Last gasp birdie helps Welsh duo into final

GARRY Houston and Mark Pilkington used their combined experience on the European Tour to win the PGA Fourball Championship North qualifying event.

Carden Park attached Houston and fellow Pwllheli’s Pilkington won by one shot thanks to an 18th hole birdie at Huddersfield’s Woodsome.

The pair carded a seven under par round of 63 to edge out another Welsh pairing Lee Rooke and Gareth Lewis of Royal St. David’s Golf Club in Harlech.

They were among the 11 pairs from the event who  go forward to the £33,000 BMW supported, PGA Fourball Championship final at Whittlebury Park in Northamptonshire on August 16-18.

It was the first time Houston and Pilkington had teamed up for this competition and the pairing produced an instant result.

“Myself and Mark know each other from having played European Tour golf, we used to room together now again and grew up in the same sort of era, and we thought it’d be a good idea to get together for this,” said Houston.

“This is only the second time I’ve played the event. I played last year with one of our teaching professionals at Carden Park as we were hosting the final but it’s the first time I’ve played alongside Mark for the event. He’s a proven, very good player, that helped me for sure and we’re comfortable in each other’s company.”

Houston admitted they had no scares during the event despite what turned out to be a dramatic battle to be top of the leaderboard.

“We knew at the back of our minds that five under par would probably be enough to qualify for the final and that’s where we were after the front nine. Yes, we won it but I don’t think we edged it, without sounding too immodest we were generally comfortable, we put the hard work on the front nine,” he said.

“The only difficulty is that we didn’t know the course that well but we managed things on the back nine. I’ve played Whittelbury Park before and know it a little bit.”





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