RAYLEIGH’S Mark Stokes said team spirit played a huge part in Essex’s dominant victory in the SkyCaddie PGA England & Wales Inter-County Championship regional qualifier at Bush Hill Park.
The county side, containing Stokes, Chase Davis (Stapleford Abbotts) and Mark Talbott (Thorpe Hall), romped to a sixshot win to claim a place in the final at the Belfry on October 14- 15.
A field including defending champions Suffolk failed to keep up with the trio who carded an excellent eight-under-par 132 to qualify for the £10,000 championship final.
Essex stormed into the lead with an eagle at the fourth while three of the remaining four teams carded a double-bogey each over the first five holes.
Two more eagles on the back nine left the trio with a comfortable run-in, leaving them plotting their trip to the Warwickshire-based PGA National Course.
The Belfry, renowned for its links to the Ryder Cup having held the biennial matchplay championship on four occasions, will host the Inter-County Championship final for the second successive year.
It will be the first time Stokes has tackled the PGA National Course since the Glenmuir PGA Professional Championship was staged there in 2011, and he is looking forward to returning in the search of silverware.
“I don’t think we particularly expected to go there and win,”
Stokes admitted. “Mostly because all the players at this level are extremely good golfers and the team dynamic makes things slightly more unpredictable.
“It was an event we were all very keen to enter though, as Essex didn’t enter a team last year.
“All three of us already knew each other from playing in the region, and we seemed to work well together.
“Me and Mark were always down to play, and then Chase was a little bit of a later addition, but we all played very well and we are delighted to have won.
“It was nice to be playing in a team and we’ll definitely be going to the Belfry looking to win,” he added.