Ruth prevails in Cotswolds showdown to deliver second win of the season

Ruth prevails in Cotswolds showdown to deliver second win of the season


James Ruth delivered the coup de grace to kill off his rivals in a play-off at Cleeve Hill Golf Club to make it two wins out of two in the PGA South West Order of Merit.

The opportunity to follow up his victory in the South West Open at Mendip Spring earlier in the month by winning the Cleeve Hill Masters did come gift-wrapped, however.

With Ryan Pope a shot clear of the field and needing to hole a three-foot putt on the 18th to finish on six-under and claim the £2,500 winner’s cheque, Ruth, Sion Bebb and Ross Langdon looked destined to share second place.

But they were reprieved when Pope's putt avoided its target to set up a four-way play-off, initially on the par-four 18th.

Further confirmation that the golfing gods had turned against Pope came in the play-off when, what seemed an expertly executed approach landed on the green but was subjected to a vicious kick that took the ball out of bounds and ended its owner's participation in the tournament.

The surviving trio all made par, as they did on two more negotiations of the 18th, before Ruth settled matters on the fourth extra hole with a birdie on the par-five first.

Ruth’s putts had flirted with the hole earlier in the play-off, as had Bebb’s, and reflecting on one finally dropping after receiving the trophy from PGA South West captain Mark Searle, he said: “I struggled on the greens all day.

“Tee to green I played lovely, but I had 37 putts, and it was tricky putting in that wind. I didn’t think one was ever going to drop so holing that putt on the last to win was really satisfying.”

With the course perched 1,000 feet above sea level in the Cotswolds, it was not only the putts that were at mercy of the bone-chilling wind.

“It was very tough out there for two days,” Ruth added. “I grew up in Tavistock, which is on Dartmoor, and the course reminded me of that. It was very firm and windy. It was brutal out there.”


The win takes Ruth’s earnings from the two Order of Merit successes to £5,700 as well as a formidable package of points in his bid to retain the title.

He has a 90-point advantage over Toby Hunt and is 130 clear of Ryan Pope, who lies third.

“It’s been a really good start to the season,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of support from people and companies this year. It means a lot to have that sort of support and it makes it a lot easier going out on the golf course. I’ve just got to press on.”

CLICK HERE for a full list of scores from the PGA Cleeve Hill Masters. 


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