Harpenden Common pro clinches Order of Merit title

Rob Leonard celebrates a two-shot victory after the Weston Homes plc Colchester GC Classic. Picture:

Rob Leonard celebrates a two-shot victory after the Weston Homes plc Colchester GC Classic. Picture: Tony Rushmer - Credit: Archant

Rob Leonard returned to top form with a superb two-shot triumph in the Weston Homes plc/Colchester Golf Club Classic.

The Harpenden Common head PGA professional fought off a clutch of players to secure his second Order of Merit success within the PGA in England (East) region.

Leonard, 29, came from off the pace to shoot a second-round 66 and finish on a six-under-par total of 134.

At that stage Ed Morton was seven-under-par, playing in the last group alongside Ian Ellis, who was just a stroke back.

But the pair’s respective challenges stuttered over the closing two holes and Leonard was able to celebrate a thrilling, if not altogether, expected victory.

Leonard’s 2014 results didn’t point towards him being a leading contender at the third Order of Merit event of the season.

But he opened up with a two-under 68 and that acted as the springboard for a sustained second-day bid that saw him successfully surge from three shots back overnight.

Most Read

Leonard, whose previous Order of Merit win came in the 2010 Virgin Atlantic Open, said: “I’m so chuffed. My form hasn’t been good at all this year, so going into this I wasn’t that confident. But I hit some really good shots in the first round and that built my confidence.

“The pressure was on all the way in the second round and I stood up to it – I’m really happy. I played well and hit a lot of solid shots coming in.”

Leonard’s second day began in ideal fashion – with a birdie at the first. He remained on the front foot, picking up further shots at the fifth and eighth.

He short-sided himself at the following hole – a par-five – but delivered an exquisite short pitch before rolling home an eight-footer to get to six-under.

Leonard kept his focus after dropping a shot at the next – his only bogey on the day – and then chipped in from behind the back of the 11th green for a birdie.

With a tricky breeze and a batch of players in the hunt, he stood tallest of all. It was a display full of character and class from Leonard, who became the head professional at Harpenden Common in April, 2012.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter