11 Jul 19
Former amateur boxer Lee Bazeley punched well above his golfing weight in helping Garforth Golf Club qualify for the final of the Staysure Trophy.
Bazeley, a 13-handicapper, reckoned he played to eight as he and Gareth Johnson, the club’s joint head PGA Professional, won the PGA North regional qualifier at the Manchester Golf Club to book their place in the final at the London Golf Club in Kent.
The pair amassed 46 Stableford points in the better-ball competition that, sponsored by Staysure, the insurance specialists for over 50s, features a PGA pro playing in tandem with a senior amateur golfer.
That left them at the head of the 56-strong field, a point clear of the six pairs tied for second place. And Johnson has no doubt his partner was key to their success.
“Lee played super today,” he said. “He got us off to a great start with a nett eagle at the par four first and didn’t look back.”
Five birdies followed on the front nine to give them 25 points at the turn and another three were recorded on the homeward stretch to take their tally to 46.
Johnson was convinced that would not be enough to qualify for the 36-hole final that, staged later this month, carries a £30,000 prize fund with £7,500 going to the winner.
“I felt we were one or two short,” he added. “But then when I saw 45 was the top score, I told Lee we were top of the tree and in line to go to London for the final.”
That, however, came as a big surprise to his partner who took up golf 16 years ago after playing football regularly and boxing as an amateur at national level.
He admitted: “To be honest I turned up thinking the medal I’d won at the club had qualified me to play in the Staysure Northern Pro-Am!
“I didn’t know it was a qualifier for a national final – but I should have guessed. You’re not used to arriving on the tee with all the banners, having your name announced and seeing the big scoreboard. It was a really good day and everything was brilliantly done.
“I also played well, which was a bonus. My handicap has crept up to 13 but I played to eight today.”
In addition to winning the event, Bazeley’s enjoyment of the day was enhanced by the camaraderie he and Johnson enjoyed with their playing partners.
“The two chaps we played with were from Widnes Golf Club,” he added. “Jason (O’Brien) the pro, and Pete (Hurstfield) the amateur were two real top blokes.
“They’d played the course before and, as it’s one where there are some dog-legs and blind shots, they were really helpful. They saw we had a good score going and encouraged us. It was really in the spirit of golf.”
Leading scores: Garforth Golf Club (46 points); Alderley Edge Golf Club, Beverley & East Riding Golf Club, Heswall Golf Club, Lindrick Golf Club, Rockcliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Country Club, Whittaker Golf Club (45 points).
The full list of scores can be accessed via this link: