Belt wins Order of Merit after play-off

Lancashire Open winner John Mellor, with David Shacklady, left, and Alex Belt, the Order of Merit winner.
Lancashire Open winner John Mellor, with David Shacklady, left, and Alex Belt, the Order of Merit winner.

Bridlington’s Alex Belt claimed the PGA North Order of Merit in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Belt went into the final event of the series, the James Brearley Lancashire Open, with a 79-point lead over his nearest rival David Shacklady.

The pressure was increased when Shacklady took a two-shot lead over the field after the first day at Blackpool North Shore.

But at the end of day two, five players, including Belt and Shacklady were tied at 11-under-par and a play-off was needed to decided not only to decide who would win the Lancashire Open, but also the Order of Merit title.

Former European Tour player John Mellor, from Sheffield club The Oaks, eagled the 533-yard 10th, the first sudden death hole, to win the tournament and leap six places up the rankings to finish third.

That left Belt, who represents Snainton Golf Centre and the De Vere Club, top of the season-long leaderboard to cap a successful summer, which included winning the PGA North Region Championship in May.