UPAVON Golf Club assistant professional Dan Carter enjoyed his best finish in a West Region PGA order of merit tournament by sharing second place in the Forest Classic at Bells Hotel Forest of Dean and Forest Hills courses in Gloucestershire, writes PETER GODSIFF.

The 27-year-old Carter came close to taking second on his own but a 12-foot birdie putt on the last just slipped wide so he joined the experienced former European Tour player Stuart Little (Minchinhampton) who posted the day’s best return of six-under-par 65 on eight-under 133.

Last year’s Titleist-Footjoy Assistants order of merit winner said: “Three successive birdies from the ninth put me in with a chance before I three-putted 12 for my only bogey.

“It was my best finish in an OOM event by quite a way. I couldn’t get the ball quite close enough to sink many putts on the second day. I recovered well on the opening round for I was two-over early on before I made a run of birdies.”

He actually crept to within one shot of eventual winner Michael Watson (Wessex Golf Centre, Weymouth) when he rolled in a birdie at the par three 14th after playing partner Watson had missed his putt.

Watson won for the seventh time in a golden July and shot a record breaking nine-under-par 60 on the first day. He said: “I thought that if I broke par today I would be all right. I didn’t putt as well as I did on the first day when it looked as if I could make 59 until I overshot the final green when I needed to make my 12th birdie.

“I had a shaky time today when I put my ball in the water at 11 and three-putted 12 to go back to level for the day. Dan was playing so nicely my lead soon became only one. I thought at the time it was going to be a battle between the two of us.

“But I played the last few holes well. I made four at the par five 15th, followed with a 12-footer at the next and almost made birdies at the last two as well.”

Watson also won the better-ball with 16-year-old Chepstow schoolboy Dan Maller who was enlisted just before the first round. Watson’s regular partner was ill so tournament controller Tom Sheffield invited the seven-handicapper, who is a member of both courses, to step in.

They carded 93 points to win by four from Richard Dinsdale (Parc Golf Academy) and his father John, and Carter playing with 13-handicapper Karim Kabbara.