LEE SHEPHERD went agonisingly close to winning the Harold Lees Trophy, a top PGA North Region assistants title, before losing out to Alex Belt at the fifth hole of a drama packed play-off at Sheffield’s Dore and Totley course.
The Willow Valley player could have settled the issue at the third play-off hole, the 18th, where his birdie putt from ten feet scraped the hole, opening the door for Belt, from Bridlington Links, to share the hole after over-shooting the green then chipping stiff.
The pair were deadlocked in normal time on level par 144 but Belt, the North Region champion and winner of the Ryder Cup Wales 2010 Welsh Open Young PGA Professional championship earlier in the season, looked home and dry half-way through his second round after grabbing four birdies.
But he ran up a triple bogey at the tenth and despite two more leaked shots he was still in the box seat until Shepherd birdied the 17th to force extra time.
The 17th proved Shepherd’s undoing in sudden death as he had the misfortune to block his tee shot and Belt’s par was enough to clinch the title.
Belt will defend the PGA North Region championship on home turf as it switches from the North East to Yorkshire, at Marriott Hollins Hall, near Guiseley, on September 29-30, with new sponsorship from international freight forwarders Thomson Davis. The North Region championship is the final counting event to determine the outcome of the Order of Merit title held by Selby’s Nick Ludwell.
Leading scores: 144 - A Belt (Bridlington Links) 71 73, L Shepherd (Willow Valley) 73 71. 145 - M Ramsden (Bondhay) 73 72, M Marsh (Hallowes) 71 74, J Salt (Ashton-under-Lyne) 71 74. 147 - L Allen (Lindrick) 77 70, B Scott (Clitheroe) 71 76, D Haughian (Adlington Golf Centre) 68 79. Others included: 154 - A Cranston (Willow Valley) 74 83. NR: R Booth (Bradley Hall), P Young (Willow Valley).