WINDERMERE golfer John Baines will swap the Lake District for the Bahamas after clinching top spot in the Virgin Atlantic PGA National Pro-Am Championship at Dunham Forest.
Baines is a greenkeeper at Windermere Golf Club, and finished top of the leader board along with pro Simon Edwards on countback after a three-way tie after they shot a seven-under-par 65.
But the 53-year-old admitted he made a nervous start to the day as he was keen to help Welshman Edwards make the final, which will be held in the Bahamas where a £5,000 first prize is on offer at the Sandals Resort Emerald Bay on November 23-28.
“I knew Simon was really up for it and I didn’t want to let him down,” said Baines. “But I had a few decent moments including a 25ft putt at the 16th for a birdie.
“It proved to be very important in the end, but I think if I’d known how crucial it would be then I’d have been even more nervous.”
But Baines’s day did not end there: “We had a three-hour wait to see if our score would be good enough. We watched as two other teams came in at seven under par. Simon reckoned Nick Sargent would do us, but then they bogeyed the 18th.
“I’m not superstitious but I normally phone my wife to tell her how I’ve done. But on this occasion, I dared not do it until I knew the final result once all the calculations had been made. I was bouncing around at the end. This is just unbelievable.”
Edwards has played in three BMW PGA Championships at Wentworth and was a member of two PGA Cup teams in 2003 and in the victorious side of 2005. He said: “John had a great day. I think Windermere is one of the best parts of the country to be in and it’s one of the best golf clubs around.
“But I think the Bahamas in November is going to be a little bit warmer than the Lake District at that time of year. This will be my debut in the final so it’s been a good day at the office.”