Nick Westby Column: Hurd lifts gloom as hosts reign at the Open

Simon Hurd
Simon Hurd
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Former European Tour player turned amateur golfer Simon Hurd beat the foggy conditions and a stellar field to lift the Leeds Open title for the second time yesterday.

Hurd, 39, won a tournament reduced to 27 holes by two strokes at his home club Cookridge Hall.

He won with a 27-hole total of 103 strokes, five under par, two shots better than Paul O’Donnell, the professional at Cookridge Hall.

Rounding out the top three in a share of second place was another home player, former Cookridge junior captain George Pennells.

His rounds of 72, 33, matched those of O’Donnell, while Hurd shot 70, 33.

Hurd already holds the distinction of having shot the lowest gross score in the competition on the previous occasion he won the Leeds Open.

Hurd spent nine seasons on the European Tour and Asian Tour from 1999 to 2007 and now runs his own golf merchandise company, Druh Belts.

At the halfway stage yesterday he was one of six golfers out of 32 who started the Leeds Open, tied for the lead.

Hurd’s opening round of 70 was a score matched by Ben Brewster (Bawtry), Liam O’Neill and Martyn Bebbington (Cookridge Hall) and Marcus Armitage (Howley Hall).

Of the quintet sharing the lead going into the afternoon, none could equal Hurd’s 33.

Brewster shot a 37 to drop into fifth place on his own, behind Ben Hutchinson (Howley Hall), who shot 71, 35 to finish in fourth place outright.

Hutchinson was the last player to win a pay cheque for his efforts, with the top four all being paid and Hurd earning £500.

O’Neill and Armitage shot rounds of 39 to drop into a tie for sixth while Bebbington followed his 70 with a 42. There was some consolation for Bebbington, who won the top prize for the highest nett score ahead of Steven Cain (Scarcroft), whose rounds of 75, 34 saw him finish sixth overall.

Brewster won the prize for the best morning round with Jamie Perkins (Wetherby) the best afternoon score (34). Play was delayed until 11.15am yesterday due to fog.

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