Thanks partner! Harling makes his mark

MARK Harling made it through to the Golfbreaks.com PGA Fourball Championship final at his sixth attempt.

Tony Cuppello, left, and Mark Harling

TOP PAIR: Tony Cuppello, left, and Mark Harling

The Accrington professional teamed up with Pike Fold’s Tony Cuppello for the first time at Woodsome Hall. And it finally proved to be a winning combination as they finished joint top of the leaderboard after carding a six-under-par 64 which included finishing with three successive birdies at the Huddersfield venue.

They were joined by David Corsby (Fleetwood) and Martin Edge (Hesketh); and Jon Bevan (Rhos on Sea) and Mark Sheppard (Darland Golf). And they all finished one shot clear of Cuppello’s club colleague Grant Hamerton and Jonathan Cheetham (1836tour.com).

They will join seven other qualifiers for the £33,250 BMW-supported final at St Mellion on August 20-22. The event will be a new experience for Harling who has been the head professional at Accrington for 12 years.

“I’ve never reached the final before, I’ve probably entered the event five times before this,” he said before joking: “I usually end up failing miserably!”

But he admitted a change of playing partner did the trick on this occasion.

“I know Tony well and this time it worked out, even though it was the first time we’d played together,” said Harling.

“He played really well and we had a very strong finish. It’s a good job we did otherwise we might have missed out again. But sinking three birdies at the end made all the difference.”

It is the first time Harling has made it to a PGA final and he hopes it will give his club a lift.

“It’d be good to raise the profile a little,” he said.

“We’re really looking forward to getting down to St Mellion and hopefully doing the club proud.

“I’ve a feeling its Tony’s first final as well so he’ll be happy with the result too.”

QUALIFIERS:  64  Mark Harling (Accrington & District) & Tony Cuppello (Pike Fold); David Crosby (Fleetwood) & Martin Edge (Hesketh); Jon Bevan (Rhos on Sea) & Mark Sheppard (Darland Golf). 65  Grant Hamerton (Pike Fold) & Jonathan Cheetham (1836tour); 66 Ian Ridgeway (Hartford) & Andrew McKenzie (Premier GM); Craig Goodfellow (Penrith) & Jonathan Graham (Silloth on Solway); Mark Bradley (Chorley) & Paul Walker (Knott End); 67 Lee Rooke (Royal St David’s) & Gareth Jones (Sandiway); Michael Nesbit & George Cowan (Westerhope); Barry Taylor (Houghwood) & Chris Crowder (Lee Park); Mark Smith & Andrew Earlam (Stamford).

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