The Leeds Cup Winner 2020 - Haydn McCullen

PGA trainee Haydn McCullen not only joined a list of victors that includes four Open champions and a dozen Ryder Cup players in winning the Leeds Cup but also upstaged them.
Unlike his illustrious predecessors, however, McCullen was making his debut in a PGA tournament of any description.
Not that that was evident from the manner in which the year-one PGA Assistant attached to Ashton on Mersey Golf Club negotiated the second and final round at Leeds Golf Club.
So much so that previous champions such as Harry Vardon, one of The PGA founders and first winner of the trophy in 1902, and Abe Mitchell, the coach of Ryder Cup inspiration Sam Ryder, would surely have been highly impressed.
Not least by the way the 25-year-old executed his game plan to perfection, especially in the second round.
“The aim was to find the fairway off the tee and keep out of trouble,” he explained. “I only used the driver six times in the two rounds and, aside from the par-threes, otherwise teed off with a three-iron.
“I may have been 20 to 30 yards behind most of the others off the tee but I felt it was worth sacrificing distance in the long run.”
The tactic clearly paid off as McCullen had begun round two on level-par three shots adrift of the leader, Renishaw Park Golf Club’s Michael Ramsden, winner of the famous old trophy in 2017.
Others in the mix to claim the £2,000 first prize were Staysure Tour winner David Shacklady, previous Leeds Cup victors Jason Shufflebotham and Garry Houston as well as defending champion Gareth Davies.
Carden Park’s Houston and Davies of Abbeydale Golf Club were members of the six-strong posse that turned out to be McCullen’s main challengers but none of the sextet could match the debutant’s high-octane golf that belied his lack of tournament experience.
McCullen served notice of things to come with a birdie at the par-four first. Another birdie followed at the par-three ninth to take him to two-under at the turn.
Then he added another three at 11, 15 and 16 for a five-under-par bogey-free round of 64.
All of which left the chasing pack two shots adrift and pondering what might have been.
Not least Davies who, finishing with an eagle at 14 and then three successive birdies, was left to rue an opening two-over-par round of 71 that sabotaged his chances of making a successful defence.
Despite McCullen’s rookie status his success should come as no surprise given the way he excelled at the game in his teens. His introduction to golf, however, was somewhat unconventional.
“I was fascinated by the game when I saw it on TV when I was really small,” he recalled.
“As a result my parents found it was a good way to keep me quiet! Then when I started playing I was off scratch at 14 and plus-four when I turned pro.”
Reflecting on his victory, he added: “There were some formidable players out there – Shackers (David Shacklady), Garry Houston and Gareth Davies – so I’m delighted to finish ahead of them and to add my name to such a distinguished list.
“As for the future – I’ve had a few injury problems which have held me back so hopefully I can build on this.”

The Leeds Cup 2019

Winner Gareth Davies

All smiles as Davies gets the job done
Gareth Davies prevailed in tough conditions to claim the Leeds Cup Championship and add his name to an illustrious list of winners.
In its 104th edition the Leeds Cup, Golfs Oldest Professional Trophy, returned to its original home of Leeds Golf Club where it was first played for in 1902 won by one of the founding fathers of the modern game, Harry Vardon.
Whilst much has changed from Vardons days of playing, the course remains one of the toughest tests in the Leeds area and provides worthy Champions year on year. 2019 was no exception to the rule with Davies, who started the final round two back from overnight leader Christopher Crowder, claiming the spoils by virtue of a birdie on the 17th hole to allow his name to be added to the famous trophy.
Crowder in comparison suffered a calamitous start to his front nine which allowed Davies the opportunity to hold a three-shot lead through nine holes over his playing partner with two-time Leeds Cup Champion Garry Houston a shot behind in the earlier groups of the day.
The back nine became a back and forth affair with all players finding tough going on an immaculate back nine at the club, testament to the work carried out by the new greens staff at the club, in which birdies and bogeys were aplenty over the challenging layout coming home.
Owing to the design of the course it was the final three holes that provide some late round drama with Davies losing his slender lead in the Championship on the 15th hole with a bogey 5. With news filtering back that his nearest challenger was safely in the clubhouse on -2, Davies made the bold decision to take driver at the challenging yet rewarding drivable par 4 17. His decision looked to have been in error as his ball settled in the greenside bunker, but a delightful sand shot helped Davies set up a short birdie putt which 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.
“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” Davies added in his victory speech “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 -5 in the second round to catapult himself up the leader board into a finish for tied 4th.
With one event remaining the PGA North Order of Merit is set to be one of tightest in many years with currently leader Andrew Palmer (Chorley) currently leading from Gareth Davies with Alex Belt rounding out the top 3.
Full results are below –
135 – G Davies (Abbeydale) 136 – G Houston (Carden Park), L Rooke (Royal St Davids 137 – P Finch (Quest Golf), G Hamerton (Pike Fold) 138 – R Law (Bradley Park), A Palmer (Chorley), S Howarth (Davenport), P Archer (Poulton Park), D Smith (Swinton Park)

