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England and Wales (North) Region

Belt targets the big time

15 May 14

1505Northalexbelt

Alex Belt is hoping to move up his game another notch or two after winning the De Vere PGA North Region Championship at Herons' Reach for the second time in eight years.

"This could kick-start my season," he said. "When the bigger occasions arise I can take with me the experience of how to handle most situations and I had a couple of those today.

"My back nine was a bit ugly and I started to drop a few shots but I just got on with the job. Overall I did not play that well but I holed a few putts and that's been the key to my success of late."  

Belt, attached to Snainton Golf Centre in North Yorkshire and who also represents De Vere, led by one overnight with a four-under-par 68 but quickly moved to minus nine after 10 holes thanks to an eagle at the second and a trio of birdies.

He gave back three strokes but held on to his advantage to close with 70, six-under all told, to prevail by a shot from Challenge Tour player Garry Houston, from Carden Park, and Penwortham assistant Ryan O'Neill, the 2011 winner.

Belt, 28, is competing mainly on the EuroPro Tour this year, having already had a top 10 finish.

"I also like to mix and match playing in regional and Yorkshire events because I have to earn and I may get a few invitations to play the Challenge Tour," he said. "My ultimate objective is the European Tour and I feel I'm going in the right direction with the people around me." 

His team comprises Wynyard's Andrew Nicholson, once a regular competitor in PGA North, who is his coach; Nick Middleton, who works on his mind and putting, and sports psychologist Mark Nesti.  

Meanwhile, O'Neill birdied the first three holes and tagged three more to his inward nine while Houston, the 2012 Leeds Cup winner, picked up three strokes in a bogey-free round. 

This was the last of a five-year De Vere sponsorship for the championship which next season moves to Carus Green in Kendal.

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