Archive for the ‘Pro Golf’ Category

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).

Simpson’s extra special

Isaac Simpson.JPGISAAC Simpson showed Sheffield steel on his way to winning a three-way play-off and clinching the PGA North Assistants’ Championship of Lancashire at Ellesmere.

And he achieved it in style with a 20-birdie putt from off the green at the third extra hole to deny Chorley’s in-form Andy Palmer and Richard Pickard, from Warrington, who posted a blemish-free card.

Simpson (pictured), in his second year at south Yorkshire club Hallowes, reached the turn on four-under-par thanks to an eagle at the fourth.

“I had a lot of other chances I should have taken,” he reflected. “I made a mistake when I bogeyed the 16th which I put down to bad club selection.”

Palmer also picked up two shots at the fourth and birdied the last two to stay in contention.

LEADING SCORES: 67 Isaac Simpson (Hallowes), Richard Pickard (Warrington), Andrew Palmer (Chorley); 69 Jason Dransfield (Heswall), Oliver Smith (Ashton-on-Mersey), Tom Metcalfe (Gathurst); 71 Jamie Howarth (Davenport), Tim Ford (Liverpool Driving Range.

Shacklady and Jones share spoils at Childwall

SERIAL winner David Shacklady ran up a treble bogey seven on the ninth hole in the third PGA North Players’ Event at Childwall.

But the Mossock Hall maestro (pictured) leaked another shot on the final green and had tDavid Shacklady c.JPGo settle for a share of the spoils with Royal Liverpool’s Michael Jones who closed with a birdie.

They were the only pair to finish on level par 72, Penwortham’s Ryan O’Neill claiming third spot a stroke back.

LEADING SCORES: 72 David Shacklady (Mossock Hall), Michael Jones (Royal Liverpool); 73 Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham); 74 Daniel Croft (Huyton & Prescot), Iain Davie (Hazel Grove); 73 Graham Cox (Lymm).

Archer bids for Leeds Cup hat-trick

PHIL Archer has set his sights firmly on completing a hat-trick of Leeds Cup victories when professional golf’s oldest trophy, sponsored by Teesside-based financial services provider Ramsdens, moves back to its spiritual home at Cobble Hall next week (May 15-17).

The Birchwood-attached player prevailed in 2000 and last year, having returned from competing on the European Tour where he was best known for posting a 60 in the first round in the Celtic Manor Wales Open in 2006, agonisingly missing the rPhil Archer .JPGecord by a shot.

He twice played in the US Open and Open Championship and in 2007 was a member of the victorious GB&I team competing in the Seve Trophy, The same year Archer also won three times on the Challenge Tour before returning to regional golf and reclaimed the Leeds Cup again last year.

He is among seven former champions in a 109-strong field, including and Carden Park’s Garry Houston who prevailed in 2012 and again three years later.

Windermere’s Simon Edwards is expected to be in contention following his recovery from injury and Nick Ludwell (Selby), John Wells (Snainton Golf Centre), David Smith (Swinton Park) and Steve Parry (Hart Common) will also be hoping to lift the iconic trophy again.

PGA North secretary Jonathan Paine said: “The sponsorship offer by Ramsdens has given the Leeds Cup a tremendous boost and we’re delighted by the number of players who have entered. This is a famous old tournament and the trophy is so valuable it’s kept under lock and key at the Belfry PGA headquarters.”

Goodfellow joy after last hole eagle

CRAIG Goodfellow admitted the North West qualifying round for the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship was almost too close to call.

The past champion from Carlisle Golf Centre was part of a five way tie for the lead at Delamere Forest. Just two shots separated the 15 players who qualified for the £78,000 grand final at Luttrellstown Castle Golf Club near Dublin on June 13-16.

And Goodfellow, who has played in two PGA Cup matches for the GB & Ireland team against the USA, said only a last gasp eagle at the 18th hole ensured he did not need to take part in the play-off to decide who made the cut.Craig Goodfellow - Copya.jpg

Goodfellow (pictured right) posted a one-under 71 along with Jonathan Armstrong (Hartford), Phil Archer (Birchwood), Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham) and Garry Houston (Carden Park).

Goodfellow narrowly won the event on countback but agreed the course proved a severe test for an experienced field of players.

“You wouldn’t expect one under par to win a qualifier like that,” he said. “It was very tricky and quite easy to make mistakes and very hard to get the ball near the hole.

“The ball often went through the back of the greens, there was still quite a bit of grass on the fairways.  They were like links greens, but without links fairways! A lot of the guys weren’t surprised the scoring was so high.

