Archive for the ‘Pro Golf’ Category

Hogarth’s final flourish seals U16 title

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PRIZE GUY:  Kieran Hogarth receives the trophy from Lancashire president Michael Lay

KIERAN Hogarth conjured up a dramatic  ending  on his way to being crowned Lancashire U16 champion.

The Royal Lytham & St Annes player produced a birdie-birdie finish as he edge ahead of the field over 18 holes at Dean Wood Golf Club.

And it capped a fantastic fightback from the 15-year-old who had slumped to three-over-par after the first five holes.

Birdies at holes six, seven and nine got him back to level by the turn, before dropped shots at 12, 14 and 16 threatened to derail his hopes.

But Kieran’s final flourish to sign for a 72 turned the tables in dramatic fashion to ease out Southport and Ainsdale’s Matthew Jackman by a shot.

“I just tried to stay calm after the first few holes,” said Kieran. “I had played a practice round there, so I knew there would be opportunities to get shots back, particularly on the par fives.

“Even on the back nine, I felt I was still in with a chance. I knew that one over had won the championship in the past, so just wanted to get back to that mark.

“As a 15-year-old this is the big championship for my age group, so I definitely wanted to win it and now I have the chance to defend the title, too.”

Kieran, who lives in Kirkham, Is a member of the Lancashire Golf Union’s county squad under the guidance of Southport and Ainsdale pro and former European Tour player Jim Payne, having made his debut last year against Yorkshire – the county he has also played against this summer.

A pupil at Saint Bede’s Catholic High School in Lytham, Kieran first started playing golf at Myerscough College at the age of six after attending an open day. He continued with weekly lessons there until the age of 11.

“I received great coaching from the team there under John Barclay, who continues to be my coach, based at Lancaster Golf Performance Centre at Lancaster Golf Club,” added Kieran, who moved to Royal Lytham in 2014 after playing in a junior match for Myerscough at the Open venue.

Starting out with a handicap of 21, he played in competitions and inter-club events, with the coaching team under Ben Squires – and the support of junior organisers Alison Maguire and Dai Mistry – helping cut his handicap by more than half.

Kieran continued his development as part of the Lancashire County Academy programme while joining a second club – Fairhaven – to broaden his golfing experience.

Five handicapped Kieran rates his win at Dean Wood as the highlight of his blossoming career, although he is also part of the three-strong team representing Royal Lytham juniors in the English Junior Club Championships at Frilford Heath in Oxford.

Away from the golf course, he plays for both Kirkham Juniors Football Club and Kirkham and Wesham Cricket Club.

He added: “I’m looking forward to continuing my progress with the county golf set-up and would love to play for England one day, but I already owe a debt of thanks to the people who have helped me along the way including John Barclay at Lancaster, all the coaches and organisers at Royal Lytham, Fairhaven and the Lancashire Golf Union.

“I would also like to thank a local organisation, the Richard J Wilson Sports Foundation, who helped to fund my new equipment for this season, which was a fantastic gesture and one which has really helped me.”

 

RESULTS:  72 Kieran Hogarth (Royal Lytham and St Annes); 73 Matthew Jackman (S&A); 74 Oliver Duck (S&A); Adam Mujahid (Nelson); 75 Andrew Haswell (Dean Wood),  Adam McLean (Formby), Thomas Watson (Hillside); 77  Elliot Tickle (Blackley), Thomas Ratcliffe (S&A), Kieran McCarthy (Dean Wood).

 

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Webb feat as he wins PGA North crown

MATTHEW Webb has certainly been getting around in his quest to make a break-through into big-time golf.

But the 28-year-old newly-crowned PGA North Region champion, who honed his game under the watchful eye of his dad Marcus, professional at Bedlingtonshire Golf Club, is seriously considering a fresh career in coaching.

Last summer he tried his hand on the China and Asian tours, the latter proving the most profitable.

“I also played the Challenge Tour once but I didn’t feel that the best route to take because you can’t make much money out of it,” he reasoned.

Two years ago he won the National Assistants’ Championship at Little Aston and followed up by claiming a similar title in Australia.

Webb, who finished top the shots as he claimed the regional title at Bolton Old Links today (July 17) admitted he has played little golf recently.

“I’ve been doing other things such as coaching in Thailand alongside fellow pro Frederick Edmunds who’s from Sussex,” he said.

“I’m planning to carry on with the work at the end of next month. I don’t like living in a suitcase. Also, I’ve not played well this year. It’s all been a bit of a struggle without a sponsor.

“There’s twice as much pressure when you don’t get any funding. Golf is not a bottomless pit. Deep down I know I can’t afford to play.”

Much-travelled Webb has recently lived in Manila and his next stop will be Bangkok.

LEADING SCORES: 134 Matthew Webb (Bedlingtonshire) 67 67; 136 David Shacklady (Mossock Hall) 67 69; 137 Andrew Palmer (Chorley) 70 67; 138 Jamie Howarth (Davenport) 68 70, Phil Archer (Poulton Park) 68 70; 139 Gareth Davies (Abbeydale) 70 69, David Smith (Swinton Park) 69 70, Graham Cox (Lymm) 68 71, Tim Dykes (Penrith) 66 73, Grant Hamerton (Pike Fold) 65 74.

 

Cort takes a shine to sun-drenched Saunton

COMPETITORS in the English PGA Championship at Saunton were fulsome in their praise for the course, the club’s hospitality and tireless efforts of the volunteers who were essential in ensuring the tournament ran smoothly, but Matt Cort has more reason than any of them to want to take this glorious portion of Devon home with him.

Having won the PGA Play-Offs on the club’s East course two years ago, the pro from Beedles Lake Golf Club, Leicestershire, followed up with victory on its younger sibling, the West, to claim the £5,000 first prize.

There the similarities end, however. Whereas Cort prevailed in a play-off in October 2016, he led the revived English PGA Championship from start to finish to be 14-under-par at the end of 54-holes and three shots clear of second-placed James Freeman.

Even more contrasting was the hue and constitution of the courses. Days of unrelenting sunshine had turned the lush and forgiving fairways of the autumn into parched rock-hard strips of terrain that, pock-marked with 18 outcrops of green grass, resembled golf courses found in the desert.

All of which called for Cort to show his skills as a golfer by adapting to alien conditions.

“It was a bit more fiery this time,” said the winner with considerable understatement. “This was a different beast to the grassy and softer conditions we experienced two years ago. It’s something we don’t usually come across and I had to change my game.

“I usually hit a lot of drivers off the tee – that’s one of my strengths as I’m pretty accurate. But there was no need for it here – the ball runs so far and you’ve really got to plot your way round.”

A six-under-par opening round of 65 followed by two of four-under were proof positive of a game plan he refused to change, even when Paul Nessling, his closest pursuer at the beginning of the final round, produced a high-octane start.

An opening salvo of three birdies on the bounce erased Cort’s two-shot advantage and pole position changed hands. But not for long. Nessling followed up with bogey, double bogey, bogey, and thereafter it became something of a stroll for Cort.

Freeman, who represents Retford Golf Club, kept in touch to ensure an East Midlands one-two at the top of the leaderboard. And Andy Raitt weighed in with a hole-in-one at the par-three 16th en route to finishing third on 10-under.

As a result, Cort was able to adopt a safety first route in negotiating the final two holes although he did flirt with bunkers at both.

He admitted he was fortunate to avoid trouble on both occasions and added: “Good things happen when you win I suppose and I’m delighted to win this tournament.

“It’s a prestigious one and to have it back on the schedule after an eight year gap is great for us pros.”

Leading scores: Matthew Cort (Beedles Lake) -14; James Freeman (Retford Golf Club) – 11; Andy Raitt (St George’s Hill) -10; Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre), Paul Nessling (Cooden Beach Golf Club) -6; Phillip Archer (Poulton Park Golf Club), Andrew Willey (Oakmere Park Golf Club), Ross Langdon (Brickhampton Court Golf Complex) -3.

Murray stays in pole position

MANCHESTER’S Tom Murray finished day two of the Hauts de France Golf Open the way he began it — with a three-shot lead.

He showed no signs of tension as he opened with a string of pars before birdies on the fifth, sixth and ninth holes further increased his advantage over the field.

Turning in three under par 33, Murray (pictured, courtesy Getty Images) appeared to be in control of his golf ball following a birdie on the difficult par four 12th. However, a pair of dropped shots over

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Despite the hiccup down the stretch, the 28-year-old was happy with where he stood after his second consecutive sub-par round at the undulating Saint-Omer Golf Club.

“If you had given me eight under after two rounds on Thursday morning, especially with the weather we had, I definitely would have taken it,” said Murray. “I wasn’t brilliant today, but I just missed it in the right spots, stayed patient and putted nicely.”

“It’s not rocket science, really. You just hit the first tee shot where you want to hit it, then get the ball on the correct bit of the green and then just stay patient,” he said.

Hot on the trail are two players who will look to close the gap on Day Three. Stuart Manley, who sits in the sixth position on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah, is perhaps the most in-form player in the field. After advancing to a play-off last week, but failing to lift the trophy, the Welshman will be as determined as ever to hunt down the leading Murray and solidify his place inside the top 15 with a win.

Joining him in second place is Dutchman Daan Huizing, whose rounds of 69-68 have featured only three bogeys across two days of strong winds and difficult scoring conditions.

 

Search for the Perfect Swing

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FROM LEFT: Dr Rob Neal, CEO of Golf BioDynamics, Steve Otto, the R&A’s Director of Equipment Standards and Chief Technology Officer, Dr Alastair Cochran, author of The Search for the Perfect Swing, Dr Sasho MacKenzie, professor at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia,  and Prof  Eric Wallace, Professor of Biomechanics and Sports Technology at Ulster Uni.  Image courtesy of The PGA. 

THE author of what many have described as the “The Bible” for golf coaches returned to The PGA for a special event to mark the 50 years since the publication of “The Search for the Perfect Swing.”

Dr Alastair Cochran’s book remains one of the seminal pieces of work that has applied scientific methods to study the game of golf. It continues to be referenced today by scientists, educators and practitioners across the world of golf.

Cochran was the guest of honour at PGA headquarters inside The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, on May 21 and his book’s popularity was demonstrated with almost 100 people attending the sold out event inside the PGA National Training Academy.

“It’s been a life-changing thing for me,” said Cochran. I’ve always been an academic and a research physicist but this book as got me all round the world.

“I personally didn’t anticipate the sort of impact the book would have on golf. There’s a great cult following who think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. It was fun to do and it got a few other people starting to think about things like that.

“When I finished doing some work for The PGA on their manuals three to four years ago, I thought that was it. But meeting these guys got me excited about golf again and what they’re doing.”

A select group of world-leading experts who are involved in researching various elements of the game were also in attendance.

They included Dr Rob Neal, CEO of Golf BioDynamics, the R&A’s Director of Equipment Standards and Chief Technology Officer, Professor Steve Otto, and Professor Eric Wallace, Professor of Biomechanics and Sports Technology at Ulster University.

Dr Sasho MacKenzie, Professor at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada, also flew in especially for the event.

David Colclough, Head of Coaching & Sports Science at The PGA, added: “It was a great honour to recognise the considerable contribution that Alastair has made to the development of the game of golf through his original work with ‘The Search for the Perfect Swing.

“We were also delighted to get such a wonderful line-up of speakers, who so neatly related the most current research findings to Alistair’s work from 1968.

“I think it showed what an essential read the book still is for anyone serious about understanding the science behind the game.”

 

GolfSixes is a real knock-out

 

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THE home sides stole the show in a thrilling day of GolfSixes action as England’s men and women both advanced to today’s knockout stages at Centurion Club.

Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace defeated South Africa in their final match to top Group D, following Georgia Hall and Charley Hull who advanced on the holes won rule after a narrow defeat to Sweden just a few minutes earlier.

The England women, who began their first GolfSixes experience with a draw against Pepperell and Wallace, will face Group C winners Ireland at the quarter final stage on Sunday. Meanwhile, a clash against the French pair of Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Romain Wattel awaits the England men.

