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Honeymoon to remember for Curtis

Amber Curtis let her husband Thomas play golf on their honeymoon this weekend, and the decision paid off handsomely.

Thomas Curtis won the Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship, shooting a level-par 54 to finish on two-over for the tournament, two shots ahead of Jimmy Lytle, with European Senior Tour trio Anders Forsbrand, Barry Lane and Mark Mouland tied for third at five over.

“I've got to thank my wife for letting me play, although we'll probably have to go on a second honeymoon now,” Curtis, who won $20,000 for coming first, said.

“But now I've got a couple days off to spend with the family here and really enjoy our time together.”

Curtis led the tournament from start to finish, making the best of the difficult conditions on Saturday to open up a two-shot lead, and then produced a solid performance yesterday where his ability to save par ultimately made the difference.

“Saturday was just survival, I like that kind of golf,” Curtis said. “I tend to make a lot of pars and try and grind scores out, it was pretty brutal, but the golf course is so much fun.

“It's literally the tournament of the year for me.”

The Englishman was troubled briefly at the top of the leaderboard by Lane, who was two-under for the day, and three-over for the tournament through 14 yesterday, before bogeys at 16 and 18 ended his challenge.

Forsbrand, who was playing in the last group alongside Curtis, also flirted with making a run for the top but having got to within two shots on the back nine, missed birdie chances at 12 and 13, before bogeys at 14 and 16 took him back to five-over.

Not that Curtis had any idea what was going on around him, and did not even know he had won until he walked off the final green.

“I wasn't sure what the others were doing,” Curtis said. “I just tried to keep making pars, and just hope that it was going to be good enough.”

Away from the final groups, Lytle was posting one of only two under-par rounds for the weekend, shooting a two-under 52 to move to four-over for the tournament. Brian McCann, of Canada, shot the lowest round posting a four-under 50 yesterday to finish in a tie for sixth at seven over.

Lytle was clubhouse leader for a while, not that Curtis really looked like losing once he negotiated the turn with back-to-back birdies, cancelling out a bogey at 8.

There was a brief blip at 16 when Curtis rushed a par putt from two feet, missed and had to settle for bogey. “It felt like I had been waiting forever since I teed off to when I hit the putt and I was a little tentative on the first putt,” Curtis said.

“I thought ‘I don't want to wait again so I will get it out of the way'. I don't know if I just rushed it a little bit, and I didn't fancy the putt for the bogey to be honest with you, I was happy to see that one go in.”

Given the circumstances a putt from a similar distance at 17 for par could have caused Curtis a few nervous moments, but he knocked it in with a minimum of fuss.

“I wasn't missing that one, I wasn't going to make the same mistake there.”

The win has capped a hectic couple of months for Curtis and his wife, who recently welcomed baby daughter Calét to the family. That, and the poor weather, meant Curtis has not been able to play much over the past couple of months.

His only time on the course has been at the six hole par 3 Repton Short Course at Rudding Park in Yorkshire — a facility whose signature 5th hole is an exact replica of the 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

“I've been playing that [course] on the loop, so I'll have to tell the guys back home, they'll be excited for me.”

For now, Curtis plans on returning to his base in Florida while he tries to earn his card on one of the tours. “I'm looking forward to spending some time with my family,” he said.

Mark Phillips, meanwhile, shot a final round 58 to finish on 12-over, enough for a two-shot win in the men's amateur division, ahead of Paul Bonenfant, with Mike McCrimmon three shots further back in third.

In the women's division Heather Fudge, of Canada, eased to an 11- shot win over Katrin Burnie and Linda Down, who tied for second at 30 over.

Curtis putts for par on the 13th at Turtle Hill Golf Club today. He won the professional championship by two strokes (Photograph by Josh Ball)

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Published March 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm (Updated March 30, 2015 at 12:41 am)

Honeymoon to remember for Curtis

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