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Who will be Millbrook master?


James Watts (Kingsway Golf Centre) is taking nothing for granted in his bid to lock down a top-three place in the Order of Merit race.

Watts, 31, will head to October 2-3’s KJW Millbrook Masters (including the East Anglian Open) in pole position after winning the East Region Championship at Bishop’s Stortford.

The Hertfordshire golfer has a narrow 16-point lead over second-placed James Ruebotham (Welwyn Garden City) with a further 10 points back to Jason Levermore (Little Channels Golf Centre).

All three are currently on course for a spot in the season-ending PGA Play-Offs in Antalya, Turkey, from November 27-29.

But, with lots of points up for grabs – starting with 270 on offer for first place – they will have to play well at The Millbrook to keep at bay the chasing pack that includes fourth-placed Mark Talbott (Thorpe Hall), and fellow in-form golfers such as Glen Portelli (Old Fold Manor) and David Salisbury (Three Rivers Golf & Country Club).

Watts said: “I haven’t checked the numbers but I’m pretty sure if two, three and four finish ahead of me, then I’ll probably drop out of the top three. So I’m certainly not resting on my laurels. The job is not done until it’s done, is it?

“I’ve got to go out there and try and get as many points as I can. But number one is a good place to be. We’ll just see what happens.”

Watts travels to The Millbrook with good memories of the attractive tree-lined Bedfordshire course. Last year he finished second to Mason Papple (Stock Brook Manor Golf & Country Club) when his excellent course strategy and precise iron-play were rewarded.

Watts added: “It’s a patience golf course. If you can be patient then you can do well. It’s when you start getting frustrated and trying to smash it round corners that you come unstuck. You’ve got to put your golf ball in the right place. You can’t try and overpower it.”

The final-year trainee has had a heavy workload since his early-September success at Bishop’s Stortford, but is confident he’ll be ready for The Millbrook after a couple of competitive engagements in the days leading up to it.

“I’ll have plenty of ‘bat-on-ball’ beforehand,” Watts said.