That was unbelievable, says golfer Giuseppe Licata after landing order of merit title
By The Bristol Post | Thursday, May 17, 2012, 05:01
ALTHOUGH the Manchester City Premier League drama was clearly the sporting comeback of the week, golfer Giuseppe Licata's achievement in the Gloucester and Somerset PGA Championship at Clevedon was also an amazing tale.
The Hambrook Golf Centre professional snatched the Total Triumph Order of Merit title from an almost impossible position.
He was 16 points behind long-term leader Ross Langdon (Henbury), with Andrew March (Brean) and Gareth Bennett (Cirencester) also ahead, at the start of the 36-hole championship. But when he arrived back to the clubhouse, he had won by 1.92 points.
"It was unbelievable," said the 26-year-old Bristolian. "After four holes, I discovered that Ross and Andy had dropped about six shots and that I had a chance."
On a wet day, with the Clevedon course playing every inch of its yardage, they both shot 81 to Licata's 73 and, despite rounds of 73 and 74 respectively, failed to make the top ten and earn points.
As Bennett was joint ninth, Licata's second round of 74 brought a share of second place alongside West Region chairman David Haines (Brean).
Licata, whose ice-cream-making family hail from Sicily, collected the Bill Bowen Trophy and the winner's cheque.
He said: "When I realised I was ahead at the halfway stage, I kept my head down as I knew a second or third-placed finish would be enough."
It was also a memorable day for Long Ashton's Roy Holland. He followed 74 with a best-of-the-day one-under-par round of 71 to take the championship by two shots.
Former champions John Goymer (Mendip, 74, 74) and Daryl Kelley (Filton, 76, 72) were joined by Ed Goodwin (Cirencester, 75, 73) in a tie for fourth.
Nathan Bateman, the young Weston-super-Mare assistant, shared the first-round lead with Licata on 73, but slumped to 80 in the afternoon to share ninth spot.
Licata, 26, credits his success to fellow Hambrook coach Ryan Crowley, who has worked on his swing, and Nicola Lumb, the former Gloucestershire amateur champion, who is the daughter of Hambrook owners Nicky and Kathy Lumb.
He said: "Nicky has started her own performance coaching, arranging the correct practice method and visualising what happens on the golf course."
As she is friends with Dave Alred, who has worked on psychology with Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and the England rugby team, Licata wondered whether she could ask him to set up a special training programme.
"I can prepare one for nothing," she said. Since she prepared a monthly fitness schedule last winter, he has shed two stones and now weighs 14st 5lb.
He has fared well in the West Region events. He was fifth at Weston-super-Mare, eighth at Minchinhampton and 13th in a field of 114 in the Cornish Festival. Only suspect putting has slowed his progress.
"I plan to play a full season on the region and see how far I can progress," he said.