10 May 17
Craig Goodfellow admitted the North West qualifying round for the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship was almost too close to call.
Former champion Goodfellow, of Carlisle Golf Centre, was part of a five way tie for the lead at Delamere Forest Golf Club in Cheshire.
Just two shots separated the 15 players who qualified for the £78,000 grand final which is being held at Luttrellstown Castle Golf Club near Dublin between June 13-16.
And Goodfellow, who has played in two PGA Cup matches for the GB & Ireland team against the USA, says only a last gasp eagle at the 18th hole ensured he did not need to take part in the play off to decide who made the cut.
Goodfellow carded a one under par round of 71 along with Jonathan Armstrong (Hartford Golf Club), Phil Archer (Birchwood Golf Club), Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham Golf Club) and Garry Houston (Carden Park Golf Club).
It was Goodfellow who narrowly won the event on countback, but the Cumbrian admitted that, the while the weather conditions were fine, the course proved a severe test for an experienced field of players.
“You wouldn’t expect one under par to win a qualifier like that,” he said.
“It was very tricky and quite easy to make mistakes and very hard to get the ball near the hole.
“The ball often went through the back of the greens, there was still quite a bit of grass on the fairways. They were like links greens, but without links fairways!
“A lot of the guys weren’t surprised the scoring was so high.
“It was nothing to do with the conditions, it was the testing nature of the course, very difficult to judge.
“I’m satisfied to get through. But I was lucky as I was one over par playing the last hole, if I hadn't made an eagle there I’d have been playing off to try and qualify.”
Now Goodfellow hopes he can make a return to the PGA Cup team that faces the USA at Foxhills in Surrey in September.
“I’d love to get into the PGA Cup again, having played it a couple of times, it makes you want to play it more, I’ve had a couple of near misses too,” he added.
“If hadn’t played in it at all, I don’t think I’d have been as driven to get back in.
“I’ve been lucky enough so far to play in two of the away matches. I always want to try and get in that team as it’s so good.
“The PGA Professional Championship is my main event for the year, but for the last five years I’ve been exempt from qualifying and there was no guarantee I’d get back in.”