Jamie Rutherford praised Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort as a “true test of golf” as he snatched a dramatic final day victory in the 2021 Matchroom Tour Championship.
The Knebworth Golfer has been one of the best PGA EuroPro Tour performers of the season and held off the late challenge of Jack McDonald and Calum Fyfe to take an impressive victory at The QHotels Collection venue.
“Slaley Hall was in fantastic condition for the time of year, and it held up brilliantly. I thought the greens stayed true all week, offering fantastic consistency for us players out on the course,” said Rutherford, whose victory also saw him seal first place on the Order of Merit.
“It was a true test of golf which I think is exactly what the Tour Championship should be. You couldn’t get away with too many bad shots and you had to be on your game the whole way around. You were well rewarded if you had position but if you didn’t, you really had to think and plot your way back on track.
“The weather tried to play its part, but Slaley Hall showed its teeth in the best way possible and proved to be a fantastic week of golf. I was delighted to get over the line on a course that I’ve previously won at.”
As play came to a head on the tricky 18th hole on the final day in Northumberland, Rutherford only managed a bogie, which left McDonald, who was a hole behind, the opportunity to win with a birdie or take it to a play-off with a par.
In the end, McDonald only managed a bogie himself, giving Rutherford a memorable victory at Slaley Hall to secure a Challenge Tour card for next year, and joining a prestigious list of former winners such as Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie and Retief Goosen.
Daniel Godding, CEO of the PGA EuroPro Tour, said: “Slaley Hall proved to be one of the toughest tests we have ever seen on the EuroPro and produced a nail-biting finish to match it. The quality of the course shone through and it’s all thanks to the brilliant team put together by the Q Hotels Collection. It’s a credit to the game of golf itself.”
Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, operated by The QHotels Collection, is often referred to as the “Augusta of the North”, and this reputation was certainly tested by the players who displayed some incredible shots over the three days of play.
Keith Pickard, The QHotels Collections golf, leisure and spa director, said: “Here at Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, we are set deep in the heart of the Northumberland countryside with two 18-hole championship golf courses, and it feels great to have them being used for tour golf once more.
“We knew that with such great players in attendance and all our fantastic staff, that we would see a brilliant week of golf from start to finish and we got just that. The course and facilities gave players the ability to go out and play their best and we loved being able to watch it all unfold!”
Highlights from the Tour Championship 2021 will air on Sky Sports Golf on 2 November at 20:00 and networks worldwide from the same date, with further showings at 10:00 and 15:00 on 3 November.
The QHotels Collection manages seven top golf resorts in England and Scotland: Belton Woods Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, in Grantham, Lincolnshire; Dunston Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, in Norwich; Oulton Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, Leeds; Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, in Hexham, Northumberland; Telford Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, in Shropshire; DoubleTree by Hilton Forest Pines Spa & Golf Resort, in Brigg; and DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Spa & Golf Resort.