WESSEX professional Jon Bevan is leaving the West Region in the same way as he arrived 10 years ago – with an order of merit victory.
On moving from Essex in 2002 the former East Region order of merit champion announced himself by winning the South Wales Open at Newport.
His departure at the end of this season for a new post in North Wales was marked by his second Race to Woodbury Park triumph in the final tournament at Woodbury Park, the regional headquarters.
“I’ve had a most enjoyable stay in the West and it has been a pleasure working at Wessex Golf Centre with Michael Watson and Fern Grimshaw but it’s time for a new challenge,” he said after winning the Woodbury tournament by two shots, with a closing 71 for a nine-under-par return of 135.
He is joining Lee Harpin at Rhos-on-Sea Golf Club and will be playing nationally and in the North Region from next year.
Bevan was odds-on favourite to add the title to the Forest Classic he won a month earlier after assuming a four-shot first round on eight-under-par 64 when every putt seemed to drop.
But it is never easy retaining a lead, especially when experienced Richard O’Hanlon (The Point at Polzeath) is snapping away beside you.
When Bevan three-putted the tenth O’Hanlon forged ahead with a birdie. But Bevan levelled again with a birdie at the next and followed with another at the 14th.
The key hole was the uphill 475-yard par-five 16th when both players pulled drives into the light rough.
Bevan found the green but O’Hanlon carved his ball off the cart path into the undergrowth and performed heroics to make six. Bevan two-putted from the fringe for a birdie and moved three clear of his rival.
Bevan, 45, added: “I was playing a bit safe until Richard caught me and it became a matchplay situation. This forced me to up my game.”
His one disappointment was finishing fourth in the Race to Woodbury Park, fewer than 12 points behind Paul Hendriksen (Dinnaton) while Matt Dearden (Vale Hotel) and Lee Thompson (Dudsbury) maintained their top two positions. Hendriksen and Thompson shared seventh on three-under-par.
Michael Watson (Wessex), this year’s leading money winner, had a disappointing final tournament and finished tied 31st on 149 alongside Mark Wiggett (Dudsbury).
West Region PGA (Woodbury Park): Leading final scores: 135 Jon Bevan (Wessex Golf Centre) 64 71 £2,000, 137 Stuart Little (Minchinhampton) 71 66 £1,042, Sion Bebb (Vale Hotel) 70 67 £1,042, 138 Russell Berry (RB Golf Range) 70 68 £554, Richard O'Hanlon (The Point at Polzeath) 68 70 £554, 140 Craig Bell (Ogbourne Downs) 698 71 £420, Lee Thompson (Dudsbury) 73 68 £292, Paul Hendriksen (Dinnaton) 72 69 £292, Liam Bond (Marriott St Pierre) 71 70 £292, Ross Jones (Bath) 68 73 £292.