Archive for the ‘PGA Golf’ Category

Lombard Trophy attracts another big field

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PRIZE GUY: Andy Picton Hart proudly holds the trophy he won with his Hart Common professional Steve Parry last year. Below: amateur Trish Formoy.

MORE than 1,000 golfers will contest the Lombard Trophy, Europe’s largest pro-am which culminates with an expenses paid trip to Portugal’s Algarve for the grand final in September.

The final will once again be staged on the Championship course at the five-star Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel, Vilamoura, and will feature 14 pairs competing Trish Formoy.jpgfor the £12,000 first prize.

The finalists will be determined by 14 regional finals that start on June 5 in the Midlands at Little Aston and finish two months later on August 2 at Burnham & Berrow in Somerset.

Other regional final venues include Walton Heath, home of the 1981 Ryder Cup, and Fulford in York, which staged no fewer than 23 European Tour events between 1967 and 1981.

Lombard, a leading management finance company providing leasing and hire purchase products, is supporting the competition for a third successive year with a £41,450 prize fund.

The company is also backing the women’s version of the pro-am, the WPGA Lombard Trophy. This will be contested by six pairs at Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel at the same time as the men’s final.

Commenting on Lombard’s support, PGA chief executive Robert Maxfield said: “Lombard is a fantastic sponsor of the PGA National Pro-Am Championship and we’re delighted to have their support once again in 2018.

“This is a unique event insomuch that it offers PGA Professionals a rare opportunity to team up with an amateur partner and represent their club in a national event.

“The competition features 14 superb regional final venues and Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel will once again prove to be a spectacular setting for this year’s finale.

“We look forward to this year’s tournament and I wish each and every competitor the best of luck.”

Ian Isaac, head of Lombard, added: “Lombard is proud to be continuing their sponsorship of Europe’s biggest pro-am event for another year.

“It’s great for us to be working with The PGA once again to offer amateur and professional golfers the opportunity to play some of the best courses across the UK and Ireland.

“Well over a million amateur golfers have participated in the Lombard Trophy over the years and we look forward to welcoming thousands more who wish to seize the chance to make their mark in 2018.”

Around 700 clubs entered the Lombard Trophy in 2017, with Hart Common duo Steve Parry and his amateur partner Andy Picton prevailing in a dramatic play-off to claim victory.

“From an amateur point of view you get to play at a great golf course during the qualifying round so it’s worth entering the Lombard Trophy just for that,” said Picton.

“It’s a fantastic experience playing at Vila Sol as you’re walking up that 18th in a winning position because all of the players, from both the ladies and men’s events, are following you up the fairway. It feels like you’re playing in a major because you’ve got a gallery watching you.”

The WPGA Lombard Trophy enters its third year with two regional qualifying events at Camberley Heath in Surrey on June 11 and Cheshire’s Dunham Forest on July 23.

The top three teams from each qualify for the grand final, won last year by Kibworth duo Kym Larratt and amateur Trish Formoy.

“To have the opportunity of an all-expenses paid trip to Portugal was incredible,” said Larratt, a Ladies European Tour player. “It was a huge accomplishment and pleasure to be crowned winners.”

Formoy added: “Like all golf competitions, you have nothing to lose and as much chance of winning as anyone else, particularly in this format with a professional for a partner.

“Coming down the 18th when we had it in the bag, I couldn’t let myself believe it until the final putt; then it was phenomenal. When we got home, everyone was excited about the win.

“Every now and then telling yourself you have won a national tournament does give you a warm feeling.”

Entry packs will be arriving at golf clubs across the UK this month. Entries are now open online by visiting www.pgagbi.bluegolf.com

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PGA North announces new format for a united region

PGA North has launched a trail-blazing venture to promote a golf union embracing the whole region which is the biggest in the country outside Scotland.

The Players’ Series will tee off next month with a dozen fixtures spread across the North East and North West, Lancashire and Yorkshire and Cheshire and North Wales.

Regional secretary Jonathan Paine said: “These multi events are open to all members who will be able to compete in other counties for the first time under this new format. Anyone can enter if they are willing to travel.

“It also gives me the opportunity to see more members, which is part of my enhanced remit which includes all the regions playing as one. Reconnecting with everyone will make a huge difference.

“We will able to arrange more meetings with the counties and getting to know the professionals by going to see them. I know it’s the tip of the iceberg but I believe it will be the starting point of a bright new future.

“It could have a snowball effect which would encourage more sponsorship.”

The first event in the Players’ Series will be at The Range, a brand new indoor facility in Manchester’s Spinning Fields on March 24.

Other venues include Crossland Heath, Bolton Old Links, Northenden, Blackburn, Stamford, Ellesmere, Renishaw Park, Knutsford, Wakefield, Bishop Auckland (tbc) and Fulford.

