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England and Wales (North) Region

Smart Alex puts on the style

21 Sep 13

2309Alex Belt

Alex Belt equalled the Ramsey course record with a seven-under-par 63 after changing his putter in the first round of the Manx Classic.

And the Europro Tour professional thought he'd broken it on the final hole when his 15-foot birdie attempt agonisingly lipped out.

"It looked in all the way," he rued, but was more than happy to match the mark set by fellow Yorkshireman Robert Wragg 13 years ago as he led by two shots from Danny Wardrop in an event he only entered at the last minute.

"I left it late but I'm pleased I made the right decision," said Belt after racking up nine birdies in a round containing an economical 25 putts, eight below his average.

"I was getting more and more frustrated on the greens and my mid-set was such that I did not expect to hole anything. I slipped a new Zen putter into the bag before I set off for the Isle of Man and it did the trick."

Belt, who won a Europro Tour fixture at Collingtree Park three months ago, identified his birdie at the seventh hole as crucial in the final analysis.

"That gave me a lot of confidence," said the 28-year-old, attached to Snainton Golf Centre and the De Vere Club, who is also part-way through a swing change under the tutelage of Wynyard-based Andrew Nicholson, a European Tour and England Golf coach.

"It's a work in progress," he added as he sets his sights on clearing the European Tour School second qualifying stage in November.

Didsbury's Wardrop, also a Europro Tour player and joint winner of the Manx Classic two years ago, holed his approach shot to the second for an eagle after his birdie at the first - one of four - before marking down a lone bogey at the 13th.

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