But now the name is Bond. Liam Bond…
With the target of another, more successful, assault on European Tour success firmly in his sights, the bubbly reigning Welsh Open Champion, has constructed a sequence of winning scores that take him to the Tour Qualifying School with confidence as high as his ambition.
Not only does he intend to get his Tour Card back. He means to keep it this time…
A third round six-under-par 67 for a 203 total earned him a satisfying victory at the Kemer G&CC …but not without an anxious wait as past champion Erol Simsek chased him to the wire.
Bond looked almost unassailable as he eagled the par 472-metre par five eighth, with a three iron to 12 feet, and then took advantage of the next par five, the 451-metre 13th to complete his fine 54-holes, in which he dropped but one shot to par.
No celebrating yet, though: still out on the course, Simsek was chasing him hard. With three holes remaining he was only one shot behind and thereby needing just one more birdie to force a play-off.
As Bond waited, with a cool drink, for news, his Turkish-born challenger came to mini-grief with a dropped shot at the 14th, his penultimate hole, having started, like Bond, at the 16th.
Only then could the ‘cool drink’ become a celebration one as Bond absorbed the satisfaction of knowing that the best scoring spell of his career was still continuing.
“If I had my card now,” he said. “I feel I would be playing well enough to keep it.”
203 (-16) Liam Bond (Wales) 71 65 67
205 (-14) Erol Simsek (Germany) 66 73 76
212 (-7) Mark Mouland (Wales) 74 68 70
214 (-5) Philip Walton (Ireland) 72 71 71
215 (-4) Simon Edwards (Wales) 74 72 69
217 (-2) Duncan Muscroft (Italy) 72 74 71
218 (-1) Savas Karatas (Turkey) 74 75 69; Paul Carman (England) 75 72 71
220 (+1) Phil Harrison (England) 71 76 73
Philip Walton: “I would like to return…”
Few golfers have a cameo stored in their memory bank to match Philip Walton’s special career moment. He holed the putt against Jay Haas that clinched victory for Europe over the USA at Oak Hill in 1995 and joined the likes of Sam Torrance and countryman Paul McGinley with a similar mental image that will never die.
Along with Paul Way (1983, 85) and Steve Richardson (1991) he was in Istanbul as a trio of players with Ryder Cup pedigree who added an extra dash of quality to the field and also proved to be a modest and friendly partner for the amateur teams.
It was his first visit to Turkey, but if the organisers have their way, it won’t be his last. Along with all the leading players in the Beko’s best lineup to date, his 2007 invitation is assured.
“It’s a far better event than I realised,” he admitted after playing an important PR role at the pre-tournament Press Conference, and also earning a useful cheque in fourth place. “All the people you meet are so lovely and friendly,” he added. “Some of the nicest I have ever met.
“I would certainly like to come back again next year.”
From Beko to K Club Duty for Paul Way
One date was uppermost in Paul Way’s mind when he had completed his second visit to the Beko Pro-Am, namely an appointment at the K Club to work with the European Tour on the hospitality side.
Once bitten by the Ryder Cup bug the ‘victim’ never recovers. And Paul Way was bitten harder than most. “I always look forward to it tremendously, and the memories are always revived.” he said.
And no wonder. Paul played a significant role in the competition’s transformation from a virtually predictable bi-annual success for the States into an event that has become a role model for the integration of European countries through sport.
Woosnam and Way beat Hubert Green and Fuzzy Zoeller in the first afternoon fourballs they went out and repeated the dose the next morning. On Day 3, Paul was there again with a magnificent victory over Ray Floyd to complete a record of three wins out of four. Lifetime memories are made of that.
Bond Shoots at ‘Tour Card’ Target
Welshmen have played an important part in the PGAs of Europe tournaments over a period of several years now… and the current leader of the PGAs of Europe pack is also from the Red Dragon country, as winner of both the Aegean Airways and Beko International Pro-Ams.
Wales have won the International Team Championship; Simon Edwards and Jimmy Lee have won the Fourball title; Richard Dinsdale and Sion Bond became the first two 72-hole stroke-play championships when it was sponsored by Starwood at Pevero, Sardinia, while Simon Edwards has won the Beko event twice.
MUSTAFA KOÇ, Super Sponsor…
It’s a six-year success story, a golf tournament, indeed an all-round event, of which those involved can be justifiably proud… but it couldn’t happen without a generous Sponsor.
The Beko Pro-Am, in its sixth year of the PGAs of Europe’s endorsement, has established itself as an important sporting occasion at the Kemer Golf & Country Club in Istanbul.
In an ancient sprawling city of at least twelve million people, where East meets West and ethnic origins vary, football is ‘the opium of the masses’ and no doubt always will be.