“It was nothing to do with the conditions, it was the testing nature of the course, very difficult to judge.

“I’m satisfied to get through. But I was lucky as I was one over par playing the last hole, if I hadn’t made an eagle there I’d have been playing off to try and qualify.”

Goodfellow hopes he can make a return to the PGA Cup team that faces the USA at Foxhills in Surrey in September.

“I’d love to get into the PGA Cup again, having played it a couple of times, it makes you want to play it more, I’ve had a couple of near misses too,” he added.

“If hadn’t played in it at all, I don’t think I’d have been as driven to get back in.

“I’ve been lucky enough so far to play in two of the away matches. I always want to try to get in that team as it’s so good.

“The PGA Professional Championship is my main event for the year, but for the last five years I’ve been exempt from qualifying and there was no guarantee I’d get back in.”

QUALIFIERS: 71  Craig Goodfellow (Carlisle Golf Centre), Garry Houston (Carden Park), Ryan O’Neill  (Penwortham), Jonathan Armstrong (Hartford),  Phil Archer (Birchwood);72   Adrian Hill (Pryors Hayes),  Oliver Pantoja ( Ringway),  Daniel Bills  (West Lancs),  Grant Hamerton (Pike Fold), Ben Spanton (Warrington), Stephen McNally (Wearside); 73 Tim Maxwell  (Knutsford),  Adam Powell  (Hartford), Steve Parry  ( NW Golf Academy/Hart Common, Scott Houghton  (Clarkes Golf Centre).


Bolton Old Links to host PGA North Region Championship

BOLTON Old Links will host the PGA North Region Championship inaugurated nearly 100 years ago in an era when it was one of only eight events on the professional calendar.

It’s the first time the course will feature the flagship tournament won by an impressive list of celebrated players including the legendary George Gadd, who prevailed in 1924 at Wilmslow then at Formby in 1926, then competed in the first “unofficial” Ryder Cup match at Wentworth.

Six of his brothers joined the professional ranks and the eldest, Charles, claimed the title at his home club Brancepeth Castle in 1930. That was hailed as the most courageous achievement in the history of the competition because he was hampered by a severe leg wound received in the Great War.

PGA North secretary Jonathan Paine said: “Bolton OBOLTON GC  1.jpgld Links is a great venue and one of the best in the area which has catered for many prestigious events over the years.

“We are actively seeking sponsorship which we hope will appeal to companies or individuals who are interested in becoming involved in one of the most iconic championships in the north.

“It’s also a great way to promote business in the region and being attached to the PGA, the oldest golf association in the world, should be beneficial to all concerned.”

“The tournament on July 26-27 will be preceded by a pro-am on July 24 which is expected to attract a healthy number of teams.”

The event originally went under the banner Northern Professional Championship but was renamed in 1946 after the cessation of the Second World War.

Scotland’s Johnnie Fallon won the title three times in six years from 1950 and a young Andrew Chandler had his name engraved on the trophy in 1984, followed a year later by fellow European Tour player Andrew Murray.

Peter Cowen, one of the world’s top coaches, won in 1992 in the decade Pleasington’s Ged Furey twice took the honours.

Lancastrians Phil Archer and Paul Eales, who both graduated to the upper echelons of the tour, won in the early part of 2000.

Crosland Heath’s Robert Booth is expected to defend the title he lifted last year when the championship was held at Cumbria club Carus Green.



Sudden death kills Fleetwood’s hopes

LANCASHIRE’S Tommy Fleetwood was beaten by Bernd Wiesberger in a play-off in the Shenzhen International – his fourth European Tour title – on a dramatic final day at Genzon Golf Club.

The Austrian entered the final round with a three-shot lead and eight ahead of Fleetwood who fired a stunning 63 to set the clubhouse target and share top spot at 16-under.

Wiesberger made excellent par saves on the 12th and 17th and nearly hit the pin with his approach to the last but was forced to settle for a par and a trip back up the 18th with Fleetwood for a play-off.

He went on to put his approach to five feet and roll in the putt for a birdie and victory on debut at the tournament.

The 31-year-old has not missed a cut since the 2016 US PGA Championship, producing seven top five finishes in that time, and his first victory in a play-off after losing the previous three times.

Fleetwood, a winner already this season, said: “I’ve played well all week and I was really disappointed, it was stressing me out that I couldn’t really get anything in the hole.”

“Today, just a few putts went in and I kept it going all the way through and it was a good time to shoot a 63.

“As a goal I wanted to be one under for every three holes, that was 66 and if I beat that I thought I’ll have had a good day and a good week.”