England and Wales (North) Region
08 Sep 14
Lee Westwood, the former world No 1 who has earned a wild card for the Ryder Cup, is not the only golf pro flying the flag for Northumberland club Close House, where he is attached.
Jonathan Lupton, the club’s head teaching professional, came from three down with seven holes to play to win the final of the PGA North East / North West Matchplay Championship.
He roared back with four birdies to stun his opponent, Darren Pearce of Barnard Castle, and land his second regional major.
Lupton’s victory was achieved on the same day Ryder Cup captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson announced their wild cards for the big match at Gleneagles on September 26-28.
The concluding four rounds of the regional event – open to all golf club pros in Northumberland, Durham and Cumbria – were played over two days at Rockliffe Hall.
Lupton eliminated Northumberland players Spike Nesbit (3&1), Martin Forster (6&5) and Philip Waugh (2&1).
The run of success seemed as if it was coming to an end against Pearce until Lupton sparked off his magnificent comeback by chipping in for birdie at the 12th.
He halved the next two holes (birdie par) to lie two down with four to play.
Then Lupton rocked Pearce by reeling off a hat-trick of wins at holes 15, 16 and 17 (par birdie birdie) before halving the last with par to triumph by one hole.
He said: “My driving was fantastic throughout, but most importantly I gritted my teeth and kept going when well behind.”
Lupton, who was twice the national Powerade PGA Assistants champion in the days when he was training as a pro, writes a weekly golf column for The Journal newspaper.
During a sparkling amateur career, he played in the same England team as Ryder Cup star and major winner Justin Rose.
Lupton’s Close House stable mate Westwood goes into the Ryder Cup as Europe’s talisman, his team having won all eight times he has played.
His first appearance was at Valderrama in 1997 when he partnered Nick Faldo in the foursomes and fourballs.
This season the 41-year-old Westwood has passed the 30 million euros mark in European Tour career winnings.
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