Leigh Golf Club captain John Taylor sank a dramatic 18th hole putt to secure a trip to Morocco for the SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge final.
Taylor partnered former PGA Cup player Andrew Baguley for the Midlands regional qualifying event held at Enville Golf Club near Stourbridge. And the Cheshire duo sneaked in to take the honours by just one point after Taylor put his nerves to one side to make the winning putt.
That meant they totalled 45 points, with a nine under par round at the West Midlands venue, to beat Wergs Golf Club’s Shaun Ball and Jonathan Hill into second spot.
The Leigh pairing will now play in the £22,000 Morocco final. in association with Golfplan, which will be held between November 21-22 at Mazagan Beach Resort, Casablanca.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous as I was when I stepped up for that five foot putt at the end,” said 16 handicapper Taylor, a 59-year-old retired project manager from Culcheth, near Warrington. “But I’d have been even more nervous if I’d known it was going to be the winning putt. If I hadn’t made it, we’d have lost on countback.”
Taylor secured a nett birdie to make sure of a place in the final. He continued: “The timing of it will be ideal as it comes right at the end of my captaincy year on December 2.
“I’m still on cloud nine about it, I was totally gobsmacked, to play in the event and be treated like royalty at an excellent course was one thing, to play well and win the event was another, but to end up playing in a Morocco final is fantastic.”
Baguley is celebrating his second PGA final in successive years after reaching the National Pro-Am Championship in Portugal 12 months ago.
He said: “I got to the Pro-Am final in 1997 and last year, and I’ve played in two PGA Cups in 1994 and 2005 at the K Club when we beat the Americans. So I was thinking of put my clubs away but maybe not. To get to another final at my ripe old age makes me think I’ll keep on trying.
“I love it and it’s good for the club’s profile to get to these events. My captain played well at Enville. He rolled the putt at the 18th hole straight in even though he was nervous, then I saw we were leading by one. We both contributed, but it was a truly important putt. He was made up to get there.”