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Baldwin reigns supreme at Mena Tour opener
February 12, 2019
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AQABA: Matthew Baldwin cruised to a wire-to-wire victory in the Journey To Jordan-1, the opening event of 2019 season of Mena Tour by Arena, winning by a record margin of eight shots at Ayla Golf Club.

The 32-year-old from Southport left the field in his wake with his second successive round of six-under par 66 to tally 19-under par 197 for three days.

Sweden’s Erik Jonasson matched Baldwin’s 66 in the final round but that could only take him to 11-under par 205. The consolation prize for him was a spot in the Challenge de Espana, an event on the European Challenge Tour in first week of May.

Scotland’s Conor O’Neil (70) and Belgium’s Christopher Mivis (70) were tied for third place at 10-under par 206.

England’s Curtis Knipes (71) capped off a fantastic two weeks in Jordan by finishing as the Leading Amateur, a week after he secured a full card through the Qualifying School. Jack Floydd struggled on the final day and slipped down with a four-over 76 to finish second, three shots behind Knipes.

Dubai-based 14-year-old Josh Hill finished third among amateur with an even-par round for a two-under par total, while his good friend Arjun Gupta, another 14-year-old from Dubai, shot a bogey-free six-under par 66, matching the best round of the day.

The previous record for the largest margin of victory in a 54-hole tournament on the Mena Tour was by Frenchman Lionel Weber, who won the 2017 Mountain Creek Open by Golf Citizen by seven shots. Baldwin’s dominance broke that record by one.

Winner of B Stage of the Qualifying School earlier this week at the same golf course, Baldwin was simply unstoppable on the front nine, even though he made just four birdies in his first 10 holes. He missed at least another couple chances from less than six feet. With no one in the field making a charge, he could afford to take it easy on the back nine, but after a slight wobble that saw him make a fighting par on the 11th hole from the left waste area and a bogey from the bunker.

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