Atkinson aiming to do his club proud

HESWALL professional Tom Atkinson, who has been promoted through the ranks at the club he started playing as a teenager, will represent them in the PGA’s flagship event.

He took up the game  at 17 when he visited Heswall with his dad to give it a go.

And 15 years later he has firmly established himself as the club’s head professional having completed his PGA training and worked his way up to the top job vacated by Alan Thompson, who has coached elite-level players including Ryder Cup winner Jamie Donaldson.

Atkinson, 32, hopes he can do the club proud in the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship, starting with the qualifier at Delamere Forest next Tuesday.

The leading players at the Cheshire venue will go through to the £91,500 final at Burnham and Berrow in Somerset on June 2-5.

There they could also qualify to represent Great Britain & Ireland in the PGA Cup against the United States at California in September.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Atkinson. “I’ve not played a great deal this year as I’ve been so busy at the club. But Delamere is a course I know well and enjoy playing. I’ve played there before in the Lombard Trophy and I think it suits me – it’s short and fiddly.

“I guess I’m different to a lot of guys in that I didn’t come into golf to play, I really wanted to be a club pro.

“But when the opportunity comes along to go out and play competitively of course you want to go out there, make the most of it and do as well as you can.”

Atkinson is only the fifth head professional at Heswall in the club’s  105-year history, after previous pros Thompson and Joe Collins amassed a combined 73-years of service between them.

And Atkinson, who coached on behalf of the Cheshire County Golf Partnership for a number of years, hopes he too can make an indelible mark on the club.

“The main goal for me  is to represent the club for a long time just like the guys before me have done,” he explained.

“For me this is one of the best clubs in the country, so I want to help it continue to develop and encourage more people to come and play here.

“And I love doing junior coaching. We have had a lot of talented young players come through the club and I want to make sure that continues.”

Matthew Johnson, Titleist brand director, said: “We are excited to be sponsoring a tournament that sits at the pinnacle of the PGA schedule, providing PGA professionals with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills at the highest level.

“This year marks the first in a new four year partnership between Titleist and the PGA. It is a relationship we are proud to expand in order to help serious golfers of all abilities, from competitive club-based professionals to club golfers, shoot their best scores.”

Other players competing in the regional qualifier ainclude: Mike Bardi (Rossendale), PGA Cup captain Jon Bevan (Rhos on Sea), Craig Corrigan (Chilli Dip Golf Academy), Daniel Green (Dukinfield) and Simon Lucas (Ashton).

In addition to a £10,000 first prize, Peugeot are providing the winner with the use of a top of the range 308GT for a year.


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