Cirencester head professional Ed Goodwin got 2018 off to a flying start with a stunning round of 62 at Minchinhampton Old Course in the opening G&S PGA Medal of the calendar year.

The G&S Committee started a new initiative to speed up play at their weekly events by adopting ‘Ready Golf’ principles and the change certainly seem to suit Goodwin as he raced to his first win of the season as he finished 3 ahead of Giuseppe Licata.

Upon arrival at the Old Course on the Common at Minchinhampton the 35 strong field found the layout shrouded in fog but this just about cleared in time for play to start on schedule. Some misty conditions returned from time to time when the sun disappeared during the round but the course and especially the greens were in excellent condition. The introduction of Ready Golf certainly seemed to work too as no group took over 3hrs 50mins to complete the course which was great to see.

Goodwin was drawn in the final grouping to take to the course but he soon set about his task of taking the Old course apart. An opening birdie was joined by another four in a row from the 3rd and the 9th also succumbed to Goodwin’s excellence as he completed his opening nine holes of 2018 in just 31 strokes, 6 under par. He also completed his second nine holes of the year in the same figure too, aided by an eagle at the 12th and a pair of two’s at the par 3’s of the 14th and 16th. His only blemish came with a three putt at the 11th but he was still a comfortable 3 strokes clear of Licata come the end of play.

Licata showed no signs of a recent shoulder injury that had prevented him playing in the final event of last year as he posted a 6 under par 65. Again he took advantage of the opportunities afforded on the outward half with birdies coming at the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th to turn at 4 under. 2 more gains were added on his way home, at the 13th and the 17th, to his bogey free card. The result saw him only lose very marginal ground to Goodwin in the Total Triumph Order of Merit as he strives to retain the Trophy he won last May. Unattached Martin Dewhurst continued his good run of form with a round of 66. The Bristol professional, who spends his summer’s abroad teaching, was a stunning 6 under par after just 6 holes with an eagle and 4 birdies on his card. A mid round blip with a couple of dropped shots was partly repaired by another birdie at the 17th as he finished third alone. Ross Langdon and Nick Ellis, who made a welcome return to form, tied for 4th place with 4 under par rounds of 67 ahead of a quartet of players on 68 on a day of low scoring.

Next week the G&S PGA move south to start a three week run over the Somerset Links courses with the Channel Course at Burnham and Berrow setting the first examination.