John flies like the wind

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JOHN Wells breezed to a three-shot victory in the James Brierley Lancashire Open at North Shore and revealed the strong wind helped his cause.

“I feel I have a big advantage because I enjoy the challenge of controlling the ball in those conditions,” said the 33-year-old professional from Yorkshire club Cherry Burton.

“I think about each shot more, which keeps me disciplined, so I regarded it as a blessing when I arrived and saw the bent flag sticks ... but I bet no-one else did!”

Wells, joint leader overnight, added a 67 yesterday to his opening 64 to post an impressive 11-under-par total but he only asserted his authority on the inward stretch.

He was briefly threatened by fellow Yorkshireman Michael Ramsden and Ellesmere assistant Martyn Hamer, trying to emulate his dad Steve who won the title twice an amateur in the 1980s.

But Wells reeled off a quartet of birdies from the 13th and never looked like being caught from then on.

He said he was inspired by his pal Aran Wainwright, from Mid Yorks GC, who won the Spirotech Open in Manchester two weeks ago.

“I missed the cut there but, like him, I led from the front in this one,” said the first Yorkshireman to claim the title.

Ramsden finished second after a 70 to pair with his first round 65, while Hamer was a shot back in joint third with Westerhope’s George Cowan.

Two-time winner Barry Taylor, from Houghwood had set the pace with Wells on day one, when both shot 64. He and Taylor, whose wins in the event came before it was upgraded to full PGA North Region Order of Merit tournament last season, enjoyed the best of Monday’s weather and neither had a bogey in his round.

Styal-attached Jon Cheetham, the 1998 winner, set the early pace on day one with a 67.

Wells is hoping to stay in the right groove for next week’s De Vere Leeds Cup at Oulton Hall, which he won in 2007.

That would be another confidence booster ahead of his PGA Cup debut for GB and Ireland against USA in California next month. “Somehow I don’t think it will be as windy over there but I can only hope,” he added.

LEADING SCORES (Par =71): 131 John Wells (Cherry Burton) 64 67; 135 Michael Ramsden (Bondhay) 65 70; 136 Martyn Hamer (Ellesmere) 65 71, George Cowan (Westerhope) 65 71; 137 Aran Wainwright (Mid Yorks) 69 68, David Shacklady (Mossock Hall) 67 70, Jon Cheetham (Styal) 67 70, Adrian Ambler (Moor Allerton) 65 72; 138 Steve Parry (NW Golf School) 70 68, David Brunton (Ringway) 69 69, Lee Rooke (Vale of Llangollen) 68 70, Paul Simpson (Luton Hoo Hotel) 67 71, Liam Hunt (High Legh Park) 66 72, Nigel Parkinson (Renishaw Park) 65 73; 139 Barry Taylor (Houghwood) 64 75; 140 Alan Crompton (Haigh Hall) 71 69, Chris Clarke (Gathurst) 69 71, Andrew Barnett (North Wales Golf Range) 68 72.