 

 

Shacklady in battle to win senior card

MOSSOCK Hall’s David Shacklady, who missed out on a card at last year’s PGA Senior Qualifying School after losing in the three-man play-off, shares fourth place going into the final round Final Stage at Pestana Golf Resort.

English amateur John Kemp leads the 32 finalists who will compete for five coveted cards for the 2018 Staysure Tour season.

The 50 year old carded his second consecutive round of 67 for a four under par total and a one stroke lead over compatriot Paul Streeter after three rounds

He started with a birdie on the first hole and then made two further gains before the turn. He then birdied the tenth and the 13th holes, before a double bogey on the par three 15th hole. He recovered with a birdie on the 16th hole and parred the last two holes for a four under par finish.

“I’m really pleased with how well I played today, apart from the double bogey that I had,” said Kemp. “We’re all experienced enough not to let those moments get you down.

“I might be ahead, but there isn’t really a cushion there. I’m going to go out there and win it. I’ll be pleased when this week is over, to be honest. I’ve never played this much golf in such a short period of time.”

If Kemp were to emerge victorious in the Algarve, he would become the first amateur golfer to win Qualifying School since it was first held at Pestana Golf Resort in 2001.

Shacklady leads the way in Portugal

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ACTION MAN: David Shacklady. Picture Getty Images

LANCASTRIAN David Shacklady took the 36-hole lead at Staysure Tour Qualifying School Final Stage after firing a two under par second round of 69 to move to four under  at Pestana Golf Resort in Portugal.

The 50-year-old, making his second Qualifying School appearance, missed out on one of the five coveted cards in 2017 after a three-man play-off, but has returned to Portugal in a bid to secure playing rights on the Staysure Tour in 2018.

Shacklady started his round from the tenth hole, and made consecutive birdies on the 15th and 16th holes, cancelling out an earlier bogey.

After starting the day two under par, he reached a total of five under after further gains on the second and third holes, but undid his hard work with a bogey and double bogey on the fourth and fifth holes.

Shacklady recovered strongly and birdied the final two holes for a four under par total, two strokes ahead of compatriot Paul Streeter and Argentina’s Mauricio Molina.

“I’m very pleased that I showed some bottle out there,” said Shacklady. “On the fifth hole I found the bottom ridge of the green, lipped out for two and then missed the next two putts. I had to have a word with myself after that and calm myself down.

“I said to my wife last night that everyone is going to have moments on this golf course, I just hope that was mine. It’s very easy to become negative. You have to commit to everything out there, but it’s easier said than done. It’s mentally gruelling. When it’s fiery, fast and windy out there, it’s no fun.

“I’m just pleased I didn’t lose it towards the end, it can drown you when you have moments like that. I refocused and started again. I’d have been pleased finishing level par today, but to come in with two birdies is great.

“It’s nice having the cushion at the top of the leaderboard, but I was in the same scenario last week at First Stage. I was coasting and only finished second. You have to play this like it’s a tournament and try to win it.”

Making up the top five are English amateur John Kemp and Gary Wolstenholme, a six-time Walker Cup player and two-time Staysure Tour winner, on level par.

Kemp, a member of Woburn Golf Club, host course of the Travis Perkins Masters, carded one of the lowest rounds of the day, a four under par 67.

“It is very hard to judge how you are as a player when you go up against the pros,” said Kemp. “At First Stage, I didn’t play very well on my first nine holes, but I played the next 27 in six under par – which was good golf for me.

“I now know I can compete at this level. I played well in patches and had a couple of breaks to get me back up the leaderboard. I played with a bit more freedom today, I did hit some bad shots in the middle of my round but I knuckled down in the end.”

Players within eight shots of fifth place will make it through to Thursday’s final round on the Vale da Pinta Course at Pestana Golf Resort, with the top five earning cards for the 2018 Staysure Tour season.

Leading scores: 

138 D Shacklady (Eng) 69 69, 140 P Streeter (Eng) 70 70, M Molina (Arg) 70 70, 142 G Wolstenholme (Eng) 72 70, J Kemp (am) (Eng) 75 67, 143 S Skinner (USA) 74 69, P Parker (USA) 74 69, J Buendia (Esp) 70 73, 144 M Hallberg (Swe) 67 77, P Wilson (Eng) 73 71, A Franco (Par) 75 69, M Booth (Eng) 68 76, 145 V Casado (Esp) 72 73, S McNally (Eng) 74 71, 146 M Wharton (Eng) 72 74, G Joyner (Aus) 74 72, J Quiros (Esp) 73 73, J Romero (Esp) 75 71, J Carriles (Esp) 75 71, D Wettlaufer (Can) 75 71, S Brown (Eng) 74 72, N Cheetham (Eng) 72 74, R Gomez (Arg) 80 66.

 

PGA launches packed schedule

 

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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 Golfbreaks.com 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).