The European Tour broke new ground yet again at the innovative event, with men’s and women’s teams, and a mixed pairing of Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn and his Solheim Cup counterpart Catriona Matthew, all taking part in a format which saw 16 pairs take each other on in greensomes match play over six holes in a round robin, with the top two teams in each group advancing to Sunday’s quarter-finals.

The European Women team of Carlota Ciganda and Mel Reid had earlier pulled off a memorable result, defeating defending champions Denmark in a play-off to finish second in Group A behind the Thai pairing of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee.

Australia’s Sam Brazel and Wade Ormsby won Group B to set up a quarter final clash with the European Women, while Thailand face an all-Asia clash against runners-up Soomin Lee and Jeunghun Wang of South Korea.

Eddie Pepperell said: “We had a good, tough match with the girls and were just relieved to not lose that.  Then the second game, we played a bit scrappy at the end.  But we really wanted to be here tomorrow, so now that we are, it’s going to be great.

“It’s been great.  Every time someone has been asked who is their favourite golfer, all I keep hearing is Georgia or Charley, so hopefully by the end of tomorrow, they will be saying Matt, because he’s my favourite golfer.”

Matt Wallace added: “Really happy to top the group and get through. It’s nice to play with this guy. Playing against the girls this morning, well, we hit some terrible golf shots on the first hole but then we slowly got into and started to realise everyone out there was having a lot of fun.

“What a fantastic day. Great fun. Nice to play alongside this chap here, it was a pleasure and it was really nice.  The crowds were great and the weather is fantastic.”

Georgia Hall said:  It’s been a great day, long day.  Me and Charley played really well and we got a bit unlucky in the last match, but we’re through and we’re excited for tomorrow. We’ll pretty much just do what we done today.  Enjoy it and take it one shot at a time.

Charley Hull agreed:  It’s been great fun.  I just feel good vibes from this event. It’s really good because you see so many children and women and everyone around and the weather is perfect.  I think it’s a really good event for golf.

Mel Reid added: “It’s huge for women’s golf. I have absolute faith in our partnership and we would have been disappointed not to get through to Sunday. My sister would have killed me because she only just arrived.

“A shame for Denmark to go out with a three putt on the last but we’re very, very happy.  It’s great for women’s golf. I think this is a huge opportunity to showcase women’s golf. We don’t get the coverage and we don’t get as supported as I feel like we should. An event like this is huge for us.  Hopefully a few more people will want to take up the game of golf now because they see how passionate we are about it. We have a lot of fun out there. I can’t stop having fun with this one. That’s what it’s all about.”

Download the final standings after day one here: GOLFSIXES – GROUP RESULTS

And the match schedule for day two can be found here: GOLFSIXES – KNOCK-OUT ROUNDS

 

Jason leads the way at Hesketh

JASON Shufflebottom completed a memorable start to the season by winning the PGA Assistants’ Championship North qualifying round at Hesketh Golf Club.
The Prestatyn-based Denbigh  man posted a one-under 68 to edge out Matthew Dunbabin (Sandiway), Calum Hey (Shipley) and Nick Tibbetts (Carlisle).
They will join 15 other qualifiers at the £32,000, Birdietime-supported, grand final at Farleigh Golf Club, Surrey, on  July 3-5.
But the victory came after the 29-year-old had been named as a junior ambassador for the Flintshire Golf Union.
“They approached me to work as an ambassador a few months ago and now it’s all been passed, so I’m looking forward to doing some work with the juniors and inspiring a bit more success in North Wales.
“I’m very fortunate to be in a positive environment with good coaching practices.”
Shufflebottom is a former Wales amateur International who studied in the USA before deciding to take the PGA route.
“It’s a big bad world out there, but I decided that if I couldn’t play for a living, I’d like to help others improve and my goal is to go for a coaching role. The PGA course gives me the chance to play as well.”
Shufflebottom said he was fortunate with the draw at Hesketh.
“I was first out and we played the first six holes with no wind, then it picked up a little bit,” he said.