Ruth retains English PGA Championship title at Bowood

Ruth retains English PGA Championship title at Bowood


James Ruth made defending his English PGA Championship title this week look easy after leading from start to finish to claim back-to-back victories at Bowood.

The Wiltshire venue is proving to be a firm favourite for Ruth after an utterly dominant week, which saw the Devon-based pro break the course record on day one.

A magnificent 61 (-11) on Tuesday was followed up with a 71 on Wednesday, giving Ruth a healthy five-shot lead over his nearest rival, 2018 winner Matthew Cort heading into the final round.

Any signs Ruth may have been feeling the pressure were put to bed early on when he recorded back-to-back birdies on holes three and four to go two-under-par.

His opponent Dave Coupland was determined to close the gap and raced to three-under-par through the first six holes.

Cort, however, struggled to make up ground and had to wait until the ninth hole to pick up his birdie of the day. Ruth also birdied nine but his lead was cut to four, the shortest it’s been all week, when Coupland birdied hole 10.  

Both players bogeyed 12 and with Coupland breathing down his neck waiting to pounce on any more errors, Ruth kept his cool to win by four shots with a final score of 14-under-par.

“It’s always tricky when you come back to defend your title,” said Ruth. “It’s not an easy thing to do, but with my round on Tuesday, people say you can’t win a tournament in the first round, well I definitely think I did this week. That was the best round of my life and the last few days I was hanging on a bit.

“I was really struggling with my driver today so I hit a lot of irons and managed the game really well. I’m really proud to shoot two-under-par. I was almost more proud of today’s round than I was Tuesday’s because it’s easy to shoot a good score when you’re playing well, but to shoot two-under-par playing as I was, I was really pleased with that.”

Asked if at any point he felt under pressure from a determined Coupland in second place, Ruth continued: “Today I was two-under-par after four and from there it was just a case of keeping it solid. I kept the ball in play and just managed my game – I didn’t really feel under pressure at all out there.

“Winning this tournament means a lot. It’s one of the biggest events we play as PGA Professionals so I’m really proud to win it and hopefully they keep it here at Bowood every year because it seems to be a course I really like.

“It’s not a course I’ve played that much apart from the English PGA Championship. It’s a really good layout, there’s some great holes and it tests your game quite a lot. It’s probably one of the toughest courses in the South West region. It’s a great venue.”

Coupland put up a valiant effort in his pursuit to catch Ruth, shooting four-under-par to finish as runner-up on -10, while Cort was made to settle for third position two shots back on -8.

Ashton Turner shot the round of the day to move all the way up the leaderboard and secure a fourth-place finish. Six birdies and one bogey saw Ashton finish on five-under-par.

Bowood once again proved to be a fitting venue for one of The PGA’s flagship tournaments. With a course record broken and no fewer than two hole in ones this week, the venue’s General Manager, Jeff Condliffe, is already looking ahead to next year’s championship and the prestige it brings for the Wiltshire venue.

He added: “It’s a real honour and a pleasure to have the English PGA Championship here this week. This is the fourth time we’ve hosted the tournament and it’s probably been the best. It’s important for us to be seen to hosting a quality event with a quality field, and the golf this week on the scoreboard reflects that.

“Hosting this event cements our relationship with The PGA as a PGA Branded Property. To raise our profile in the golfing world is important and hosting a tournament like this helps with that and the golf course especially.”

CLICK HERE to view the final leaderboard from the 2023 English PGA Championship.


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