Thursday, 23 May 2013

Pugh lays down challenge to Walker Cup rivals

Rhys Pugh issued a warning to those challenging him for a Walker Cup place this summer by romping home to the Welsh Open Strokeplay title at Royal Porthcawl.

He beat a host of names also hoping to make the team to take the title four strokes ahead of English international Garrick Porteous. Now he hopes to build on the victory after returning to Britain from the USA for the summer.
Rhys Pugh celebrates taking the title at Royal Porthcawl.

The Walker Cup side will defend their title against the Americans in New York in September, and Pugh will still have fond memories of the last event where he announced his arrival internationally to help GB and Ireland to victory.

Pugh took control in the third round at Royal Porthcawl, following up on impressive performances at the end of the college year in East Tennessee.

An opening 68 and third round 66 laid the foundations, with a closing round of 70 enough to give Pugh the title by four clear shots and an 11 under total. Bamburgh Castle's Porteous was second, with Ross James of Royal Burgess third, whom Pugh shared his final round with.

“It was a very satisfying win,” admitted Pugh. “The key was the way I played off the tee and taking advantage of the par fives which were mostly reachable.

“I am playing a different type of golf over in America, but coming back it is like a fish returning to water – the links courses are what I am used to.

“Things have been going well in America. I had two good finishes in tournaments there with a third and a second. Over there it is a lot more target golf and tree lined courses, but I am getting used to it.”

But he states his thoughts are far from the showpiece international event later in the year, saying: “To get a win early in the season back here is really important, it is always nice to lift a trophy, [but] I am not really focussing on the Walker Cup selection or looking at the other players in contention.

“The course where the Walker Cup is being played is a really good golf course, but it has more of a links feel, so that will be a bit of an advantage for us.”

Pugh's win continues the strong start for Welsh golfers this season, with Amy Boulden having won the Ladies Welsh Open among a host of other strong performances.


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