Golf: Cort quick to taste glory after Aussie trip
Matthew Cort was back in the winner's circle just hours after returning from a successful trip to Australia.
The Rothley Park star took the honours in the County Alliance tournament at Scraptoft to make it a memorable week, having finished joint runner-up in the defence of his PGA National Futures Championship at Club Catalina, in Batemans Bay, on the New South Wales coast.
Despite the dramatic difference in the weather at Scraptoft, Cort fired one-under-par 69, including two birdies and just one bogey, to win the pro-medal award on a wet, windy day.
He finished ahead of Nick Prentice (Park Hill), who carded a level-par 70, and there was a three-way tie on 72 for third between Craig Shave (Whetstone), Ian Lyner (The Leicestershire) and Bob Larratt (Kibworth).
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Cort said: "I did not have time to get my winter gear out, but it had been a long journey, so I was delighted to play well.
"It was my third top finish in an Alliance pro-medal this season, but my first outright success.
"It was a great experience to go back to Australia to compete in the PGA National Futures Championship and to go so close to a successful defence of my title.
"I enjoyed playing in the final group for the last two rounds, so saw for myself how well Sean Riordan, from New Zealand, played.
"He deserved to win. He had been close the previous year, so I knew he would be a fierce competitor.
"In the final two sessions, I really struggled over the opening nine holes.
"At one point in the final round, when nothing really went right for me, I was five-over at one stage, so I was pleased to end in a share of second with Alex Edge, from Australia.
"It is impossible to play chip-and-run shots on the course there, which made it tricky."
Cort added: "There was great spectator interest, which added to the atmosphere as the tournament reached its climax.
"Overall it was very enjoyable, first spending some time in Brisbane with Adam Hawkins, a former County amateur who is now living out there, including a game at a Greg Norman course, before going on to Sydney and then Batemans Bay, which is a lovely place."
At Scraptoft, the overall winners of the better-ball Stableford were Dennis Hewitt and Ken Abbott of the host club.
They had a total of 44 points and won the Gardner Stock Trophy, which is always at stake at this Alliance event to the leading pair from the same club.
They won by one from pro-am pair Prentice and Sam Gamble (Park Hill), with another pro-am pair, Matt Ulyett and Rob Walling (Park Hill), third on 41 points.
Matt Stephens and David Mitchell (Kirby Muxloe) took the pro-am prize on 39 points.
The am-am prize went to Michael Wells and Darren Anderson (Cosby), who ended on the same mark.