Levermore secures the vital winning point in Inter-County Championship at The Belfry
By Ewan Paton
Essex have been crowned champions of the PGA counties courtesy of a sudden-death play-off win.
Jason Levermore, 38, edged out another ex-PGA Cup winner, Phil Archer, 45, to ensure Essex lifted the PGA in England and Wales Inter-County Championship for the first time.
With the scores level between Essex, Cheshire and North Wales at the PGA National course at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, the duo had to battle it out for the second time down the par-4 first to claim victory and the £4,000 first prize.
In a dramatic finale, Archer appeared to have the advantage after hitting his approach closer to the pin than Levermore.
However, Levermore converted from around ten feet, leaving all the pressure on Archer to level, which he was unable to do.
“In all fairness, Phil was unlucky to finish on the green where he did,” Levermore graciously admitted.
“His shot was heading straight for the flag but it landed in an old pitch mark which spun it left. That was good for us but tough on Phil.
“Then I managed to get mine in the hole first, which is a big help. If you are putting first, it gives you the chance to put a bit more pressure on your opponent.”
The winning shot followed two-under-par rounds from Levermore, who was a member of the GB and Ireland PGA Cup team that was first to win in the United States in 2015.
Although the Englishman did not expect the match to go to a play-off after his five-under total of 137.
“We had our secretary out there and he told me Brett [Taylor] was three-under with four to play and I was three-under with four to play.
“So, I thought that if we could both finish on three-under that would be good enough.
“I managed to birdie the 18th to get to four-under but Brett told me he had a poor finish and ended up level-par.”
Levermore, who turned professional in in 2001, was placed on play-off duties due to the best two from three scores counting after his two teammates, Taylor and James Scade, returned a three-under and eight-under totals respectively.
The victory for the Essex men means that new winners have won the trophy for five consecutive years, with Suffolk, Yorkshire, BB&O and Kent also successful since it began in 2013.