Ruth exceeds expectations in retaining Order of Merit title

Ruth exceeds expectations in retaining Order of Merit title


Matt Moseley won the battle by winning the PGA South West’s final Carlsberg Marstons-sponsored Order of Merit event but James Ruth won the war by finishing at the top of it.

Toby Hunt’s absence from the PGA Wiltshire Open at Kingsdown meant Ruth went into it in the knowledge he had already won the Order of Merit for the second season in succession.

But that did not result in the 38-year-old taking his foot off the pedal and cruising through the 36-hole tournament.

Instead, he finished tied-second with Michael Watson to complete a dominant campaign that saw him win two of the five events, finish runner up in another two and fourth in the fifth.

All of which resulted in him coming 260 points clear of Hunt and more than 300 ahead of third-placed Jamie Clare.

Factor in a successful defence of the English PGA Championship at Bowood in July and a top 10 placing in the PGA Professional Championship and it’s been a memorable season for the Devonian.

“I didn’t think it was possible to improve on what I did last season, so my form this year has been very pleasing,” he said.

Ruth puts his continuing hot streak down to a change in his mental approach as opposed to technical ones and added: “I’ve changed a lot of stuff mentally and am more relaxed on the course.

“I’ve read a lot of books and listened to podcasts on the subject. I’ve known the talent was always there but being relaxed on the course has been a massive help to my game.”

Ruth is hopeful that approach will serve him well in what, despite his successes over the past six months, he describes as the biggest part of his season to come.

“I’m looking to get my Tour card back,” he explained. “I’ve qualified for the second stage in Spain at the start of November and the third and final stage follows a week later. So, between now and then I’ll be practising and working in the gym on my fitness.”

Looking further ahead, in addition to maintaining his purple patch in the South West, Ruth is keen to make his second appearance in the PGA Cup.

“I made the team last year and loved the experience,” he recalled. “Playing in next year’s match in the USA is a massive goal for me.”

Ruth currently lies tied ninth in the rankings to qualify for Tim Rouse’s team that will take on the USA and will boost his chances with a high placing in next year’s PGA Professional Championship.

In addition, he has qualified for the PGA Play-Offs by virtue of winning his region’s Order of Merit and a top three finish will secure his place.

Ruth will be joined in April’s PGA Play-Offs by three others from the region: Hunt and Clare due to finishing second and third respectively in the Order of Merit and Paul Hendriksen who qualifies as the 2023 PGA Professional Championship winner.

All four, however, were left in Moseley’s slipstream at Kingsdown after the pro from Tenby Golf Club turned on the style in the tournament’s second round to win his first Order of Merit event and claim the £1,750 first prize.

He had begun it level with Ruth, Watson, Hendriksen and Ashley Mansell on three-under but a six-under par round of 66 that featured seven birdies and just one bogey saw him finish two shots clear of the field.

CLICK HERE for a full list of scores from the PGA Wiltshire Open.

CLICK HERE for the final PGA West region Order of Merit.


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