England and Wales (North) Region
09 Aug 19
Gareth Davies prevailed in tough conditions to claim the Leeds Cup Championship and add his name to an illustrious list of winners.
In its 104th edition the Leeds Cup, golf's oldest professional trophy, returned to its original home of Leeds Golf Club where it was first played for in 1902 won by one of the founding fathers of the modern game, Harry Vardon.
Whilst much has changed from Vardon's days of playing, the course remains one of the toughest tests in the Leeds area and provides worthy champions year on year. 2019 was no exception to the rule with Davies, who started the final round two back from overnight leader Christopher Crowder, claiming the spoils by virtue of a birdie on the 17th hole to allow his name to be added to the famous trophy.
Crowder in comparison suffered a calamitous start to his front nine which allowed Davies the opportunity to hold a three-shot lead through nine holes over his playing partner with two-time Leeds Cup Champion Garry Houston a shot behind in the earlier groups of the day.
The back nine became a back and forth affair with all players finding tough going on an immaculate back nine at the club, testament to the work carried out by the new greens staff at the club, in which birdies and bogeys were aplenty over the challenging layout coming home.
Owing to the design of the course it was the final three holes that provide some late round drama with Davies losing his slender lead in the Championship on the 15th hole with a bogey 5.
With news filtering back that his nearest challenger was safely in the clubhouse on -2, Davies made the bold decision to take driver at the challenging yet rewarding drivable par 4 17. His decision looked to have been in error as his ball settled in the greenside bunker, but a delightful sand shot helped Davies set up a short birdie putt which he duly holed to lead the Championship heading up the last.
Greeted on the final hole by the waiting gallery Davies tapped in for a final par to claim the title by a single stroke and add his name to the oldest trophy in professional golf.
Davies said: “It’s a fantastic achievement and one I feel very proud to have accomplished, to have my name sit alongside some of the greats of the game is a truly surreal feeling.
“This is only my second time competing in the Leeds Cup and you get a sense of the history of the tournament at this fantastic venue, the changes in the course from 2018 are here for everyone to see and I look forward to coming back and trying to defend my title in 2020, the club have been fantastic and working alongside the PGA to reinvigorate this Championship is something I am looking forward to seeing and being a part of.”
Round of the Championship went to Peter Finch (Quest Golf Academy) who shot a magnificent -5 in the second round to catapult himself up the leader board into a finish for tied 4th.
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