Heartbreak at the final hole as rival chips in for birdie

Alex Belt watched Ben Mason chip in for a birdie at the 18th to deny him the chance of a play-off for professional golf's oldest trophy.
Alex Belt watched Ben Mason chip in for a birdie at the 18th to deny him the chance of a play-off for professional golf's oldest trophy.

Bridlington golfer Alex Belt watched agonisingly as professional golf’s oldest trophy was cruelly snatched from his grasp.

Playing in the DeVere Leeds Cup at Oulton Hall, a course he knows extremely well, Belt saw Ben Mason chip in from 25 yards on the final hole to claim the title.

Mason, from Rotherham club Waterfront Golf, said it was was a dream come true to get his name engraved on the trophy, having had one hand on it in 2012, only to see it snatched from his grasp by David Smith.

Two years ago, Smith beat him on the 18th after a three-hole play-off and, ironically, it was on the same stage where Mason dramatically chipped in from 25 yards from the back of the green for a birdie to seal victory.

Smith, the overnight leader, slipped out of contention as 2010 winner Steve Parry, from Lancashire club Hart Common, took pole position after a closing 66 for a five-under-par total.

But with a play-off looking on the cards, Dewsbury-born Mason produced his master stroke to post a 67, to add to his opening 69, and prevail by a shot as Parry tied second with Belt, round in 69 and 68.

“I set my sight on winning this event since I came off the Tour in 2010,” said 37-year-old Mason.

“I prepared for it all season and it paid off. There was a gusting wind on both days but I kept control of the ball flight and stayed patient.”

Consolation for North Region champion Belt, from Snainton Golf Centre, was that he kept his stranglehold on the Order of Merit with a healthy lead of more than 200 points over David Shacklady, of Mossock Hall, and Parry, who are tied for second spot.

The top three players at the end of the season qualify for the Titleist PGA Play-Offs in Turkey in November.

Belt had fired an early warning shot at his rivals when he carded a two-under-par 68 in testing conditions in the pre-tournament pro-am.

After an early bogey, he picked up four birdies in the last eight holes in the pro-am to share the honours with Hainsworth Park’s Mathew Daley and Michael Ramsden, from Renishaw Park.

The PGA Europro Tour player, had put in a strong performance in the PGA Yorkshire Masters at Sandburn Hall in June when he lost in a four-hole play-off to Abbeydale’s Gareth Davies, so despite his set back at Oulton Hall, Belt is clearly a man in form.