Hunt and Runcie share two-shot lead in Asbri Welsh National PGA Championship

Hunt and Runcie share two-shot lead in Asbri Welsh National PGA Championship

05/09/2023

Toby Hunt and Adam Runcie both holed eagles on a hot and windy Machynys Peninsula course to earn a share of the lead at the half-way point of the 2023 Asbri Welsh National PGA Championship.

Hunt, who won this event at Ashburnham Golf Club in 2018, made his eagle on the par 5 13th after heading into the turn one-under-par.

The St Mellons Golf Club professional birdied the 10th but dropped a shot at 16. Hunt saved potentially back-to-back birdies with a mammoth 20 foot putt to save his par on 17 and a birdie on the final hole saw him finish on 68.

“If I’m being honest I’m still a little disappointed because I think I played better than my score,” said Hunt. “I holed a couple of nice putts but it could have been seven or eight-under-par on a different day if the putter was working a little bit more.

“The positives are I hit the ball well off the tee and I didn’t find myself in any real trouble which was pleasing.

“I had a couple of good chances on the front nine and a few chances went begging. I birdied 10 and missed a short one at 11, and 12 was playing really tough into the wind. I hit two great shots into 13 and that was a really good eagle putt. I actually didn’t hit the putt I wanted to and I actually pushed it a little bit, but misread it and that one actually went in, so that was a nice feeling, the don’t come around very often.”

Looking ahead to the final round, Hunt added: “It would be massive for me to win this event again and get my name on the trophy again, but there’s 18 holes to go. I’ve got to continue to hit the ball good and try and get some more putts to drop in.”

Runcie was playing in his first Asbri Welsh National PGA Championship but showed no nerves as he equalled Hunt’s score following a dramatic finale to his round.

Runcie, who is attached to Abergele Golf Club, was one-under par heading into the final two holes and he finished in style, picking up a birdie at 17 before holding a 10 foot eagle putt at 18.

“I felt I played great all day and holed nothing, and then I holed a 30 foot putt on 17 for two and then hit two great shots on the last to role it in for an eagle, so that was really cool,” said Runcie, whose brother is also playing in the event and is tied 11th on three-over-par.

“The course is fantastic. It’s so demanding off the tee and I managed to hit lots of fairways so I put myself in a great position. It just felt like it could have been more, but to finish with a birdie and an eagle I feel I’ve got the best out of my round!

“The eagle putt looked like it was going in and then it stopped and I thought ‘oh no!’ But it just dropped in for me so that was a nice relief for me.

“Tomorrow I just have to stick to my gameplan. Gameplans can change during a round but I’ll just do my gameplan and see what happens.

“It would be awesome to win this event. I only joined The PGA last year so this is my first time playing this event and I would love to see my name on the trophy with all of the other past winners.”

Elsewhere, Ben Brierley (Denbigh Golf Club - pictured) is tied in third position with Mark Pilkington (Porthmadog Golf Club) on two-under-par. James Black (Erlestoke Golf Club) and Elliot Harding (Haverfordwest Golf Club) are one shot back in fifth.

Defending champion Sion Bebb endured a mixed afternoon. A triple bogey at hole seven put Bebb on the backfoot but birdies at 13 and 18 saw him finish on three-over par in T11.

CLICK HERE to view a full leaderboard from day one of the Asbri Welsh National PGA Championship.

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