Houston has lift off for third Leeds Cup

GARRY Houston is on course to win the Leeds Cup for the third time in five years after taking a two stroke lead with a four-under-par 65 in the first of two rounds at Cobble Hall where professional golf’s oldest trophy was first played for in 1902.Garry HoustonGettyImages-545176254.jpg

The Carden Park attached Welshman, who prevailed in 2012 and 2015, defied the testing conditions of wind and rain to rack up five birdies, erring only once with a bogey at the 10th.

“I’d not seen the course until the pro-am and I did not play particularly great early on but I stayed patient and made a few decent up and downs on some tricky greens,” he said. “It’s not a massively long course but it was imperative to hit the ball in the right places.”

Houston (picture courtesy Getty Images), who turned 46 last week and who won the World Pro-Am in February, has a posse of Yorkshiremen hot on his heels led by Renishaw Park’s Michael Ramsden and John Wells, from Snainton Golf Centre in the 36-hole tournament run in association with Ramsdens Currency.

Phil Archer, the former European Tour winner from Cheshire club Birchwood who is defending the title he won last year and also prevailed in 2000, has a lot of ground to make up after his 71 left him in a 15-way tie for 20th place.

LEADING SCORES: 65 Garry Houston (Carden Park); 67 Michael Ramsden (Renishaw Park), John Wells (Snainton Golf Centre), Jamie Howarth (Davenport), Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham), Martin Hamer (Davyhulme Park); 68 Robert Booth (Crosland Heath), James French (Owston Hall); 69 Darren Crowle (Crook), Daniel Bradbury (Bolton Old Links), David Smith (Swinton Park), Graham Neville (GN Golf), Simon Westney (unatt), Steve Parry (NWGA Hart Common).

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