FLAMBOROUGH'S Alex Belt suffered play-off heartbreak in his bid to win the Yorkshire PGA Sandburn Masters this week.
The 28-year-old Scarborough-based professional, who is attached to the Snainton Golf Centre, fired a course record 64 to lead by three at the half-way stage of the two-day tournament at the Flaxton golf course.
But, after carding a second round 70, he was pegged back by escape artiste Gareth Davies, who found two rounds of 67 to tie the overnight leader.
Belt, the recently crowned PGA North champion, stumbled a couple of times in the home stretch as Davies came up the rails and it then needed five play-off holes to separate the pair.
The first four were halved in par before a bogey at the fifth ended Belt's title challenge.
That result looked unlikely following the first day of action, which saw him tear up the 6,700-yard par 72 course.
He birdied the 540-yard first hole, then proceeded to add 11 threes to his card, the most memorable of which was an eagle at the 504-yard 12th, where he rifled a six iron approach over water to 12 feet.
"I've played here lots of times because it suits my game," Belt said as he also racked up eight birdies. He had won the curtain-raising pro-am with a 66 the previous day.
But it was Davies, who won the Yorkshire PGA Championship at Willow Valley last season, who prevailed and he admitted: “I just kept plugging away because it’s never easy for anyone when they’re leading.
"I’ve won a couple of times on Challenge Tour and that showed me how to get the job done when I know I’m in with a chance. But there are still a lot of good players at this level.”
Belt, who also plays on the EuroPro Tour, aims to finish in the PGA North Order of Merit top three which would entitle him to compete in the end-of-season national PGA Play-offs in Turkey.
That provides the leading players with chance to peg up in next spring’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth as well as receiving starts in a number of tour events.
It is the second year the PGA Yorkshire Masters has held Order of Merit Status and golf manager Rob Heath was delighted with how the two-day event went.
"There was a new course record of 64 set and it was a really good round," he said."The overall scores reflected well with previous years and the course was in great condition.
"The relationship between us and PGA is good and we are hoping to welcome back the event next year."