Houston’s tour hope back on radar after Radyr win

CHESTER-based Garry Houston gave his hopes of regaining his European Tour status a boost when he won the Welsh National PGA Championship at Radyr,  defeating Stephen Dodd and Sion Bebb on the second play-off hole in Cardiff.

Garry Houston punches the air with delight. Photo Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

Garry Houston punches the air with delight. Photo Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

His win comes only 12 months since he lost  to Dodd in a play-off at the culmination of last year’s event at Royal St David’s. Dodd would have equalled Sid Mouland’s record of six Welsh National wins if he had succeeded this time.

But Houston, a regular on the PGA North circuit, showed nerves of steel to overcome his rivals who were friends during their Tour days after they tied on three-under-par and  could not be separated over two rounds.

And he looked dead and buried when his over-hit iron landed well beyond the green on the first play-off hole, before an expert chip to within  inches kept him in contention.

He then pounced on the second play-off hole with a perfectly measured putt to birdie  and claim his first victory in one of Wales’ oldest tournaments, first staged in 1904 at Radyr, at the third attempt.

“It’s a great achievement to come here and win this tournament,” he enthused.

“It’s something that you’ve gone and done in your life. You can turn around and say ‘I’ve won the Welsh National.’

“It’s always nerve-wracking to do it in a play-off but it is a nice way of winning – you’d sooner win it by seven or eight though!”

Houston admitted the experience he garnered from five years on Tour helped as he held off a congested leaderboard. At the start of the second day only two shots separated the top eight.

“I guess it did help a bit,” he said. “ I was thinking about was the fact that Sion was doing well, I just knew that I had to keep up with him.

“Nobody else really made a strong run at us and Sion startedy well – I let him back in towards the end when I three-putted the 17th.

“But it’s great to come away having won it, especially after the disappointment of last year.”

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