Ruth's summer of success scales new heights

Ruth's summer of success scales new heights

21/07/2022

James Ruth gilded what was already a summer to remember by recording his most prestigious victory to date in winning the English PGA Championship at Bowood.

Ruth went into the event buoyed by two wins and a second place in PGA South West Order of Merit events as well as earning selection for Great Britain and Ireland’s PGA Cup team.

The 37-year-old from China Fleet Golf and Country Club, Cornwall, will line up against the USA at Foxhills in September courtesy of a captain’s pick.

And he showed just why DJ Russell has given him the nod with a superb display in the last of the three rounds at the Wiltshire resort.

In fairness, there was much to admire in his two earlier negotiations of the Dave Thomas-designed course which left him level with PGA Cup team-mate Matthew Cort on four-under par.

The problem was they trailed 2017 PGA Assistants’ Championship winner Matthew Fieldsend by four shots.

But just as Cameron Smith won The Open at St Andrews as opposed to third round co-leader Rory McIlroy losing it, Ruth followed suit on the venue’s PGA branded course.

There was a hint of what was to come at the par-three second when a birdie from Ruth and a bogey from Fieldsend resulted in a two-shot swing.

Thereafter, although Cort kept in touch and was only two shots adrift of the winner at the end, the trophy and £5,000 winner’s cheque appeared destined for Fieldsend or Ruth.

Having reached the turn sharing the lead with Ruth on seven-under, Fieldsend regained the advantage with a birdie at 10 and maintained it by matching one from his rival at 11.

Then two successive bogeys and a birdie from Ruth at 15 effectively dashed his hopes of victory before a lengthy birdie putt at 17 briefly rekindled them.

Ruth, however, held his nerve at 18 and the birdie Fieldsend needed to force a play-off proved elusive.

It all added up to a five-under par round of 67 for Ruth which equalled the joint best posted in the tournament and ensured he went one better than last year when he finished second.

“It’s one I definitely wanted to win after getting so close last year,” he said. “But then on Monday I played in a pro-am at Bearwood and it was probably the worst I played in about three years.

“Then the last three days here have been as good as I’ve hit the ball all year. I had the ball under full control for the whole tournament which was really nice.

“My only anxious moment came at 18 when I hit it a little bit long but played a good chip back. But I didn’t really miss a shot out there today – a few putts but that’s the way it is.”

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