Croft exhibits the quality of Mersey to win at Bovey Castle

Croft exhibits the quality of Mersey to win at Bovey Castle


Dan Croft made the long trip from Merseyside to Devon worthwhile by winning the PGA’s first Open Series tournament of the season – the South West Open – at Bovey Castle.

Not only was playing on the five-star resort’s course that affords stunning views of Dartmoor a new experience for the 27-year-old, likewise the manner of his victory.

Having begun the second of the two rounds sharing pole position with Devon’s James Ruth on five-under, Croft had to hold his nerve and repel the challenges of some high-quality opponents.

Not least PGA Cup player and three-time PGA Assistants’ Championship winner Matt Cort.

While Ruth, the defending champion, experienced a rare off day, Cort excelled by negotiating a course that harbours a sting in its tail for those seduced by its scenic beauty in six-under par.

In addition to proving the joint-best of the tournament, an achievement equalled by James Sharp, his round of 64 left him eight-under but, in the final reckoning, a shot adrift of Croft.

Kevin Harper, another Devonian, and 2013 Carris Trophy winner Ben Amor, also threatened, posting totals of seven and six-under respectively, but Croft held firm to claim the £3,200 winner’s cheque and, arguably, the most prestigious win of his career.

“It’s definitely up there with a couple of others,” said Croft who is attached to Huyton and Prescot Golf Club. “It’s been a great week and I’m glad I made the journey.”

Aside from a bogey at the par-four seventh, which erased one of three birdies recorded on the front nine, Croft’s card remained blemish-free as he posted a four-under par total of 66.

And he did so despite mounting pressure from Cort. Two more birdies followed on the back nine and the other seven holes were played in regulation.

“I had a couple of anxious moments towards the end,” he reflected.  “It was a very strong field but my playing partners, James (Ruth) and Dan (Brown) ensured there was a good atmosphere.

“The course was fantastic as well and it’s a great venue. I’ve really enjoyed being here and will definitely fit this into my schedule for next year to defend my title.”

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