WEYMOUTH’S Michael Watson overcame several spirited challenges to win the Forest Classic for his second PGA West Region Order of Merit tournament of the season.
It may not have been the walk in the park many envisaged following his nine-under-par 60 in the opening round at Bells Hotel in the Forest of Dean, but he eventually eventually triumphed by three strokes in Gloucestershire.
Watson landed two steadying birdies on the final two holes after momentary scares during his second round at Forest Hills.
His four-shot overnight lead evaporated to just one when his playing partner, Dan Carter, rolled in a birdie at the 14th.
And with experienced former European Tour ace Stuart Little (65) posting the day’s best total of six-under-par to lead on eight-under, the Wessex Golf Centre star’s lead was insecure, but he powered home to claim the win.
Another former tour man, David Dixon, and the consistent Richard O’Hanlon also threatened but ultimately shared fourth after late errors.
Watson, who won for the seventh time in a golden July, said: “I thought that if I broke par today I would be all right.
“I didn’t putt as well as I did on the first day when it looked as if I could make 59 until I overshot the final green when I needed to make my 12th birdie.
“I had a shaky time when I put my ball in the water at 11 and three-putted 12 to go back to level for the day.
“Dan was playing so nicely alongside me my lead soon became only one.
“I thought at the time it was going to be a battle between the two of us.
“But I played the last few holes well. I made four at the par-five 15th, followed up with a 12-footer at the next, and almost made birdies at the last two as well.”
Watson also won the better-ball competition with 16-year-old Chepstow schoolboy Dan Maller, who was enlisted just before the first round.
They carded 93 points to win by four from Richard Dinsdale and his father John, and Carter playing with 13-handicapper Karim Kabbara.
Watson extended his lead in the Order of Merit with only the Marstons West Region PGA Championship to play.