Former European Tour player Garry Houston has won the Welsh National PGA Championship at Radyr. Houston, who is contemplating a fresh tilt at re-joining European golf’s top table, defeated Stephen Dodd and Sion Bebb (Morlais Castle) on the second play-off hole during a dramatic end to the final day at the north Cardiff venue.
His win comes twelve months since he lost out to Dodd in a play-off at the culmination of last year’s event at Royal St David’s. Dodd would have equalled Sid Mouland’s record of six Welsh National wins, incidentally, if he had won this year. But Houston showed strong nerves to overcome both Dodd and Bebb, all three friends from their time on tour.
They each tied on three-under-par after they could not be separated over two rounds in the Welsh capital. And Houston looked dead and buried when his over-hit iron landed well beyond the green on the first play-off hole, before an expert chip to within a matter of inches kept him in contention. He then pounced on the second play-off hole with a perfectly measured putt to birdie in style and claim his first victory in one of Wales’ oldest golf tournaments, first staged in 1904 at Radyr, at the third attempt.
Commenting Houston said, “It’s a great achievement to come here and win this tournament. It’s something that you’ve gone and done in your life. You can turn around and say ‘I’ve won the Welsh National.’ It’s always nerve-wracking to do it in a play-off but it is a nice way of winning – you’d sooner win it by seven or eight though!”
Meanwhile two-time winner in this event Paul Mayo came away with the Welsh Senior PGA Championship. The title, won by the highest scoring player over the age of 50, went to the Pontnewydd pro after he finished with a six-over-par two-round total of 146.