Archive for the ‘Pro Golf’ Category

Booth targets North Region Championship double

ROBERT Booth has hit a rich vein of form as prepares to defend his PGA North Region Championship crown at Bolton Old Links next week.

The 33-year-old assistant professional at Crosland Heath has already clocked up six wins this season, including the Yorkshire Open at Howley Hall which he followed

Robert Booth.jpg a day later by adding the Werneth pro-am to his list of achievements.

Booth (pictured), who finished third in the Leeds Cup at Cobble Hall in May, won the region’s flagship event last year at Carus Green by a shot, and he’s hoping to complete a rare double at Old Links in the 36-hole tournament on July 25-26 which will be preceded by a pro-am.

“I’ve only played the course once and that was some time ago but I can remember it was very challenging,” he said.

“My goal this year is to try to win my card at the European Tour School. I’ve been encouraged by my boss and coach Richard Lambert, the head profession al at Crosland Heath, who’s been teaching me for nearly five years.

“My other target is to win the PGA North and Yorkshire PGA orders-of-merit,” he added.

Bolton assistant professional and former Old Links junior Aaron Moon is also in the 107-strong line-up. He lost part of his right leg serving in the Marines when their armoured vehicle was struck by an explosive device in Afghanistan eight years ago.

There are also seven past winners in the field including Phil Archer, a member of the GB and Ireland PGA team Cup who will face their American counterparts in the biennial match at Surrey’s Foxhills resort on September 15-17.

The Birchwood player last won the North Region title back in 2002 before embarking on a European Tour career.

Other past champions apart from Booth include Snainton Golf Centre’s Alex Belt, Chilli Dip Academy’s Craig Corrigan, Royal Liverpool’s Michael Jones, Penwortham’s Ryan O’Neill and North Wales based Matthew Tottey.

Meanwhile, Renishaw Park’s Michael Ramsden will be hoping to add the title to his Leeds Cup success.

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Picton finds rich vein of form at Fairhaven

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WINNING DUO: Steve Parry and Andy Picton called the shots at Fairhaven

BOLTON amateur Andy Picton found the ideal combination on and off the course as he clinched his place in the Lombard Trophy Final after teaming up with Hart Common PGA professional Steve Parry for the qualifying event at Fairhaven.

Parry is also sponsored by 16-handicapper Picton and the pair proved to be an ideal fit as they carded a stunning 11- under-par 62 which gave them victory by three shots ahead of John Blackburn and Will Poole of Mendip Spring.

They will  play in the final in Portugal and it is proving to be an eventful time for 48-year-old Picton who is also Hart Common captain this year.

“I sponsor Steve under the name of Manchester Vein Clinic which is a brand of ours, we do varicose vein treatments and Steve carries that brand in the professional events,” said Picton, who is a managing director of a company that scans arteries and veins using ultrasound.

“It’s a busy year but I’m sure we can squeeze in a Portugal trip after this!”

The duo made a quick fire start and reached the turn in 30, which included a nett eagle at the third hole, before securing five birdies on the back nine for a win that was rarely in doubt.

“My putting’s usually quite good but the rest of my game’s rubbish! And I also managed to up and down a couple of bunker shots,” added Picton.

“I was surprised to qualify for the event in the first place as I play off 16, so it was nip and tuck. But we dovetailed very well when it came to playing at Fairhaven.”

They will head for the £41,000 National Pro-Am grand final which will be played at the Vila Sol resort in the Algarve between September 21-22.

It will be Parry’s third appearance in the final after two appearances at Gleneagles.

He was second in the 2014 final and missed out on the title by one shot with amateur partner Terry Battersby and also competed in the 2013 showpiece.

“I’ll have been in it three times in five years now. I didn’t drop a shot at Fairhaven and Andy came in with a good few birdies, we had a good front nine, but we know each other quite well as he’s been my sponsor for the last three years,” said Parry.

 

It’s a first for rookie Dudley

JAKE Dudley claimed a maiden victory when he won the PGA North Assistants’ Championship of Yorkshire at Northcliffe.

