England and Wales (North) Region
15 Aug 13
Seven past winners of the De Vere Leeds Cup are in a 132-strong field battling to get their name etched on professional golf's oldest trophy at Oulton Hall next week (Aug 21-22).
And one player with a life-long ambition to join the illustrious group, which includes the legendary Harry Vardon, the inaugural winner in 1902, is former European Tour player Ben Mason (above).
"Two years ago I had one hand on the cup I've wanted to win since I was a lad but lost to David Smith in a play-off," he said.
The Dewsbury-born former England International, who won the Manchester Open last summer, recently started a new job as head professional of Waterfront Golf Academy near his Rotherham home.
And he would like nothing better to celebrate his appointment than to return the trophy to Yorkshire after it moved to the other side of the Pennines three years ago.
But he faces strong competition from Challenge Tour player, Welshman Garry Houston, who's attached to Carden Park. He won by three shots last year from a trio of players which contained overnight leader Mason.
Smith, from Marriott Worsley Park, who denied Mason in 2011, has been out of action for 10 months with a back injury, but Hart Common's Steve Parry, who prevailed the previous year, is among the leading contenders who include Manchester Open champion and Order of Merit leader David Shacklady, from Mossock Hall.
Other former winners in the line-up are: Scott Barber (Waterton Park), Paul Carman (Woodsome Hall), Simon Edwards (Windermere), John Wells (Snainton Golf Centre) and Jonathon Cheetham (1836tour.com).
The 36-hole tournament will be preceded by a pro-am.
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