England and Wales (North) Region
01 Aug 13
David Shacklady was so confident he would win the Manchester Open that he casually mentioned it to the starter before arrowing a drive down the first fairway in the final round.
"It was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek remark but I probably came across as being big-headed," said the 46-year-old professional and keen darter attached to Lancashire club Mossock Hall.
But he was as good as his word as he brought the testing Marriott Worsley Park course to its knees with an eight-under-par 63 to pair with his opening 67, finishing five shots clear of Cookridge Hall's Ben Mason who was defending his title.
"I just knew I was going to win because I'd been playing so well recently," he said as he chalked up his ninth success of the season.
"I was also using a new Raa putter I was measured up for 10 days ago and felt I couldn't miss with it."
Astonishingly Shacklady, whose name once popped up on BBC's Question of Sport, had not previously won a major PGA North Order of Merit tournament.
"I'd had lots of second places and claimed more than assorted 250 victories in the 26 years as a pro," said the former PGA Cup player. "I don't know why it's taken so long. Maybe I was mentally not in tune."
Shacklady's ball striking was almost as accurate at his dart throwing two days earlier when he retained a regional title.
He racked up seven birdies and an eagle at the Manchester course, holing from 40ft for the latter at the 544-yard sixth.
"I knew I'd won when a got up and down from 60ft at the 14th for a birdie, the first of three in a row," he added.
Ex-Tour player Mason, who signed off with a bogey-free 66, has set his sights on the Leeds Cup - a trophy he's admired since he was a lad - at De Vere Oulton Hall in September.