The 23-year-old, who’s never had a lesson and relied on the odd piece of advice from playing with his dad Glenn, returned a level par 71 as he prevailed by a stroke in a 39-strong field.

Dudley, a past member of Blackpool North Shore and in his first year as a PGA trainee professional, said: “I finished fourth in one of these events at Carlisle early in the season and ninth at Helsby last week so I’m quite pleased with my progress so far.

“I had three birdies at Northcliffe cancelled out by as many bogeys but it was quite a solid round and I played well from tee to green. I’m hoping to win a few more tournaments and earn some money!”

Styal’s Alistair Waddle was runner-up on 72 and Dewsbury’s James Ward third a shot back.

LEADING SCORES: 71 Jake Dudley (Herons Reach); 72 Alister Waddell (Styal); 73 James Ward (Dewsbury); 75 Matthew Skelton (Bradford), George Pennells (Cookridge Hall), Tom Metcalfe (Gathurst), James Wallace (Eden), Benjamin Thompson (Hazel Grove).

FULL SCORES

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Oliver gets it ‘wright’ in the end

ROOKIE professional Oliver Smith chalked up his maiden victory in the PGA North Assistants’ Championship for the Sue Wright Trophy at Helsby.

And his success will always remain embedded in his memory because it took him five extra holes to shake off Poulton Park opponent Alex Pritchard.

Smith, an assistant at Ashton-on-Mersey Golf Club and a former bricklayer and flagger who later worked at a service station, quit game for six years before returning to the fold.

“I’d shown an interest when I was 21 but then started to do other things and you do at that age,” he explained.

He bagged three birdies in the first seven holes before dropping his only stroke at the 15th where he overshot the green on his way to a two-under-par 68.

Pritchard was left to rue a bogey at the 17th in normal time as Smith went on to win with a par on the 18th play-off hole.

LEADING SCORES: 68 Oliver Smith (Ashton-on-Mersey), Alex Pritchard (Poulton Park); 69 Isaac Simpson (Hallowes), Ben Chambers (Swinton Park), Tom Metcalfe (Gathurst), John Brown (Ellesmere); 70 Jamie Howarth (Davenport), Jason Dransfield (Heswall).

 

Marsh nicks it after play-off

NICK Marsh won the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour’s Dawson & Sanderson Classic on the fourth play-off hole at Longhirst Hall.

A final-round 73, one-over-par, saw Marsh (Huddersfield Golf Club) complete the tournament seven under, the same score as Irishman Brendan McCarroll (Narin & Portnoo Golf Club), who had birdied the last two to record a final-round 70.

The duo headed to the 17th tee and while McCarroll made a good up and down after narrowly avoided the rough from the tee and then a greenside bunker with his second shot, while Marsh missed a 15 foot putt for birdie.

The 18th was the second play-off hole and Marsh will feel lucky to have escaped with par. He was in the rough off the tee and then watch McCarroll miss an eight-foot birdie putt for what would have been the win.

The pair then returned to 17 where both again made par, before Marsh sunk his birdie putt from just inside 15 feet for the victory.

Marsh wins £10,000 and also takes home a brand new Motocaddy S3 PRO electric trolley with lithium battery, Bushnell Pro X2 Range Finder and Bolle sunglasses. He climbs to second on the tour’s Race To Amendoeira money list, from which the top five at the end of the season graduate to the Challenge Tour.

Mike Bedford (Bramhall Park Golf Club), Liam Murray (GNK Golf & The LM Club) and Nick Watson (Stoke Rochford Golf Club), shared third on six under with Joe Brooks (Hanbury Manor Golf Club) and Michael Stewart (Troon Welbeck Golf Club) both finishing five under.

Highlights of the Dawson & Sanderson Classic will air on Sky Sports on Tuesday, July 18.

The HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour continues with the COBRA PUMA GOLF Championship at Machynys Peninsula, July 19-21.

