Yorkshire golf: Bedale’s Dan Brown lifts Yorkshire Open trophy at Howley Hall

Darrell Burrows (The Needless Inn) presents the Yorkshire Open trophy to Dan Brown.
Darrell Burrows (The Needless Inn) presents the Yorkshire Open trophy to Dan Brown.

BEDALE’S Dan Brown, fresh from helping Yorkshire to the EGU Northern Counties League title, added individual honours with victory in the Yorkshire Open at Howley Hall.

And second place went to his county team-mate Dan Wasteney (Bondhay).

Brown carded rounds of 72 and 65 to finish three shots in front of fellow England Golf squad member Wasteney, who had led after a morning 67.

Two shots further back of Wasteney were former European Tour player Iain Pyman and Craig Fricker, who shared the first prize on offer for the top professional of £1,000.

Brown’s 65 included seven birdies and a key element of his win was playing the tough final four holes in two under.

He made birdies on the par-5 16th hole, where he boldly found the small, severely-guarded green in two, and the demanding 197-yard par-3 closing hole, where he holed a 7ft putt for a two.

Brown, who along with Huddersfield’s former English champion Nick Marsh was in GB & Ireland’s provisional Walker Cup squad, will compete in the KLM Open at Kennemer Golf and Country Club next week, part of his prize for winning the Dutch Junior Open in July.

Brown said:” The greens were in great condition and I holed everything in the second round. I dropped a shot on the difficult par-3 fourth in the afternoon, but got the ball in play much better from the tee than I did in the first round, when I didn’t play great at all.

“It is a very nice feeling to beat the professionals. I played with two ex-European Tour players in Ben Mason and Gordon Brand which was a great learning experience for me, and that’s why I wanted to play here because it is the only event in Yorkshire where we can go head to head with the best professionals in Yorkshire, many of whom have fantastic pedigrees.”

Mason and Brand are both former winners of the Yorkshire Open, which dates back to 1927, and as well as joining some illustrious names in collecting the trophy Brown also picked up the Howley Hall Scratch Trophy, sponsored by Kronenbourg and awarded to the amateur with the best score in the 36-hole event.

Pyman said he “nailed it “in the first round, but could not buy a putt. However, he found a circuitous way around his indifferent putting in the second round by chipping in twice – crucially on his last hole - and holing a bunker shot.

Now a teaching professional at Waterfront Golf in Rotherham, he had knee surgery late last year and said: “My knee is still not 100 per cent and I can’t fully bend it so getting down to read putts is still an issue, and it will probably never be perfect, but I played really well all day.

“It is nice to get out and play but I am really enjoying teaching. I have had so many great experiences in golf and I feel like I am giving something back. It is really gratifying to see my pupils of all ages and abilities making progress in the game.

“I would like to work with more ‘wannabe’ Tour players as I know what it takes. Some of the youngsters we have in Yorkshire are outstanding players and [the Yorkshire Open] illustrates that with two amateurs taking the top places.

“They play more than we do, but hats off to them as the two Dans beat us all and in all honesty they hit it better than I did when I won the British Amateur. But our future professionals need to learn how to play the game and understand the importance of course management.

“That’s why I am keen to work with aspiring Tour players. We can give them the benefit of our experience not just on the range but on playing the game and learning how to get the ball in the hole.

“There are weeks when you are on and you know you have a chance of winning, but they are few and far between so most weeks you have to learn the art of making the cut and banking a cheque.

“That is why this event is so great for the best amateurs in Yorkshire because they get to play with the best up-and-coming professionals, but also some older heads who have played at the highest level like Ben Mason, Gordon Brand, Paul Carman and myself.

“I never had that opportunity so well done to Howley Hall, the main sponsor The Needless Inn and the Yorkshire PGA for resurrecting this grand old event,” concluded Pyman.

Howley Hall resident professional Ryan Rastall, part of the James Whitaker Golf team that serves both Howley Hall and Moor Allerton, had played little golf and by his own admission made a paltry contribution to his team that finished second in the pro-am the previous day.

But he recovered well to shoot rounds of 72 and 75 for a top-10 finish. His 147 total was equalled by another Yorkshire county player, Ben Hutchinson, who had two steady rounds of 74 and 73 around his own track.

“I dropped three shots in the last four holes, but I had not played for a month and was very rusty, so overall I was delighted and would have taken that total at the start of the day because it was not easy out there,” said Rastall, who is the son of former European Senior Tour player Tim.

The course has received rave reviews all year, primarily for the standard of the greens, but the testing wind and unseasonably cold conditions made scoring difficult and the 52 contestants could only muster five rounds under par in the 36 holes.

Yorkshire PGA Tournament Director Jim Pape said: “Thanks to our main sponsor Darrell Burrows from The Needless Inn we were able to run a great event which clearly showed that golf in Yorkshire is in rude health.”