Hunt holds his nerve in three-way play-off to win the PGA South West Championship

Hunt holds his nerve in three-way play-off to win the PGA South West Championship


Toby Hunt held his nerve to keep in-form James Ruth at bay and thwart an astonishing challenge from Jamie Clare to win the PGA South West Championship for the second time at Woodbury Park.

His previous success had come at the Players Club in 2019 but, aside from two exhibitions of high-quality golf from the 30-year-old Welshman, his routes to victory contrast sharply.

He benefitted from a three-shot advantage in winning four years ago, this time at the Devonshire venue he had to prevail in a play-off to claim the £2,500 winner’s cheque.

The sudden death showdown to determine the outcome had been necessary due to Hunt, Ruth and Clare all completing the two negotiations of a challenging course in superb condition in nine-under par.

Given that a shot separated Hunt and Ruth at the start of play in the Carlsberg Marstons-sponsored tournament their presence at the business end of it was predictable.

Not so Clare’s. The second year PGA Trainee attached to Long Sutton Golf Club had ended the first round on one-over, six shots adrift of the lead shared by Hunt and Paul Hendriksen.

His follow-up was as spectacular as it was unexpected, however. Having set the tone with an eagle at the par-five first, he added nine more birdies in posting a 10-under par round of 63.

A quartet of those birdies had been recorded in the final five holes, by which time his putter was red hot.

Sadly, he did not get the chance to wield it in the play-off after his tee shot at the par-three 18th slipped into the water and he incurred a penalty shot that necessitated him to chip in to even remain in contention.

He did, however, have some consolation in winning the Turier Scales-sponsored competition for PGA Trainees by some distance (pictured).

Whereas Clare's putter was on fire, Ruth’s appeared to have incurred a chronic case of frostbite, especially in the closing stages; not least on the final regulation hole when a six-foot putt slid by the target.

He did go close with a much longer effort in the play-off but Hunt, who almost holed his tee shot, made no mistake with the resulting putt from four-feet.

“I thought the tee shot was in at one point,” said Hunt, the head PGA Professional at St Mellons Golf Club, Cardiff.

“It pitched about six to eight inches from the hole and came back a little bit. It left me with a straightforward putt which, thankfully given the pressure, was one of the easier ones I had today.”

As well as claiming the trophy for a second time, Hunt’s victory also avenges a defeat he suffered at the hands of Ruth in a play-off that settled the Dudsbury Masters a year ago.

“I fell away a bit at the end,” Hunt recalled, “and missed out in a play-off on that occasion. So, it’s nice to get one up on him this time.

“We’ve had a good battle this time and we’re in the top two of the Order of Merit and hopefully home advantage at the next event will help me.

“I’m looking forward that event at St Mellons – there’s always a bit of extra pressure at your home track. I’ll do some practice beforehand and hopefully come up with two good scores.”

Hunt’s win has reduced Ruth’s advantage to 70 points in the Order of Merit with two events to play and his success was not the only one enjoyed by a Welshman at Woodbury Park.

His compatriot Richard Dinsdale (pictured), who represents Asbri Golf, was the leading senior thanks a four-under par total of 142.

CLICK HERE for a full list of scores from the 2023 PGA South West Championship.


Our Partners

  • Air IT
  • Banyan Tree
  • The Belfry
  • Coca-Cola
  • EVC
  • FootJoy
  • Gleneagles
  • PING
  • St. James's Place
  • Therabody
  • Titleist