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Leeds Cup win boost Houston’s tour hopes

By David Birtill

GARRY Houston believes he can resurrect his European Tour career after his second Leeds Cup victory in four years.

“I was ill at the start of the season and I did not want to travel too far but I still wanted to keep my game sharp,” said the Chester-based Welshman.

“I played a bit on the Challenge and EuroPro tours and in the region where there are more people round about my age.

“It’s certainly more fun but I’ll be going back to qualifying school at the end of the year to try to win my card. I’m 44 but I feel I’ve still got something left. The change in the putter rules could affect my game,” said the he long-handled expert.

“But I’m having a new one made to my own specifications.”

Houston, who won six events in the weeks before arriving at Moortown, which included the Welsh National PGA Championship, the Cheshire & North Wales Open and Mercedes-Benz International Pro-Am in Abu Dhabi, reclaimed professional golf’s oldest trophy by a shot from Scott Jackson after a brace of 69s for a four-under-par total.

The Disley man, the joint first round leader, held the advantage after 12 holes but a bogey at the 13th opened the door for his rival whose birdie at the 16th hoisted him the lead.

But the issue was still in the balance until the final green when Houston eased a 35-foot putt from the greenside fringe stone dead before Jackson’s attempt for a birdie from half the distance curled inches wide.

Houston said: “I didn’t make a bogey although I admit I guided the ball round and rolled in a few putts. The longer I went on without dropping a shot I knew I had a chance over the last few holes.”

As Houston cradled the iconic Leeds Cup in his arms, the 100th player to do so, he revealed: “I had no idea when I won it in 2012 how big it was. I only recently found out about the great names and just how important it is. To win it twice means a lot, especially at a great venue like Moortown.”

Garry Houston.