Yet, due to Mustafa Koç, one of the leading businessmen in the whole of Turkey and a fanatical 7-handicap golfer, steadfastly supporting Kemer’s Director of Golf, David Clare, in organising the annual pro-am, an awareness of another sport is now spreading among a small but ever-growing minority.
There is more to Turkey’s increasing status in the European golfing community, of course, than the Koç/Clare link. The country’s FEDERATION, led by enthusiastic President, Ahmet Agaoglu, is doing an equally wonderful job in finding, encouraging and nurturing the amateurs while spreading the message that here is a physical, leisure pursuit that can either be enjoyed alongside football, or as an attractive alternative to it.
Where everyone would agree that the Koç influence has been so crucial, is that when this powerful figure stages a press conference, as he does in the centre of the huge city before each event, the media attend in significant numbers.
This year, more than ever before, the Beko profile was upgraded by extensive coverage on local and national TV, on the radio and in the press…the Press Conference line-up, (pictured right, by Namik Karamuk of Golf Gazetesi), featured: Phil Walton, former Ryder Cup winner, Ahmet Agaoglu of the Turkish Golf Federation, Mustafa Koç (Sponsor), Norman Fletcher (Director PGAs of Europe) and David Clare, Kemer G&CC Director of Golf and PGA of Turkey and Turkish National coach.
It ALSO helped that the prize fund had been increased to 85,000 US$, and that its highest quality field included ex-Ryder Cup players Walton, Paul Way and Steve Richardson plus several with European Tour and/or PGA Cup credentials.
In this issue it is very easy to report the achievements of the players. But, alongside them, WORKING TOGETHER wishes to applaud Mustafa Koç, Sponsor Extraordinaire.
John Harrison: Coach Behind ‘a freakish talent’
In those uncomplicated days before ‘Political Correctness’ set in, it was popularly said that ‘behind every successful man, there’s a good woman.’
In golf that can be translated to ‘Behind every successful player, there’s a good coach’.
And no one would agree with that theory more than Kenneth Ferrie, whose form in 2006 has been such that, in mid-summer, he was pressing hard to earn a place in the European Ryder Cup team.
Beko regular, John Harrison, has coached Ferrie since the 6ft 4 in 28-year-old was 15.
Ask him if Ferrie’s progress gives him a quiet sense of satisfaction and the smiling response means: ‘You bet…’
“Of course I do,” he said. “I’ve followed everything he has done since I first coached him in a group of promising young players. I wouldn’t regard myself as simply his ‘coach’ now, the role has become more of a mentor, and someone he can talk things through with.
“He has asked me why I didn’t travel with him to some of the most important tournaments, but I have too many other coaching commitments (with the English Golf Union) to do that, but I’ll always be keen to see how he is progressing.”
Ken himself has no doubts about the debt he owes to John Harrison, Director of Golf at Matfen Hall in the North-East of the UK.
“He has been more than a coach to me,” he said. “He’s been my mentor, my guide, my helper and my confidant. I think of him more as a very good friend than anything else.”
Ferrie landed his first tour win in the Spanish Open back in 2003 but it was his win in the European Open at the K Club and runners-up spot in the Dunhill Links which marked him out as player to watch…and then came that memorable performance in the US Open at Winged Foot when he tied sixth in his first US Open, only his fourth Major.
Harrison believes his protégé will continue to improve. “Winning golfers are those who hit the ball down the middle, get it on the green and hole the putt,” he stressed. “They’ve got great golfing brains and they don’t get nervous as much as ordinary players.”
Star Line-up for Beko Classic
A packed golfing month of September tees off for the PGAs of Europe with the $85,000 Beko Classic at Kemer Golf & Country Club, Istanbul, Turkey, and a field of unprecedented quality.
A trio of ex-Ryder Cup men Philip Walton, Paul Way and Steve Richardson are among the former European Tour stars taking part, a list that also includes Mark Mouland, Paul Carman and others.
There are also four past Beko winners in Senol Bay (defending), Erol Simsek, Simon Edwards and Peter Scott, a dual PGAs of Europe Starwood Champion in Andrew George, a former Glenmuir British Club Pro winner in Brian Rimmer and the winner of the first Aegean Airlines Pro-Am in Crete, Liam Bond.
The international field is drawn from some eight different countries and features champions from many different levels of golf as the tournament, that is driven forward jointly by David Clare, Kemer’s Director of Golf, and Mustafa Koç, the head of Beko, continues to go from strength to strength.
The Beko Classic is a 54-hole Pro-Aam that has played a leading role as a shop window for golf in Turkey, over the past six years, since being endorsed by the PGAs of Europe, and provides a superb opportunity for the country’s young amateur elite to tread the fairways and greens with the professionals.