Cort wins PGA’s flagship tournament at Slaley Hall

Cort wins PGA’s flagship tournament at Slaley Hall

17/06/2022

Matthew Cort got his hands on the PGA Professional Championship trophy following a dramatic play-off victory over Daniel Whitby-Smith and in doing so qualified for the 2022 Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team.

Victory at Slaley Hall means Cort has completed a rare double having won both the PGA Assistants’ Championship and the PGA Professional Championship.

While overnight leader Ashley Mansell struggled on day four, shooting four-over-par to finish third, Cort and Whitby-Smith battled it out to the very end and took the championship to an exciting play-off finale.

Despite the rest of England seemingly enjoying a heatwave, the final day field were met with wind and rain in the afternoon, but the weather did not deter Whitby-Smith. The head professional at Drayton Park Golf Club raced to six-under-par for the day after the front nine, with the highlight being an eagle at the par five second.

Four bogies on the final nine holes haltered his progress but a four-under-par round, which was the best of the day, earned him a spot in what would prove to be a tense play-off.

Cort was tied at the top at the half-way stage of the championship and after a level-par round on day three, he too produced a fantastic final round of golf.

Birdies at the third and eighth put the Beedles Lake Golf Club pro two-under-par at the turn and further birdies at 13 and 15 put him in a strong position heading into the final three holes.

A bogey on the 18th could have proved critical, but Cort came out on top after winning the play-off to claim his maiden PGA Professional Championship title.

Commenting on his victory, Cort said: “Winning this event is right up there at the top for me. I’ve done well in other PGA events and this ticks another one off. I’m thrilled to have won. It was just a grind out there. We had a good three days and then the weather came, it was pretty brutal to start off with but once we got into it wasn’t too bad.

“The weather today kind of fits with my game. I’m happy just making pars and this was that kind of course where pars were just as good as birdies. It’s such a hard course and given the conditions, I think it played into my hands a little bit.”

Looking ahead to what will be a third PGA Cup appearance, Cort added: “I knew if I could finish in the top ten I’d make the PGA Cup team. It’s a big deal. I’ve played the last two, it’s an amazing event to represent my country and The PGA so I’m really looking forward to it come September.”

Whitby-Smith will take some comfort in defeat knowing he too will represent Great Britain & Ireland alongside Cort against the United States in the 30th PGA Cup matches this September.

Ashley Mansell, David Higgins and Simon Lily have also qualified for DJ Russell’s team thanks to their impressive performances this week. Simon Thornton, Adam Keogh and Greig Hutcheon had already qualified through the PGA Play-Offs earlier this year, leaving with DJ Russell with two captain’s pick to compete his ten-man team.

DJ Russell commented: "It's been a very exciting day and we've now got a very impressive line-up.

"This year we seem to have quite a few rookies and they are very solid players. They'll certainly give the American players something to think about.

"Matt (Cort) is a very solid player and I think he'll flourish at Foxhills. They're all extremely good players and it's great to see Dan (Whitby-Smith) do so well. Unfortunately he lost in the play-off but it's nice to see him playing well and in the team."

CLICK HERE to view a full list of scores from the 2022 PGA Professional Championship.

CLICK HERE to view a photo gallery from the 2022 PGA Professional Championship at Slaley Hall.

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