The Leeds Cup Winner 2018

Jason joy after Leeds Cup triumph

OVERNIGHT leader Jason Shufflebotham claimed the iconic Leeds Cup when he overcame Shipley’s Calum Hey after a play-off at Cobble Hall.
The Denbighshire man, round in 65 and 67, was clearly delighted to lay his hands on professional golf’s oldest trophy.
“It’s the biggest win of my career,” he said after shrugging off the challenge from the chasing pack in normal time, edging to victory against Hey by settling the issue at the second extra hole.
Shufflebotham, 29, a former Welsh amateur champion whose home club is Prestatyn, reflected: “I was two-under through five holes but dropped a shot after three-putting the seventh before picking up a two putt birdie on the long 14th.”
He was well prepared for the Leeds Cup showdown. “I spent some time working on my short game with Oliver Whiteley at Bramall Park which helped a lot because he made it look simpler. I’ve also practised a lot with Richard Edwards at Oswestry for the last year.”
But Shufflebotham admitted he had been struggling so much with his driver that he left it out of the bag.
“I just used two irons and a three wood which kept me out of trouble.”
And after earlier promising himself not to become aggressive, he reached the play-off hole in two as Hey bogeyed.

LEADING SCORES: 132 Calum Hey (Shipley) 66 66, Jason Shufflebotham (Denbigh) 65 67; 133 James Murray (Scarcroft) 68 65, Alex Belt (Snainton Golf Centre) 66 67, Benjamin Thompson (Hazel Grove) 66 67; 134 Michael Ramsden (Renishaw Park) 69 65, Tim Ford (Liverpool Driving Range) 69 65, David Smith (Swinton Park) 66 68; 135 Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham) 70 65, David Shacklady (Mossock Hall) 66 69, Jamie Howarth (Davenport) 66 69, Oliver Whiteley (Bramall Park) 66 69.

The Trophy was presented to the Winner by Mr Neil Evans, Director of Resources and Housing for Leeds City Council in recognition of the clubs long association with the City of Leeds.

The Leeds Cup Winner 2017

May 17, 2017

Leeds Cup joy for Ramsden

MICHAEL Ramsden came up on the rails with four birdies in the last eight holes to leapfrog the field en route to winning the Leeds Cup at Cobble Hall.
The 41-year-old Renishaw Park professional attributed part of his success to former winners, fellow Yorkshireman John Wells, from Snainton Golf Centre, and Carden Park’s Garry Houston.
“It was a tough day and I had a tough start,” he revealed after posting scores of 67 and 65 for a six-under-par total. “But linking up with two great players was a big help and I just pushed through on the back nine. It made up for the disappointment of losing in a play-off in the James Brearley Open in Blackpool last year.
“It’s been my goal in PGA North to get a trophy under my belt,” admitted Ramsden as he cradled the iconic Leeds Cup, professional golf’s oldest trophy dating from 1902.
Ramsden, who by an extraordinary coincidence shared a similar name as the sponsors Ramsdens Currency who came on board this year, is a club pro through and through which means his playing schedule is limited.
He counts as his friends Lee Westwood, from his home town Worksop, and Mark Foster and considers himself fortunate to know 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett with whom he spent four years when he was a youngster.
“I still keep in touch with Lee. I watched him a lot and I realised I’d never be as good as him so I chose a different path. It turned out to be the right one,” he added.
Houston, meanwhile, finished runner-up two shots off the pace.

LEADING SCORES: 132 Michael Ramsden (Renishaw Park) 67 65; 134 Garry Houston (Carden Park) 65 69; 136 Robert Booth (Crosland Heath) 68 68, Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham) 67 69, Jamie Howarth (Davenport) 67 69; 137 Phillip Kelly (unatt) 70 67, Steve Parry (NWGA Hart Common) 69 68, John Wells (Snainton Golf Centre) 67 70; 138 Jason Dransfield (Heswall) 72 66, James French (Owston Hall) 68 70; 139 Phil Archer (Birchwood) 71 68, Vincent Guest (Tees-Side) 70 69, Martyn Hamer (Davyhulme Park) 67 72; 140 Andrew Palmer (Chorley) 71 69 Philip Darlison (Roundhay) 70, 70, Gareth Murray (Mid Yorks) 70 70, David Smith (Swinton Park) 69 71.
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