CHRIS Paisley could have been excused for thinking he was back playing a two-round weekend county amateur event yesterday rather than completing his first appearance as a European Tour player.
The former Northumberland champion and Walker Cup player signed for a two-under 63 in the second and last round of the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa.
After heavy rainstorms washed out the first two days and saturated the fairways at Royal Durban, the event was cut from 72 holes to 36 on a course reduced to a par 65 by changing four holes to par threes.
That was enough time for Paisley, who won his card on this year’s Challenge Tour, to make a respectable start to the new main tour season.
Following a one-over 66 on Saturday, Paisley began at the tenth for his Sunday round and enjoyed a run of three birdies in four holes at 14, 15 and 17. He remained three under for the round until a closing bogey. A one-under total of 129 left him as one of 15 players to tie for 39th place. Had there been a cut, Hartlepool’s Graeme Storm (69 65) and Penrith’s Gary Lockerbie (70 64) – both four over – would have missed it by three shots.
Scotland’s Scott Jamieson (pictured below) won the tournament, shooting a second-round 57 and then beating England’s Steve Webster and Spaniard Edoardo de la Riva in a play-off.
After an opening round of 66, Jamieson and Paisley were one of 26 players tied for 68th place and Jamieson admitted afterwards: “Starting the day I didn’t think I would be standing here holding the trophy.”
Jamieson could have won it outright in regulation play. On the 305-yard ninth – his last – he drove the green but just missed a 12-foot eagle attempt and had to settle for a seven-under total.
Meanwhile, Matfen Hall’s John Harrison signed off the Seniors Tour season with 42nd place in the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius and a final ranking of 35th on the Order of Merit.
Harrison had a nine-over total of 225 after rounds of 75, 77 and 73. South African David Frost won on 11-under with this season’s Slaley Hall winner, Rookie of the Year Paul Wesselingh, tied sixth.
DAVID Hartley , the former Chester-le-Street assistant and son of ex-Roseberry Grange pro Alan Hartley, has joined De Vere Slaley Hall as an assistant pro and membership adviser.