Foursome achievement - Bebb doubles up at Machynys Peninsula

Foursome achievement - Bebb doubles up at Machynys Peninsula


Sion Bebb won the Asbri Welsh National PGA Championship for the fourth time and in doing so made a nonsense of the adage that practice makes perfect.

A serious knee injury, which needs surgery to remedy, incapacitated the pro from Morlais Castle Golf Club for five weeks until he played four rounds in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at Formby.

“Maybe that’s why I’ve done so well,” he mused after his two negotiations of the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Machnys Peninsula resulted in a seven-under par return that left his closest challengers two-shots adrift.

“I had no expectations – I couldn’t play until 10 days ago – I was struggling with my knee which needs an operation in October. As a result, I’ve been swinging slower than I had been so perhaps that’s helped make the difference.”

Despite the physical handicap, Bebb strode to victory in not one but two competitions by winning the Welsh Seniors which runs in tandem with the main tournament.

What’s more, his margin of victory was even more emphatic as he claimed the trophy for the third time in four years by finishing eight shots clear of Martin Stimpson, the runner up.

Given he turns 54 next month, however, Bebb felt his chances of success were more realistic in competing against opponents of a similar vintage.

So, his achievement in joining Craig Defoy behind Sid Mouland, Harold Gould and Stephen Dodd, as the fourth most successful player in the history of a tournament that was first contested in 1904 came as a very pleasant surprise.

“I always felt I had a chance in the Welsh Seniors,” he said. “But I felt time was running out for me to win the big tournament as I’m 53, so I’m quite surprised but obviously delighted. As I am at winning the Seniors.”

Bebb had laid the foundations for his victory with a six-under par round of 66 on day one that left him a shot clear of Tim Dykes, the winner at Cardiff in 2020, and three ahead of Lee Rooke, the defending champion, and Rich James.

The status quo prevailed on the outward nine, with all four posting level par returns. By contrast, a birdie at the par-four 15th saw Bebb open up a three-shot lead over his playing partners and, in terms of keeping them at bay, a safety-first approach became the most prudent option.

Not least when he deposited his tee shot on the par-five 18th into the fescue and was forced to leave his second shot short of the green.

An expertly executed approach to within 12 feet of the hole followed as did two putts to seal victory and dash the hopes of Toby Hunt who had finished on five-under.

Hunt’s four-under par round of 68 was the day’s best and saw him tie with Dykes in second place, a shot clear of Rooke and two ahead of James, the leading PGA trainee in the tournament.

Reflecting on his performance, Bebb added: “My round of 66 on day one put me in a good position and I didn’t put myself in a great deal of trouble today by hitting fairways and greens.

“My short game for me was good - I didn’t miss any of the silly three or four-footers. The wind made it tricky and there were a lot of slope on the greens but my putting was solid.”

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