England and Wales (North) Region
02 Feb 17
The iconic Leeds Cup, professional golf’s oldest trophy, is set to return to its spiritual home after an eight-year absence.
The tournament will be staged at Cobble Hall on May 15-17 and club secretary Paul Mawman said: “We’re delighted that the cup is coming home and we’ve been endorsed by The PGA.
“We are also the only club that can use the Leeds crest. Staging the competition here also helps our marketing initiatives.”
The return of the prestigious tournament to Cobble Hall continues an upturn in fortunes after the club came close to going into administration in 2012.
“It’s been a significant turn-round which we could not have done without the loyal support of the members,” Mawman explained.
“We did a complete review of our operations and we have since increased membership by 30 per cent and 85 per cent in visitors.”
Commenting on the decision to stage the tournament at Cobble Hall, PGA North secretary Jonathan Paine revealed: “The club was very keen to stage the Leeds Cup again based on the huge success they enjoyed the last time they hosted it.
“It’s great news for Yorkshire golf. The 36-hole tournament will be preceded by a pro-am and if everything goes to plan we expect it will continue at Cobble Hall on a regular basis.
The parkland course, situated on the north side of the city and founded in 1896, staged the tournament for the first time 1902 when the great Harry Vardon won.
Penrose Green, president and subsequent Lord Mayor of the city, presented him with the magnificent trophy, which is showcased at The PGA’s Belfry headquarters because of its value.
Vardon’s winning score over two rounds was 149 followed by Alex Herd and J.H. Taylor who were four off the pace.
Apart from Vardon, many other famous names have been inscribed on the cup including former Open champions, Ryder Cup players and well known club professionals from both sides of the Pennines. In the early years the competition was played alternately in Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Prize money in the early days was distinctly ungenerous and yet the tournament attracted most of the big names of that era.
It is recorded that in the 1911 tournament, the Leeds Club had generously given £18 to provide £2 each for the first 14 players who would qualify for a foursomes competition at Walton Heath.
The PGA had provided £20 in prize money for which £4 was voted as assistant’s prizes, divided into four prizes of £2, £1, 10s, and 10s. Penrose Green also donated a prize of five guineas to any player breaking the course record of 72.
It was won by Horace Fulford of Moortown, with an afternoon round of 71. The previous record of 72 was set by Leeds Golf Club professional, Mr Caird, on November 3, 1901.
Since then there has been plenty of drama over the years, notably in 2008 when Waterton Park’s Scott Barber won a play-off on the final hole, an uphill par three, at the 10th attempt! The last winner was Wath’s Chris Clarke in the ensuing season.
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