James’ maiden win

Blyth-based PGA assistant professional James Ranson picked up his first professional win in the PGA North Region’s Harold Lees Trophy at Dore & Totley Golf Club.

James, who played out of Brampton and represented Cumbria before turning professional and moving across to Northumberland, started slowly in Sheffield before following birdies at nine and 11 with three more in the final three holes to post a level par round of 72. That gave him a three-shot win over Leeds’ Thomas George, and secured the £400 top prize.

“I’m over the moon to get my first win as a professional and it’s a great feeling to top a leaderbaord after a couple of tough years on the playing side of things,” said James, who has just started his third and final year of training.

“Having got off to a shocking start [he was five over-par through eight holes] all my expectations went out the window and I just focussed on enjoying the game. When we reached the 16th tee, I was three over-par and just one off the lead. From there, I played great shots on 16 and 17 to make birdies, then topped it off with another one on 18 – all without a lot of feel in my arms if I’m honest.

“Since I joined the PGA, I’ve found it tough to balance my time in the shop, studying, coaching and playing and I’ve had to focus on things off the golf course. I’ve got more used to it though and definitely got the bug back this summer, which has shown in some better results. I’m proud of how I’ve worked hard on my game these last few months, even after long shifts, and hopefully this is a first win in a few. I feel like my game is in great shape, I’ve got a great balance in my work at Blyth, and I’m really enjoying all the aspects of my golf.”