Archive for the ‘Pro Golf’ Category

Fleetwood plays alongside Tiger in Masters


ACTION MAN: Tommy Fleetwood. Photo Getty Images

LANCASTRIAN Tommy Fleetwood is relishing the opportunity to tee up alongside the resurgent four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods after the Englishman was drawn with the American golfing legend for the first two rounds of the opening major of the season at Augusta National.

The 27 year old will join the 14-time major winner and Australian Marc Leishman with all eyes on Woods after his recent return to form following years of well-documented injury problems.

Fleetwood is in a fine run of form, having successfully defended his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA title in January while his worst European Tour finish in five starts this season is a share of 17th place.

With anticipation over Woods’ return to Augusta at fever pitch, Rory McIlroy incredibly comes into this week under the radar somewhat despite also finding form – returning to the winners’ circle last month following a winless 2017 season – as he chases an historic Grand Slam.

Fleetwood said:  “My game feels good at the moment. I feel like I’ve been preparing for quite a while. My first Masters was last year and I didn’t see too much sunshine so it’s nice to see the course without a cloud in the sky and with the shadows. It’s nice to have that buzz around it. It’s been lovely so far.

“The first real Masters I watched was 1997, when Tiger won his first. A few years on and I get to play with him and I don’t think you can get a better draw than Tiger at the Masters, especially with what’s going on in golf at the moment.

“All that said, I’m only bothered about me. Whatever he does is not my problem, I’ve got to get on with my own stuff. But it doesn’t get much better than that. It’s very cool.

“He was in his pomp when I was growing up. There was something about this week where I thought to myself, for some reason, I’m going to get Tiger Woods this week. I walked to the putting green at about 11 o’clock today and it was the biggest mass of people you could see imagine around here, just to see him and Phil walking off the 18th green so you get an idea of how busy it’s going to be.

“As well as concentrating on my stuff I’ll get to watch him up close and see what he does and there’s nothing better than that.”

Sergio Garcia, meanwhile, will defend his title following a life-changing 12 months which included marrying wife Angela before celebrating the birth of his first child Azalea – named after the famous 13th hole at Augusta in a nod to his maiden Major triumph this time last year.




New PGA North series off to flying start

THE first event in a new venture instigated by PGA North to promote a golf union throughout the whole region swung into action with more than 40 professionals battling for honours at Huddersfield club Crosland Heath.

Four players shared the spoils on one-under-par 70 after favourite Phil Archer looked on course to claim the honours until two late bogeys pegged him back.

In the mix were Jason Proctor, representing Sheffield-based Indoor Golf Academy, Davyhulme Park’s Michael Lane and Lee Rooke from Harlech club Royal St David’s There was a healthy representation of players from most parts of the biggest region of the country outside Scotland and with 11 fixtures all told there’s a lot to play for.

PGA North tournament director Andrew Chadwick: “We’ve got off to a positive start and we are confident the number of players will grow between now and the final event at Fulford Golf Club in October.”

Meanwhile, the next event is at Bolton Old Links Golf Club on April 9.



Fleetwood bids for double-double in France


LANCASHIRE hotshot Tommy Fleetwood has his sights set on a double-double at the HNA Open de France, the third Rolex Series event of the year, as he prepares to defend his title from June 28-July 1.

The World No 11 is the first star to confirm his return to Le Golf National, which is also the host venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup, with early bird tickets available until Wednesday March 28.

Fleetwood has already enjoyed a stellar start to his 2018 campaign when he became only the second player to successfully defend his title in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA in January, and now, the 27-year-old is relishing the opportunity to do it all over again in France.

A double-double is now on the  radar as he looks to follow in the footsteps of two-time major winner Graeme McDowell, who was the last player to successfully defend continental Europe’s oldest national Open in 2014.

“Winning the HNA Open de France was a huge boost for me last year and the confidence I got from that victory really propelled me towards some great results and my best year on the European Tour,” said Fleetwood. “I didn’t get the chance to defend the title I won at Gleneagles back in 2013, but with Abu Dhabi going pretty well earlier this year, I’m hoping it is a trend of things to come.”

Fleetwood’s win last year was the first Rolex Series title to his name as he went on to fire a bogey-free final round of 66 to secure a one-shot victory over American Peter Uihlein, and ultimately helped him finish the 2017 season as Europe’s Number One player after being crowned Race to Dubai Champion in Dubai last November.

“Everyone knew the Rolex Series events were major points in the year and if you could do well in those events, then those are the ones that are going to make a difference, so to win one was important. If you could pick one to win over the year you’d pick one of those eight and you’d be very happy.

“At the time, I felt it was my tournament to lose because I was that confident with the way I was hitting it. I still think that is the best my golf swing has felt in my career at the moment.

“As hard as the golf course is, you’ve got the four toughest holes coming in. When you’re the one with everything to lose, that is when you can show everyone who you are and what you are made of. I was very proud of the shots that I hit coming in, even down to that two putt on the last, I did it when I needed to.”


PGA North moves to new base at Pleasington


READY FOR ACTION:  Daniel Huxley (tournament controller), Jonathan Paine (regional manager), Andrew Chadwick (tournament director), Joe Whittaker (office administrator)

 IT’S all change for PGA North which has taken up residence at Pleasington Golf Club.

Regional manager Jonathan Paine and tournament director Andrew Chadwick have been joined by newly promoted tournament controller Daniel Huxley and Joe Whittaker, who runs the office.

“The new staffing structure gives the region much more scope to attend to all the members’ needs,” said Paine. “The office at Pleasington is fully equipped to allow all staff to fulfil their roles.”

The region was formed in 1985 when Norman Fletcher was its first secretary, a position he held for eight years prior to his appointment as association manager at PGA National Headquarters.

The first official office was based at Mere before moving to its 30-year tenancy at Bolton Golf Club.

“We have certainly come a long way from those early days,” said Paine. “I hope that this positive move will allow the region to develop further.”

Paine followed Dennis Nutter, Andy Salmon, Jim Croxton, Roger Butler and Graham Maly in his role of managing the largest region outside Scotland.

Peter Bedford, Pleasington club’s vice chairman, enthused: “I think it’s a kind of perfect partnership. To attract PGA North, the biggest region in the UK outside Scotland puts our club on a pathway to develop ourselves. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us.

“Part of our drive is to try to get into the top 100 English courses.”

The new address:

Pleasington GC | Pleasington Lane | Pleasington | Blackburn | Lancs | BB2 5JF

 Telephone numbers remain the same:

t- +44 (0) 1204 496137

f- +44 (0) 1204 847959

m- +44 (0) 7799 111822



Corrigan puts on a royal performance


TOP OF THE SHOTS: Craig Corrigan with Alliance president John Dowd (centre) and Haigh Hall’s Chris Seabrook 

CHILLI Dip teaching professional Craig Corrigan turned up the heat to win the Manchester Alliance fixture at Vale Royal Abbey.

He racked up 39 stableford points to fight off a challenge from Stand’s Mark Hancock and Birchwood’s Phil Archer to increase his lead in the order of merit.

And Corrigan, a regular winner on the PGA North circuit, completed a double by clinching the pro-am with Haigh Hall’s Chris Seabrook  with 43 points.

One off the pace were Alex Pritchard and Chris Cartwright (Poulton Park), Dave Green and Gary Beresford (Dukinfield) and Grant Hamerton (Pike Fold) and Vinny Doyle (Leigh).

Top score of the day was 44 points in the am-am by Norman Haslam (Stand) and Steve Grimley (Walmersley).

King of clubs Golfbidder extends PGA Partnership

Liam Robb 4(R).jpgGOLFBIDDER, the pioneering and market-leading online specialist in buying and selling used golf clubs, has continued its long relationship with The PGA by extending its partnership status until 2021.

