A campaign of merit as Darren is crowned star of the East

Darren Charlton takes top spot on the 2015 Order of Merit in the PGA East Region. Picture: Tony Rushmer. PNL-150929-122950002

Darren Charlton takes top spot on the 2015 Order of Merit in the PGA East Region. Picture: Tony Rushmer. PNL-150929-122950002

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Dunstable Downs’ golf professional Darren Charlton is the star of the East after finishing top of the region’s PGA Order of Merit for 2015.

The Bedfordshire ace claimed a share of second place at the Lynx Golf Championship Rayleigh Club to stay at the summit and book his place in the prestigious PGA Play-offs in Turkey at the end of November.

It is the second year on the trot that Charlton has qualified for the season’s grand finale at Antalya Golf Club where an elite field of PGA professionals from Britain and Ireland assemble.

The top-10 players from that tournament all earn the right to tee up at the multi-million pound BMW PGA Championship the following May.

And Charlton, 48, has a point to prove after last time being denied a highly-coveted Wentworth spot in a play-off.

He said: “There were five of us for the last three spots and unfortunately I missed out. I’ve got over that now and I’ll go back there hoping to go that one shot better.”

Charlton will return to Turkey in confident mood after a dominant season in the seven East region Order of Merit events.

He recorded a tied-second finish, while making the top three on three other occasions and only once finished outside the top-10.

Charlton, who also won the Order of Merit race in 2005, said: “It’s been brilliant.

“I didn’t start the year with any intention of playing as much as I have. But I did okay in the first couple of events and just carried on.

“As each event passed, I got higher and higher and managed to hang on through the last few.

“I’ve been consistent and putted better than in previous seasons, which has helped.”

He will be joined in Turkey by Essex’s David Salisbury and Hertfordshire’s Glen Portelli, who finished second and third in Order of Merit.

Salisbury claimed victory in the final two-day event with rounds of 65 and 69 at the Rayleigh Club. That left him at eight-under-par, four clear of Charlton and Portelli who were among a quartet of players that tied for second.