Freer beats the elite to land Toft title

Scott Freer at Toft Golf Club
Scott Freer at Toft Golf Club

Scott Freer has been crowned club champion at Toft after leading the club’s elite players by six shots after two days of competition.

The 20-year-old scratch player ended his weekend on 138, well clear of runner-up and former winner Michael Bentley on 144 and former professional and defending champion James Dair with 145.

As well as the 2012 winner, Dair, the field entering the club’s annual strokeplay championship included several A team players.

The first day’s play was in excellent conditions with a challenging course set up to play as long as possible, with pins tucked away in the corners of the greens.

Bentley took the early lead with a round that included five birdies, exhibiting both his power and silky short game, to post a gross 68, three under par and three shots ahead of Freer on 71. James Dair and James Joyce both returned 72s, keeping them in the running. Benito Sciavi and Emile van der Meuwe scored 75 and a 76 from Daniel Hines left him with an outside chance.

The conditions were very different on day two with a strong cross wind putting a premium on ball control.

The field had thinned to just 10 players with only half of them having a realistic winning chance and a good early round of 72 was posted by Hines.

The main contenders of Bentley, Freer and Dair played together but despite Bentley’s subtle psychological banter his lead did not last long with Freer making four birdies on the front nine to take the lead by one while Dair also caught up by one shot.

The momentum was with the young golfer and he showed that his experience, gained caddying for professional golfer Darryn Lloyd in South Africa and at this year’s British Open had taught him lessons in handling stressful situations. He overcame the pressure with four more birdies and had virtually won the competition by the 17th tee, after Bentley double bogeyed the 16th.

Dair was grinding out the pars but could not find the putting touch.

An aggressive move from Freer, trying to get the course record saw his drive for the par four green on 18 caught in the greenside trap to giving him a bogey finish but a still brilliant 67. He had taken nine shots from Bentley and five from Dair to join the ranks of Toft champions.