The Surrey-based company was founded by Liam Robb, a financial journalist and keen golfer in 1997, and began life as Mashie Niblicks operating from a small shop in south west London.

Now, with Robb (pictured) at the helm as managing director, it has become a multi-million pound operation that employs more than 40 and is synonymous with buying and selling used golf clubs across the UK and Europe.

More than 700 UK-based PGA Professionals, reassured by the sophisticated software that guarantees a price on used clubs, use the facility annually when their clients change or upgrade their equipment.

Integral to the firm’s success has been its rigorous counterfeit screening processes, and the introduction of new technologies such as its proprietary stock trading systems which its staff, including a team of PGA Professionals, employ to check the authenticity of all traded clubs.

Golfbidder was also one of the first in the industry to recognise the power of the digital age and social media: its Facebook page has more than 35,000 likes and its YouTube channel in excess of six million views.

Commenting on extending its status as a PGA Partner, Robb said: “Having been a Partner of the PGA continuously for the past 15 years, we are delighted to be able to continue the agreement for another three.

“We very much look forward to continuing to work with Robert Maxfield and the great team at The PGA and see this is an exciting time to extend the Partnership.

“We are particularly excited about the forthcoming launch of the new Golfbidder Professional website which, among other things, will provide the 1,000+ club pros we deal with throughout the UK and Europe with new online tools to allow them to manage their second-hand inventory more efficiently.”


Ross Parker, head of sponsorship at The PGA, added: “We are delighted Golfbidder has agreed to extend its relationship with us.

“Golfbidder recently celebrated it 20-year anniversary and we have been working with them for the majority of that period. The company offers a great service to PGA Members and we are looking forward to working with them long into the future.”



Tommy Fleetwood targets BMW title


SOUTHPORT’S Tommy Fleetwood will make his first appearance on home soil since being crowned the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Champion when he tees it up in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club from May 24-27.

The World No 13 has confirmed he will be part of the star-studded line up for the first Rolex Series event of 2018, with tickets to see him in action over the famous West Course, in Surrey, England, now on sale here.

Fleetwood already has one Rolex Series title to his name after his victory in the HNA Open de France at 2018 Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National last July – a win which helped him finish the 2017 season as Europe’s Number One player after being crowned Race to Dubai Champion in Dubai last November.

The 27-year-old, who subsequently received the Seve Ballesteros Award as the European Tour Players’ Player of the Year, has carried his impressive form into the new season, playing a starring role in Team Europe’s EurAsia Cup victory before successfully defending his title in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA last month.

Now he is targeting victory in front of his home fans at the BMW PGA Championship to add another prestigious entry on to his increasingly impressive CV.

“The BMW PGA Championship is one of those events you watch as a kid and always dream about winning,” said Fleetwood. “It has always been one of the best events on our Tour – the next one down from a Major for us – so to win it would mean a lot.

“I’ve been in contention at Wentworth once before so far in my career (finished tied sixth in 2015) and if you are in contention, and you are English or British, it is an amazing atmosphere there.  It is definitely a title you want to win in your career.

“You look at all the names on the trophy – Seve, Faldo, Woosnam, Montgomerie, McIlroy – and it would be incredible to join them. To win another Rolex Series event too, after my win in France, would also be a big thing for me.”

Fleetwood is also looking forward to returning to the famous West Course which has had a further year to develop since undergoing a multi-million pound revamp before last year’s tournament, won by Sweden’s Alex Noren.

“I’ve always liked the golf course at Wentworth and last year I thought the changes were great,” said Fleetwood. “The changes were definitely positive and everybody seemed to like them. It’s a great course and I really like the layout. Hopefully I can do well in May and continue the form I’ve shown so far this year.”

Fans can now book tickets to Fleetwood and some of the world’s best golfers at Wentworth.

Early bird tickets for all four days of the tournament, plus the Wednesday Celebrity Pro-Am and weekend headline bands Rudimental and Simple Minds.