Jones’ rally too much for Marley

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Playing against Guernsey’s Mick Marley, Jones had struggled in the morning despite going two holes up early on.

Marley then came back strongly, to be two holes to the good after 14 before Jones squared the match at the end of the morning session.Neither golfer was playing to form, but if the first 18 holes had been scrappy, the final 18 saw real commitment from the two men plus a final onslaught from Jones which Marley just couldn’t match.By hole nine in the second round Marley was one up, having squared the game on the 397-yard eighth hole and then winning the ninth by a clear three shots.By the 11th the Guernsey man was two up, and by the 13th he was further in the lead after Jones conceded a penalty stroke for hitting a moving ball, although it was as much as a surprise to him as it was to everyone else when the ball rolled forward as he was about to hit it.But, three down with five to play, Jones seemed to be on his way out of the competition before he made an amazing recovery which began on the 14th hole, which he won in two, before an awesome shot on the 15th put all of the pressure back on Marley.As Marley said afterwards: ‘His drive on the 15th was something else.’It was, for despite the distance (331 yards), Jones put the ball on the green and two-putted for a three compared to Marley’s four.With so few holes to play by this time, Marley’s aim was to play solid, unfussy golf, putting all of the pressure on the Jersey man to go for a big hit and to make mistakes in the process.

However, it didn’t work out like that.

Jones was going for his shots – and making them – and on hole 17 he levelled the match after a terrible second approach shot to the green was followed by an awesome 24ft putt which Marley just couldn’t beat.’It should have been all over by the 17th,’ said Marley.

‘I was putting inside him and thought “”if he misses, I’ll have a simple putt for the game””.

His putt went in, mine just slid by.’So to the 18th, which saw Jones outdrive Marley whose approach shot to the green was poor – Jones finishing in four, Marley in five.Jones, who had made such heavy weather of the course early on, had won, and all Marley could do was accept defeat with good grace, recognising that over 36 holes the only difference between the two men had been: ‘Two putts; it was all down to a couple of putts.’As for Jones, he was the first to admit that this was no easy win and that in both the morning and afternoon sessions he had been fighting an uphill battle.But, he said, he had continued to graft away, telling himself all the time that he wasn’t going to lose, even when he sprayed the ball into the trees at various times or pushed his putts to the left or right of the hole.In the end that massive drive on the 15th followed by an exquisite hole-winning putt on the 17th brought him back into contention, and by the 18th no-one was surprised that he drove long enough to guarantee a win.’I’m looking to turn pro in October,’ he said, after paying tribute to Marley, a silver medallist from last week’s Island Games.

‘I’ll be heading off to South Africa to play the Sunshine Tour.

Other professionals have done it before me.

Now it’s my turn.’

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