Ruth and Croft deliver five-star displays at five-star Bovey Castle

Ruth and Croft deliver five-star displays at five-star Bovey Castle


James Ruth and Daniel Croft delivered five-star performances in keeping with the venue to share the lead after the first round of the PGA’s South West Open at Bovey Castle.

Both posted five-under par rounds of 65 to lead the 104-strong field drawn from the PGA’s seven regions chasing the £3,200 first prize.

The similarities end there, however. Whereas Ruth (pictured), a Devonian, was enjoying what was tantamount to a home fixture, Croft, who represents Huyton and Prescot Golf Club, made the long journey from Merseyside to take part.

Furthermore, as well as being familiar with the course that is attached to the luxurious resort that commands stunning views of Dartmoor, Ruth has previous in this event.

He succumbed to Nico Els in a play-off when it was first staged two years ago and is the defending champion after going one better at Mendip Spring 12 months ago.

“This event seems to suit me,” he said, “and so does the golf course. The course is superb and it’s as good as I’ve seen it.

“I played here a couple of weeks ago in a Devon PGA event and the greens have had some work done since then and were amazing today.”

As well as keeping all bar Croft at bay, Ruth also overcame the effects of a virus that jeopardised his participation.

“I felt so ill yesterday and came off the practice ground after two holes,” he explained. “I’ve had a virus for four or five days and contemplated pulling out this morning, but I took it slowly and came up with a nice number. I certainly didn’t expect it.”

Croft was also fulsome in his praise for the course which, aside from one practice round is alien territory.

“I drove down yesterday and had a practice round,” he said. “The course is in very good nick, the weather was fine and I really enjoyed it out there today. The journey’s been worthwhile – so far.”

Covering substantial distances to play in events is an integral part of the 27-year-old’s plan for the season, however.

“I’m playing in this to get some more tournament experience,” he added. “I plan to play in more Open Series events, and I’ll also be playing in the Tartan Tour up in Scotland.”

Prior to that Croft and Ruth will be mindful of the quality of those looking to usurp them in pole position in the final round.

Daniel Brown, 2013 Carris Trophy winner Ben Amor and four time Welsh PGA Professional Championship winner Sion Bebb are a shot behind, while Els, Matt Ford, and PGA Cup player Matt Cort are on two-under.

Click here for a full list of scores




















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