Leonard completes county double

PUBLISHED: 12:16 23 May 2008 | UPDATED: 22:22 26 October 2009

County champion Robert Leonard

County champion Robert Leonard

ROBERT Leonard enjoyed a double reason for celebration after winning the Herts Professional Championship at South Herts. Not only was it his biggest victory since turning pro, but it came four years after he had won the county amateur championship. That

ROBERT Leonard enjoyed a double reason for celebration after winning the Herts Professional Championship at South Herts.

Not only was it his biggest victory since turning pro, but it came four years after he had won the county amateur championship.

That ensured he joined the select few who have collected both Herts titles.

Two who have previously claimed that distinction - Peter Cherry and Bobby Mitchell - were among his challengers, as was defending champion Andrew Clapp.

But Mid Herts' Leonard surged ahead as he opened with three birdies in the first five holes.

He went on for a three under par round of 69 to be three ahead of the field.

Leonard followed with one over par 73 for a two under par 142 total to win by six strokes from Chesfield Downs golfer Martin Bird, who had 75, 73 for 148.

Great Hadham's Paul Hetherington was third on 149 after rounds of 76, 73.

Leonard also retained the assistants' trophy which he won last year, and his success followed victory in the Thomson Tour Championship last season.

Formerly at Harpenden Common, where he won the county amateur title, he is now an assistant at Mid Herts to club professional Barney Puttick.

He received coaching from Puttick and Leonard added: "He won the title in 1983 - before I was born!"

Leonard is in the second of his three-year trainee course for PGA qualification.

"I took my second-year exams last week, so have not been playing a great deal lately," he said.

"I have kept up my practice, and in the morning round I played really well and held it together in the afternoon."

In his opening 69, he needed putts of only 4ft and 3ft to birdie the second and third holes and at the par 5 fifth chipped and putted for birdie.

Although dropping a shot at the sixth, he eagled the ninth to be four under par at the turn and three ahead of the field.

Over the second nine he bogeyed 11 and then birdied 13.

He missed a 3ft birdie putt at the short 14th, then dropped a shot at 16 but parred his way back for 73.

Defending champion Clapp, recently appointed club professional at Brickendon Grange, finished fourth after rounds of 73, 70.

Sharing fifth place on 151 were Harpenden's Stephen Harris, Elstree's Marc Warwick and Arkley golfer Andrew Hurley.

Peter Cherry, now at Ashridge, had rounds of 76, 78 and South Herts pro Bobby Mitchell 77, 78.

In winning the county amateur title at Old Fold Manor in 2004, Leonard, then 19, needed two extra holes before accounting for Chris Tingey.

He holed a 2ft putt on the 20th for victory to be ahead for the first time in the match.


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