Mellor’s at home on the range

FEW would use the word “average” to describe Netherlands striker Robin van Persie as he prepares to jet off to Brazil to captain his country at the World Cup finals.

SAM MELLOR

SAM MELLOR

Yet that is precisely how Trafford Golf Centre assistant PGA Professional Sam Mellor summed up the Manchester United star’s golfing ability after he swapped football boots for golf clubs during a visit to the city’s driving range.

Mellor, a second year student on the PGA’s degree programme, is fittingly preparing for a big date of his own after securing a coveted place in the Powerade PGA Assistants’ Championship final at Coventry.

The 27-year-old qualified from the regional event at Penwortham, and will face some of Great Britain and Ireland’s finest young golfers in the £32,500 FootJoy-supported showpiece at the West Midlands venue on June 11-13.

“I’m very pleased to have made it through to the final,” he enthused. “I definitely didn’t expect it as it was my first time playing in the event, but I’m really looking forward to it.

“I felt I played well all day in the qualifier. I knew when I hit the green on the 11th that I stood a chance of making it through, and I was delighted when I got to the end of the day and it was confirmed.”

An appearance in the final is fine reward for Mellor, who swapped the security of a nine-to-five job close to his home in Lytham St Annes for the chance to carve out a career in professional golf.

“I played a lot of college golf when I was younger, but once I started working it became harder and harder to find the time to play,” he explained.

“I always thought a career in golf could be a possibility for me, and when the opportunity to give it a go came along I just took it. It’s been hard, it’s a lot of work fitting in studying, working and playing and I have an hour commute to work too which can get tiring. I love it though.

“The facility at Trafford is very modern and every day here is completely different – you never know who’s going to come through the door.

“Since I started here we’ve had Coronation Street actors visit, MUTV came to do some filming here, and Robin van Persie had a go on the range.

“Van Persie was a really nice guy and he was happy for me to have my picture taken with him. I have to say his golf was average though, he definitely plays the right sport for him!”

Luke Young, national and key account manager for Coca-Cola Enterprises, whose products include Powerade, said: “We are delighted to once again support this prestigious tournament.
It has a long history of showcasing outstanding golf from some of the country’s best young players, and I look forward to watching what will undoubtedly be another exciting Championship this year.”

The other qualifiers from PGA North include James Freeman (Owston Hall), Cobie Atkin (Cottingham), Greg Jobling (Close House), Richard Robson-Crosby (Ponteland), Niall Ormerod (Rossendale), Gareth Davies (Abbeydale) and Benjamin Jones (Lea Marston).

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