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Former champion Jason Levermore and club captain Henry Appiah served up a stunning back nine to catapult Channels Golf Club into their third successive Golfplan Insurance PGA Pro-Captain Challenge grand final.
The duo carded an eight under par 61 at The Addington to secure their spot in the £25,000 final, which takes place at Spanish destination Lumine Mediterránea Beach & Golf Community.
The resort, which features two Greg Norman designs, will stage the event over 36 holes from Wednesday, November 30 – Thursday, December 1.
With Channels having reached the last two finals, Levermore revealed 18 handicapper Appiah had been getting a lot of stick from club members about maintaining that record but the captain showed no nerves as he rose to the occasion in magnificent fashion with a hat-trick of birdies to clinch a one stroke victory over Southwood’s Chris Hudson and Steve Dicker and Camberley Heath’s Steve Speller and Darren Noel.
“We just didn’t get going on the front nine but I picked up a birdie on 10 and said to Henry let’s have a good solid back nine to give ourselves a chance,” said Levermore.
“I birdied 14 for us to get to five under and then Henry birdied 15, 16 and 17. I left an eight or nine footer short at the last and hoped that wouldn’t cost us and luckily it didn’t.”
“It’s the third year in a row we’ve reached the final since I’ve been there which is nice and is all good publicity for the club.”
“The members take a massive interest. Neil Hutchinson, who I won with two years ago, is a massive character at the club and with reaching the final last year with Graham they’ve all been giving Henry stick about making sure he makes it three in a row so I’m really pleased for him that we did it.”
Appiah, an accountant from Barnston who has been a member at Channels for 14 years, paid tribute to serial winner Levermore.
“It was a bit scary wondering whether I would be able to keep the record of reaching the final going so it was great to play with Jason who is a very good golfer and he had the right temperament which helps,” he added.
“When you are down he lifts your spirits. After the front nine I was a bit down and he said don’t worry, you are going to do fine on the back nine and that’s exactly what happened.”
It was also a memorable day for Hartley Wintney captain Tony Wise who aced the 195-yard par three 17th.
GOLFPLAN INSURANCE PGA PRO-CAPTAIN CHALLENGE supported by Sompo Canopius South A Regional Qualifier at The Addington, Thursday 01 September 2016
|1||-8 (61)||Jason Levermore||Henry Appiah||Channels|
|2=||-7 (62)||Chris Hudson||Stever Dicker||Southwood|
|Stephen Speller||Darren Noel||Camberley Heath|
Image of Channels PGA Professional Jason Levermore, left, and club captain Henry Appiah attached for free use courtesy of Christopher Lee at Getty Images.