ABBEYDALE’S Gareth Davies prevailed in tough conditions to claim the Leeds Cup and add his name to an illustrious list of winners.
In its 104th edition the Leeds Cup, golf’s oldest professional trophy, returned to its original home of Leeds Golf Club where it was first played for in 1902 and won by one of the founding fathers of the modern game, Harry Vardon.
While much has changed from Vardon’s days, the course remains one of the toughest tests in the Leeds area and provides worthy champions year on year.
2019 was no exception with Davies, who started the final round two back of overnight leader Christopher Crowder, claiming the spoils by virtue of a birdie on the 17th hole. Crowder had suffered a calamitous start to his front nine that allowed Davies the opportunity to hold a three-shot lead over his playing partner with twice Leeds Cup champion Garry Houston a shot behind.
The back nine became a topsy turvy affair with the final three holes providing late drama, Davies losing his slender lead on the 15th hole with a bogey 5.
With news filtering back that his nearest challenger was safely in the clubhouse on two under, Davies made the bold decision to take driver at the challenging yet driveable par-4 17th. His ball settled in a greenside bunker, but a superbly executed sand shot helped Davies set up a short birdie putt that he duly holed to lead the championship heading up the last.
Greeted on the final hole by the waiting gallery, Davies tapped in for a final par to claim the title by a single stroke and add his name to the oldest trophy in professional golf.
Davies said: “It’s a fantastic achievement and one I feel very proud to have accomplished. To have my name sit alongside some of the greats of the game is a truly surreal feeling.
“This is only my second time competing in the Leeds Cup and you get a sense of the history of the tournament at this fantastic venue. The changes in the course from 2018 are here for everyone to see and I look forward to coming back and trying to defend my title in 2020. The club have been fantastic and working alongside the PGA to reinvigorate this championship is something I am looking forward to seeing and being a part of.”
Round of the championship went to Peter Finch (Quest Golf Academy) who shot a magnificent five under in the second round to vault up the leader board into a tie for fourth.