England and Wales (North) Region
22 Dec 17
Victory in the iconic Leeds Cup, professional golf’s oldest trophy dating back to 1902, provided the perfect tonic for Michael Ramsden at the start of the tournament campaign.
“It gave me the confidence to start believing in myself,” he admitted. “I needed to get over the line and once I did I felt able to compete more.
“I maintained a steady season and finished off the job in the MTS Group Final at Carus Green where I shared fifth place,” he reflected after clinching the PGA North Michael Slater Memorial Order of Merit trophy.
Between times, the 41-year-old Renishaw Park professional also tied fifth in the PGA North Region Championship at Bolton Old Links and third in the James Brearley Lancashire Open at Blackpool North Shore.
But the Leeds Cup run for the first time in association with Ramsdens and back at its original home Cobble Hall, was unquestionably his crowning glory. And he attributed part of his success to former winners, fellow Yorkshireman John Wells, from Snainton Golf Centre, and Carden Park’s Garry Houston who finished second two off the pace.
“It was a tough day and I had a tough start,” he revealed after posting scores of 67 and 65 for a six-under-par total, birdying four of the last eight holes to leapfrog the field.”
Ramsden, unrelated to the sponsors, added: “My experiences this season with PGA North and Yorkshire have kept my confidence high.”
Meanwhile, Phil Archer bridged a 15-year gap when he won the PGA North Region Championship at Bolton Old Links in the 36-hole tournament reduced to one round due to torrential rain. 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 which retained the trophy after beating 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, Penwortham’s Ryan O’Neill, who went on to finish runner-up in the Order of Merit.
Graham Cox won the James Brearley Lancashire Open at Blackpool North Shore thanks to a pair of 68s for a six-under-par total.
The Lymm-attached professional virtually killed off any hopes of the chasing pack with birdies on the opening two holes, finishing four shots clear of runner-up Craig Corrigan, from Chilli Dip Academy, who last prevailed in the event in 1999.
Shot of the tournament was a hole-in-one at the 17th by Michael Jones, from Bolton Old Links in the first round.
Steve Parry tagged a 69 to his opening 65 to finish a shot ahead of the field in the MTS Group Final at Carus Green but endured an anxious wait by the par three final green as Robert Booth stood on the tee requiring a birdie to force a play-off.
But the Crosland Heath professional over-hit his shot and saw his ball bounce off a wall and end up in the clubhouse which cost him two strokes.
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