Barham retains title
Benn Barham shot a 14-underpar three-round total of 202 to retain his Samsung PGA Southern Professional title at Kings Hill.
The 39-year-old former European Tour pro, who lives in Tenterden, picked up the winner’s cheque of £3,000 together with another £500 after finishing tied with Littlestone’s Charles Wilson as joint-winner of the event’s Pro Am.
Barham came from five shots off the lead to overtake new course record holder Craig Cowper, of Surrey Downs, whose 10-under first round 62 set the early pace.
Cowper finished second, one shot behind, with fellow Surrey man Chris Gane, third on 204.
Barham’s victory leaves him in real contention to successfully defend his Virgin Atlantic PGA South Order of Merit title with two events left.
It looks a straight shoot-out between him and leader James Ablett (Lee-on-the Solent). Only six points separate the two players, with Gane third.
Barham shot 68, 67, 67, including only two bogeys but said: “Frustratingly, I was struggling with my putting on what were some of the best surfaces we’ve played on this year. But I stuck at it and fortunately for me, no-one shot the lights out in the third round.”
Cowper didn’t hide his disappointment after shooting 73 in his final round.
He said: “I had 25 putts and misjudging my approach to the final green ending in a bogey was the only error, while two other makeable birdie putts went begging.”
Barham’s success followed another tie with Gane in the Seve Ballasteros Foundation Pro-Am at Foxhills in Surrey, both players carding nine birdies in their rounds of 63.
The event, now in it’s sixth year, has helped raise funds totalling more than £250,000 in aid of a cure for brain cancer and providing chances for underprivileged children to play.
Barbara Down and Jill Gambling (West Malling), and Kate Dilks and Sheila Waddell, finished second and third respectively in Littlestone Warren’s fourball betterball competition.
Lady captain Down and Gambling finished with 44 points, four behind winners Shell Foster and Lynette Whitehead, of Bearsted, with vice- captain Dilks and Waddell on 43 points.
They finished ahead of Cheryl Denne and Jenny Hook (London Beach), followed by six teams – all on 42 points.
Eighteen club members and guests from other Kent and Sussex clubs competed.
Individual prizes went to guests Gambling and Maureen HopeWatts, of Dale Hill (East Sussex) and Littlestone pair Gill Singfield and Gloria Foster.
From left, Barbara Down, Jill Gambling, Lynette Whitehead, Shell Foster, Sheila Waddell and Kate Dilks
Benn Barham – won title at Kings Hill GC