for the event, Creed finishing 3rd on 143 with Tidworth’s Mark Snape finishing 4th on 145. There was a 6-way tie for 5th on 147 which included 4 England internationals

Rick’s 72 was still the best score of the second day, and despite that reverse of fortune down the final hole he remained intensely upbeat about his performance. He is justifiably very proud of performing so well in that situation and against a field of that quality.

For the rest of the Devon players the best finisher was Warren’s Tim Jones, whose second day 73 pushed him up into 21st place on 152. Tim Aggett was 29th on 154, Mark Taylor 43rd on 158, Nick Draper 66th on 165

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