Former European Tour player David Brunton won the Leeds Senior Masters by two shots after holding off fellow Lancastrian Mark Ashworth.
Clitheroe’s Ashworth posted a clubhouse score of seven under after setting a new course record of 64, but Brunton, who plays out of Manchester’s Ringway Golf Club, added a 68 to his first day 67 for a nine under par tally that was good enough by two shots
Brunton has been what he describes as a “full-time player” for most of his life and like defending champion David Shacklady has been a regular winner on the PGA North region
Brunton said:” Fair play to the staff here at Wike Ridge in getting the course in such great condition given the amount of rain that had fallen in the run up to the tournament.
“I hit it really well in both rounds and my birdies were mostly tap-ins. They had to be as the greens here are very tricky especially if you don’t hit it in the right spots. I have played full time professional golf for most of my life and it feels great to win here after finishing fifth last year at my first attempt.”
But the biggest drama in his life was when he suffered a heart attack during a round at Frilford Heath in 2014."I collapsed on the course, broke my ribs and chest plate and was in hospital for two weeks. It took me six months to recover," he recalled.
Brunton joined the paid ranks at 17 and among his mentors was Denis Durnian who was pro at Northenden.He also spent a year on the European Tour from 1998. "That was a great experience and well worth it," he added.
How life has also changed for Shacklady who won last year with a set of clubs he bought on E-Bay. The win- and more importantly the cheque for £5,000 that he banked- gave him the funds and impetus to compete on the Staysure (European Senior) Tour and he went on to win his maiden title at the 2018 VTB Russian Open and amass €180, 00 in prize money.
He finished on three under at Wike Ridge, describing his pitching as "pathetic.” He said: “I felt like I could have shot six or seven under so I’m going for a lesson in the morning and it might end up all being on the short game!"
Shacklady, two-time European Tour winner Andrew Sherborne, and Texan Tim Thelen all took time out from the Staysure Tour to compete in Leeds.
Sherborne finished on one over but was delighted with the fact that he didn’t have a shank in either round after suffering from golf’s dreaded curse the week before at the Staysure event at Trevose, where he is attached.
“I really was in two minds about coming here after having ten shanks the week before with everything from a little six iron to my wedges. But they seem to have gone now so happy days."
Five time European Senior Tour winner Thelen, who was on the same college golf team as Ilkley’s Colin Montgomerie at Houston Baptist, picked up a cheque after finishing on one under in his first appearance in the event.