Dodd runner up in Suffolk PGA Match Play Championship

Lawrence Dodd Suffolk PGA Match playKeith Preston (left) shakes hands with a vanquished Lawrence Dodd after his 5 and 4 victory in the final of the Suffolk PGA Matchplay Championship.

Keith Preston of Aldeburgh, a Fellow of the PGA and head coach to Suffolk men, ladies and boys, won the Suffolk PGA match play title for the first time in windy conditions at Thorpeness.

The 48-year-old Preston played some of the best golf of his career to overcome Tony Dobson (Stonham Barns) in the first round and then holder Chris Smith of Fynn Valley in the quarter-finals. Smith had won the Ransomes Cup twice in the last three years.

In the semi-final Preston claimed the scalp of former Scottish amateur international Peter Latimer who is a first year trainee at Felixstowe Ferry. Preston closed out a 3 and 2 victory with a tee shot to within five feet at the 206-yard par three 16th hole. He birdied three of the final five holes of a match that had been nip and tuck up to the 12th.

In the final Preston went ahead with a birdie at the first against former England amateur international Lawrence Dodd (Bury Golf Range) and never looked back. Dodd, with PGA European Tour and Challenge Tour experience, has completed his first year of PGA training. Preston went four up at the turn with a slice of luck. Both players were in ferns to the left of the fairway with their second shots. Preston found his ball. Dodd did not.

A birdie at the par-three 10th put Preston five up. He lost the 13th when Dodd had a birdie and Preston was in trouble to the left of the green but it was all over after the par-five 14th. Dodd’s prodigious second shot flew through the back of the green Preston chipped to eight feet and sunk the birdie putt. Dodd’s third, from lush grass, was 12 feet short of the pin. He missed the slippery downhill birdie putt.

Preston was accurate off the tee, played some tremendous approach shots and putted well on the excellent Thorpeness greens. He started as the outsider when faced with the holder in the quarter-final and then two former amateur internationals on the second day. He maintained his concentration and, once ahead, was tenacious and in no mood to let Dodd back into the match.

In the other semi-final Dodd had swept away the challenge of Alex Lucas, the head professional from Waldringfield, by a 5 and 4 margin.

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