PGA launches packed schedule



TOP VENUE: The PGA Professional Championship, which carries a £78,000 prize fund, will be at Little Aston on July 24-27. Image courtesy of Getty Images

THE revival of the English PGA Championship is part of a packed national tournament schedule for 2018 that promises more playing opportunities for PGA Professionals.

The English PGA Championship, contested for the only time at Goodwood in 2010, has been restored to the calendar and will be staged on Saunton’s challenging West Course in Devon (pictured above) from June 27-29.

Home club of PGA Cup-winning captain Albert MacKenzie, Saunton will provide a testing examination of the 144 players vying for a portion of the £30,000 prize fund.

Once again the season begins with the Silversea Senior PGA Professional Championship in May at Foxhills Club & Resort, the stage of the 2017 PGA Cup.

It will be the fifth year in succession the Surrey venue has hosted the £42,000 event and defending champion, Scotland’s Fraser Mann (pictured above), will be seeking a hat-trick of wins from May 16-18.

A couple of weeks later on June 1, Trentham near Stoke-on-Trent will host the most prestigious women’s event on the calendar when the Titleist & FootJoy WPGA Professional Championship is played there for the first time.

Farleigh in Surrey  will also host a PGA national final for the first time when the PGA Assistants’ Championship is staged there from July 3-5.

The 2017 champion Matthew Fieldsend has qualified as a PGA Professional and will not be defending his title. However, the contestants will be looking to emulate him and earn a place in the PGA Play-Offs and Australian Futures Championship.

Later in July the Association’s premier event, the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship, which carries a £78,000 prize fund, will be contested from July 24-27 at Little Aston.

Defending champion Paul O’Hara will be looking to become only the third player to win back-to-back titles.

Meanwhile, O’Hara’s more senior colleagues will gather for the Super 60s at Wollaton Park, which proved to be a hugely popular venue in 2017. John Hay and amateur partner Rob Dennett dominated the event in July and the Waterlooville duo will be hoping for a repeat in Nottingham from August 8-9.

A busy summer continues with the Welsh PGA National Championship from August 22-23, which again will be sponsored by Asbri. Ashburnham will host the event for a fourth time and it was Jason Powell who was crowned winner the last time it was played at the south Wales venue in 2009.

The following week the PGA Fourball Championship will be staged on the Championship course at Belton Woods from August 29-31.

September sees the return of the Lombard Trophy and WPGA Lombard Trophy finals, which remains the largest pro-am competition in Europe and will be staged at Portugal’s Pestana Vila Sol (pictured above) for third successive year.

Before that PGA Assistant Lydia Hall will be hoping to claim back-to-back victories in the WPGA International Challenge when she returns to Stoke by Nayland from September 13-15.

The Belfry will once again stage the PGA in England & Wales Inter-County Championship next autumn from October 10-11.

After short spell back in the UK, the PGA Play-Offs return to Turkey’s Antalya Golf Club where 24 of the top players will do battle from November 21-23 in a bid to win a chunk of the £15,000 prize fund.

“The 2018 schedule continues to offer a wide variety of playing opportunities for our Members which is further bolstered this year by the return of the English PGA Championship in June,” said Ben Groutage, PGA head of tournaments.

“We are excited to visit some new venues for our finals with the likes of Farleigh Golf Club and Trentham Golf Club joining a list of first class courses, not to mention more than 50 golf clubs who continue to support our regional qualifiers throughout Great Britain and Ireland.”

A date and venue for the SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge in association with Golfplan is yet to be confirmed.

NB: Tournament entries was posted on BlueGolf  today ( January 3).

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