Dodd wraps up fourth Welsh title

10/11/2011 10:44:08 PM
Stephen Dodd   (Getty Images)
Stephen Dodd (Getty Images)

Stephen Dodd enjoyed the perfect warm-up for the Portugal Masters by wrapping up his fourth Welsh National PGA Professional Championship title with ease over the windswept fairways of his 'home' club Southerndown.

The three-time European Tour Champion, playing with a spare set of clubs from his garage, secured a three-shot success in the event supported by Ryder Cup Europe after carding a second round three under par 67 for a winning four under par 136 total.

Matthew Tottey (North Wales Golf Club) took second place after a two-under-par 68 eased to him one under for the tournament, with another European Tour player, Liam Bond (Marriott St Pierre), finishing third after a final day 73 took him to three-over.

Dodd, winner of the title 1995, 2001 and 2007, was more than satisfied with his two days' work as he prepares to return to the rigours of The European Tour and the Portugal Masters this week as he attempts to retain his card.

His victory in the Welsh National PGA Professional Championship along with fond memories of his World Cup success in 2005 alongside Bradley Dredge over this week’s host venue, the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, are sure to stand him in good stead in that goal.

Over the 36 holes, he was rarely troubled. He dropped a shot at the second, which he regained instantly at the third, before an eagle at the sixth and a trio of birdies from the ninth gave him a commanding lead despite a dropped shot at the seventh. He had further bogeys at the 14th  and 18th, which were tempered by a birdie at the 15th.

The win moved the 45-year-old to within two of Sid Mouland's record six titles and alongside Craig DeFoy in third on the all-time winners list.

"I'm pleased as it's been tough conditions the past two days and I did what I set out to achieve and hopefully there's a few more titles still to come," said Dodd.

"I had a good middle of the round from the sixth to the 12th with three birdies and an eagle, which gave me a bit of cushion and made the last few holes easier.

"It's nice to come back and catch up with a few of lads and see a few people as you don't get much opportunity playing on Tour, which is now my priority.

"I got what I wanted out of the week and hopefully I can take some of that form into Portugal. I've played a lot of events but not made that many cuts so it's nice to get some golf in some tough conditions, so hopefully I've learned something and can take that forward into the coming weeks."

Runner-up Matthew Tottey, whose round comprised four birdies and two bogeys, admitted his disappointment at missing out on the title but took plenty of positives from his performance after a challenging year.

"I'm a little bit disappointed as I felt I hit the ball really well from tee to green but just didn't really hole the putts that I needed to around the turn," he said.

"Stephen played really well and holed the putts at the right time and he got away from me a bit but it was a good battle, I just came up a little bit short at the end.

"But it's been a transitional year and it's nice to see some of the hard work starting to pay off."

Five bogeys and two birdies were the story for Bond, who is also facing a battle to retain his European Tour card and avoid a return to Qualifying school next month.

However, the event was more than useful as he prepares for the final weeks of the European Tour season. He said: "I was quite pleased with the way played over the two days.

"I didn't putt very well today to keep the momentum going, which was frustrating more than anything else.

"It was still tough and testing out there but Stephen played well so he was going to be hard to beat. He's a member here too, so he knows where to put the ball.

"But I'm quite happy with my game and I've got three weeks off now without a tournament and then it's off to South Africa to try and keep my card."

The tournament also decided the make-up of the three-man Wales team competing in next month's PGAs of Europe International Team Championships in Portugal. Making the plane are stalwarts Simon Edwards (Windermere) and Andrew Barnett (North Wales Golf Range) along with debutant Matthew Parsley (Holywell).

Also celebrating was Glyn Davies, who took the Senior Welsh National PGA Professional title.