Coles delighted to come out on top at Ingrebourne Links following play-off showdown
PUBLISHED: 08:25 09 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:25 09 August 2019
Maylands Golf & Country Club's Rob Coles beat James Ruebotham (Welwyn Garden City) at the first play-off hole to win at Ingrebourne Links this week.
Both players finished level par on the day, as gusting winds made the Essex course a real test and they returned to the par-four first hole, which was playing downwind.
Ruebotham just missed the fairway on the left, before Coles raised the pressure by fizzing a 162-yard wedge shot to within 18 feet of the hole.
Ruebotham was unable to find the green with his approach and Coles, 46, just needed to two-putt to secure his first Order of Merit win since September 2017.
The former European Tour professional coolly rolled his first putt to within inches of the hole before sealing success and said: "I'm delighted to win because I haven't really played my best the last few weeks, months. Anytime you win an Order of Merit event is great.
"I hit a couple of really good shots, which haven't been there recently, so I was pleased with that. Then I just hung on at the end, which was equally pleasing when you've been struggling.
"It was a challenging day, but it's a great course and it had its teeth out. So it was a challenge and I suppose sometimes when you have to get a bit gritty it's quite nice - you can get into it. So I enjoyed that - it was great."
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Coles, who fired three birdies in his round of 72, will be hoping for a third overall Order of Merit triumph after finishing top of the pile in 2016 and 2017.
But he also has other things on his mind with a second PGA Cup appearance for Great Britain and Ireland drawing closer.
Coles, who finished top points scorer in GB & Ireland's win at Foxhills two years, will be a key member of the team that will bid to defend the PGA Cup in Austin, Texas at the end of September.
Coles added: "I need to do a lot of hard work before and I know that. I'm having a short break now and when I come back I've got to get my head down."
Third place went to last year's overall Order of Merit winner Jason Levermore (Little Channels), while Daniel Gibbs (Ingrebourne Links) put up a strong performance on home soil to finish fourth.
Ruebotham tops the Order of Merit standings at the halfway stage, ahead of Levermore, Glen Portelli (Old Fold Manor) and Coles.
Ingrebourne Links Championship (PGA in England East, Order of Merit): 72 R Coles* (Maylands Golf & Country Club), J Ruebotham (Welwyn Garden City); 73 J Levermore (Little Channels Golf Centre); 74 D Gibbs (Ingrebourne Links); 75 J Nicholls (The Rayleigh Club), G Portelli (Old Fold Manor), N Cunningham (Bedford & County); 76: M Spooner (Glen Lodge), A Smith (East Herts), S Hudson (Warren), J Mynott, M Cousens (Grims Dyke), P Fiddes (Hartsbourne Country Club); 77 J Watts (Kingsway Golf Centre), J Webber (The Rayleigh Club), R Watson (Porters Park), L Kennedy (Chelmsford), C Cutchie (Colchester), C Davis (Eaton).
*won at first play-off hole.