EDINBURGH-BORN Rhys Davies ended a barren spell as he rediscovered the form which helped him claim two notable scalps in the Walker Cup that spawned many of the PGA Tour’s current leading lights.
Set up by a 65 on Saturday, the 29-year-old won the Turkish Airlines Challenge at Gloria Golf Club in Belek, finishing four shots clear of the field with a 14-under-par total.
It was the Welshman’s third triumph on the second-tier circuit, having found himself back there since losing his main tour card at the end of the 2012 season. That blow came two years after Davies had finished 18th in the Race to Dubai after recording his maiden European Tour victory in the Hassan Trophy in Morocco as he rose to 44th in the world.
“Sometimes it’s been really horrible in the last couple of years, I’m not going to pretend,” said Davies, who played in two Walker Cups, including the 2007 match at Royal County Down, where he beat Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler in the singles.
“It’s been quite dark sometimes. But I always felt that if I could get in the mix I could win again, I didn’t doubt that, to be honest. Having said that, I couldn’t see it happening any time soon at various moments. Sometimes it was so bad I didn’t know where the next good round was going to come from. That’s all I’ve been looking for, one good score. I know that seems crazy, but it was as simple as that.”
A closing 68 helped George Murray finish joint-29th alongside fellow Fifer Peter Whiteford, who was on course to claim a loftier position until he dropped four shots in the last four holes.
Like Davies, Irishman Gavin Moynihan looks as though he’ll have a brace of Walker Cup appearances on his CV by the time he makes the switch to the paid ranks. Winner of last year’s Scottish Stroke-Play Championship at Panmure, Moynihan all but sealed his place in the Great Britain & Ireland team for September’s contest at Royal Lytham after winning the Irish equivalent by three shots at Royal Dublin.
In the same event, Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson also boosted his chances of facing the Americans as he recovered from an opening 76 to finish joint-third.
Ferguson’s consistency in the opening half of the season is being matched by compatriot Pamela Pretswell in the ladies’ professional ranks. She made it four top 15s in a row by finishing joint-11th in the Buick Championship in Shanghai, where home player Shanshan Feng won by six strokes.