 

Ex-Lancs champ McCullen lands Open spot

HAYDN McCullen shot a course-record 64 to qualify for the Open Championship over Hillside course where he won the Lancashire County Championship in 2013.

The 20-year-old,  who plays out of Cheshire club Delamere Forest, racked up nine birdies and dropped just one shot in the second round as he came from five behind the leaders at the halfway stage.

He said: “I played and putted really well. I sent for a new putter last Friday as I was unhappy with the one I’ve been using. They said it would be here by Monday, but it didn’t come.

“But I putted really well so I don’t know what I’ll use at Birkdale! But it’s just great to have made it into the Open Championship. Hillside is one of my favourite courses. I reached this stage last year but didn’t make it.”

Adam Hodgkinson, a teaching pro at Chorlton-cum-Hardy, was three shots behind him in third place which also earned him a place at Royal Birkdale.

But Clitheroe’s Mark Young, a treble Lancashire champion who now plays on the EuroPro Tour, missed out at Gailes Links on a third place countback.

 

Flawless Fleetwood stays on a roll

LANCASHIRE hot-shot Tommy Fleetwood wrote another extraordinary chapter in his remarkable 2017 season, firing a flawless closing round of 66 to claim a one shot victory in the HNA Open de France – the second tournament in the European Tour’s Rolex Series.

Fleetwood has been in superb form this season, winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January and claiming a further four top finishes – including fourth place in the U.S. Open Championship earlier this month. He converted that consistency into second title of the year courtesy of an assured display of front running over the Le Golf National, making up a one shot overnight deficit when he came within millimetres of an ace on the par three second hole, before adding further birdies on the third, ninth, 13th and 14th holes to pull clear of the field.

The 26 year old finished on 12 under par for the tournament, with American Peter Uihlein putting some late pressure on him with four birdies on the back nine to claim second place on 11 under par after a closing round of 68. The victory at Le Golf National was Fleetwood’s third European Tour title and his second win over a Ryder Cup course the year before it hosts the biennial contest, having captured his maiden title in the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Fleetwood was unable to make Paul McGinley’s team on that occasion, but will surely now be targeting a spot in Thomas Bjørn’s side in 2018, with the victory moving him into the World’s Top 15 for the first time, while the 1,040,824 points he earns for winning the second Rolex Series event ensures he returns to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, ahead of Masters Tournament Champion Sergio Garcia.

Runner-up Uihlein just missed out on his second European Tour title, but he has the consolation of claiming one of the three qualifying spots on offer for The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Sweden’s Alexander Björk (71) and France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera (66), the leading home player, secured the other two places, finishing on eight under par and in a share of third position alongside Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen (65).

Spain’s Jon Rahm finished tied tenth in his debut European Tour appearance on European soil, closing with a round of 69 for a five under par total – the same mark as former World Number One Lee Westwood (70) and Alex Noren (70), the winner of the inaugural Rolex Series event, the BMW PGA Championship.

Fleetwood said: “Today, it’s a day that I’ll never forget; the way I felt coming down the stretch, the holes and the shots you have to hit. And yeah, winning, it’s the best feeling by far in golf, and to do it on this golf course in this event, a Rolex Series event, you know, massive, massive bonuses, I guess.

“Saturday I had to use different parts of my game. I know everybody talks about my ball-striking when it’s good, but I felt like Saturday was equally impressive, just in a different way. I had to use my short game a lot, and I had to stay patient enough to stay in the tournament when I wasn’t playing well.

“I think the way I started hitting it early on, it was clear that my swing was with me. I felt good. The only problems that I could have was that if I got in my own way; if I started thinking negatively; if I started backing away; if I started worrying about what was going on around me. As long as I trusted myself and as long as I concentrated on where I wanted to hit it, my start lines, my finish lines, just like we’ve talked about all week, I felt that was the only thing to do.

“The better I played and sort of the further the round got on, it’s always difficult to keep your excitement down because you’re in with a chance and it was looking good with a four-shot lead and four to play. But like I say, those last few holes make you hit the shots. You can’t back out. Either hit good shots or, yeah, you’re in trouble.”