England and Wales (North) Region
28 Jul 17
Phil Archer bridged a 15-year gap when he won the PGA North Region Championship at Bolton Old Links.
He previously claimed the title back in 2002 at Blackpool resort Heron's Reach before embarking on a successful European Tour career.
The Warrington-born professional, a member of the Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team to face the United States at Foxhills in September, is clearly enjoying life at regional level.
"This is my second year back and I'm glad to see the game is growing for the first time in ages," he said after posting a five-under-par 67 to edge out early leader Ryan O'Neill in the 36-hole tournament reduced to one round due to torrential rain.
"A lot of new sponsors have come on board and I'm enjoying playing in pro-ams because I'm always relaxed in the company of amateurs," enthused Archer, 45, who represents the Players' Tour Golf Academy at Poulton Park where he is a coach.
"It was a shame about the weather because the sponsors and Bolton Old Links were chuffed to have the event here. They turned out a course in great condition and although it was wet but the greens were fantastic."
Several professionals felt the tournament should not have been played over one round and re-arranged for the end of August but Archer pointed out that other commitments would have prevented that happening.
"At least we got it finished and I knew I needed to win to have any chance of an Order of Merit's top three," he said.
Archer did not have the best of starts to his round, where he pegged up from the 10th tee. "I three-putted the first two holes but I birdied the par five 13th then the tough par three17th where I hit to ball to a foot, and picked up another shot at the18th."
He birdied four holes in a row from the fourth to seal victory.
"I was seven under for the last 15 holes which was brilliant," he added.
Family man Archer also revealed that he was something of a home bird after years of travelling on tour.
"I'm glad to be at home and seeing the kids," he said but he did not rule out competing at senior level when he reaches 50.
O'Neill, who won the championship at Heron's Reach in 2011, also had a strong finish by birdying four of the last five holes after also starting from the 10th.
"I was happy with my round," said the Penwortham-attached professional. "My dad caddied for me so I kept relatively dry," he observed.
A shot back on 69 were Swinton Park's David Smith, winner of the 2011 Leeds Cup and holder of the trophy Michael Ramsden, from Renishaw Park, who prevailed at Cobble Hall in May.
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