Great Dane handed PGA recognition award

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BJORN WINNER: Thomas Bjorn receives his PGA Recognition Award from PGA captain John Heggarty

THOMAS Bjorn has followed in the footsteps of many illustrious Ryder Cup captains by becoming the latest recipient of The PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to golf.

Bjorn, who will lead Europe’s bid to regain the Ryder Cup in France next September, received the award at The PGA’s annual fundraising lunch at the Grosvenor House hotel in London.

The 46-year-old joins fellow Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance, Sir Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and Bjorn’s predecessor, Darren Clarke, who he was vice-captain to at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2008, as winners of the prestigious accolade.

A 15-time winner on the European Tour and twice runner-up in The Open Championship in 2000 and 2003, Bjorn became the first Danish player to represent Europe against the United States in the Ryder Cup in 1997.

Europe won that encounter at Spain’s Valderrama Golf Club with Ballesteros as captain, as they did in Bjorn’s other two appearances, at The Belfry in 2002 and at Gleneagles in Scotland 12 years later.

Bjorn brings a wealth of experience to the role having served as a vice-captain on no fewer than four occasions under Bernhard Langer (2004), Montgomerie (2010), José María Olazábal in 2012 and more recently Clarke at Hazeltine National in 2016, where United States won the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008.

The Dane will make history again next year when he becomes the first Scandinavian Ryder Cup captain as the famous team competition returns to mainland Europe for a second time at Le Golf National from September 28-30.

Speaking after receiving the award, Bjorn said: “There are so many people that can be recognised for their achievements in the game and I am honoured to receive this award, especially from The PGA.

“While Tour players are on the front line, it is the PGA Professionals worldwide who are doing the groundwork and forming the base for the game to develop. They are the ones who are most important.”

PGA Executive President, Sandy Jones, who hosted the PGA Annual Lunch, said: “We’re delighted to present the PGA Recognition Award to Thomas Bjorn.

“This award is our way of acknowledging great achievements in the game of golf and Thomas is a deserving winner.

“He had a great career as a player and enjoyed great success in the Ryder Cup being on the winning team on three occasions.

“There is no doubt that Thomas will be a superb Ryder Cup captain next year in Paris, and we wish him all the good luck and success in bringing the trophy home to Europe.”

Robert Maxfield, chief executive for The PGA, added: “Thomas Bjorn is a hugely popular figure in the game and is a credit to the sport.

“His messages of support for our 2017 PGA Cup-winning team at Foxhills Club & Resort back in September demonstrates how much he supports the game of golf at all levels.

“It is fitting that Thomas has won this award ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup in France where he will have the full support of the Association in helping bring back the Ryder Cup to Europe.”

In addition to a passionate speech by Bjorn, around 1,000 guests were entertained by highly-rated comedian Ben Norris and Dougie Donnelly.

A £50,000 cheque was presented to the Golf Foundation as The PGA showed its support of grass roots golf. Money was also raised for the PGA Benevolent Fund which helps Members who have fallen on difficult times.

 

Asbri Golf strengthens its PGA ties

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WINNERS: Asbri Golf directors, Paul Williams (left) and Eryl Williams (right) with Sion Bebb, winner of the Asbri-sponsored 2017 Welsh National PGA Championship at Celtic Manor. Free to use courtesy of Adrian Milledge

ASBRI Golf, the market-leading logo accessory brand, has strengthened its longstanding relationship with The PGA in two key areas.

In addition to upgrading its status with the Association from Official Supplier to PGA Partner, the Wales-based company has extended its title sponsorship of the Welsh National PGA Championships for a further three years.

Asbri Golf has supported the Welsh National PGA Championships since 2013 and its relationship with The PGA was enhanced last year with an agreement to sponsor the seasonal opener in the West region, The PGA Cornish Festival.

Eryl Williams, Asbri Golf managing director, commented: “PGA Professionals are at the very heart of our brand.

“If we did not have their business and support, our products would not be stocked in pro shops and ultimately purchased by members of their golf clubs.

“We are delighted to not only strengthen our relationship with The PGA and extend our sponsorship agreement but we are also excited about working together even more closely.”

Commenting on the new agreement, PGA chief executive, Robert Maxfield, said: “Asbri has built a reputation as one of Europe’s leading logo accessory brands with their wide range of high quality crested merchandise and significant global distribution.

“Their established set-up and exceptional service has made them a trusted supplier to The PGA for a number of years. So we are delighted to strengthen our relationship and promote their brand even further to our Members, partners and branded properties.”

Paul Williams, Asbri sales and marketing director, added: “This agreement is another opportunity for us to give something back to PGA Professionals and thank them for their business.

“It allows us to reinvest back into The PGA and show our appreciation for their loyalty and support. We are excited and extremely proud to become PGA Partners and continue to work with the biggest brand and association in golf.”