England Golf name award winners

ENGLAND Golf has announced the first six sponsors for its prestigious 2019 Awards.
The PGA – Coach of the Year
The Golf Foundation – Young Ambassador of the Year
Players 1st – Innovation Award
HowDidiDo – Most Welcoming Club of the Year
SMS SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC – dinner wine
Derek Burridge Trophies – award trophies

Nick Pink, England Golf chief executive, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome these sponsors and we appreciate their fantastic support for our England Golf Awards. All six were sponsors last year and their decision to return is a huge compliment to the prestige of the awards and our aim to raise the profile of all that’s great about golf in England.

“We look forward to joining them and our other guests on the night to celebrate the people, clubs and counties who make our game special.”

The England Golf Awards 2019 take place at the Royal Lancaster London on  March 21. The black-tie gala dinner will be a must-attend date for everyone who cares about golf and offers a chance to hear about the outstanding achievements of the finalists and to applaud the winners.

Nominations for the awards close at midnight on  30 November. As well as the sponsored awards there are categories for Volunteer of the Year, Lifetime Service Award and County of the Year. Visit www.englandgolfawards.org for more information and to make nominations.

Here’s what the sponsors have to say:

The PGA’s professionals enhance the golfing experience of hundreds of thousands of players across the world. Chief Executive Robert Maxfield said: “We are delighted to sponsor England Golf’s Coach of the Year Award for a second year. Our members play an integral role in helping to develop and grow the game of golf across the world. From teaching beginners at their local club, to instructing Europe’s Ryder Cup stars in Paris, our highly trained coaches remain vital to the growth and development of the game.”

The Golf Foundation is the charity responsible for making golf more accessible to young people and to help them ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport. It jointly runs the Young Ambassador programme with England Golf. Chief Executive Brendon Pyle said: “We believe that leadership and volunteering opportunities for young people in the sport can help develop valuable life skills. We are delighted to be associated with the Young Ambassador of the Year Award.”

Players 1st is one of the world’s leading player experience platforms. Chief Executive Morten Bisgaard said: “To quote Steve Jobs, innovation is not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you are led, and how much you get it. So, what I am looking for in a winner of this category is a club or organisation which have succeeded in establishing a leadership culture where the staff are empowered to continuously make small everyday innovations to drive exceptional customer experiences.

HowDidiDo is one of the largest online golfing networks anywhere in the world. Chief Executive Richard Peabody commented: “HowDidiDo is delighted to be sponsoring the Most Welcoming Club of the Year Award at the 2019 England Golf Awards. These Awards are a great celebration of some of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at golf clubs that people don’t usually see. It’s also a great opportunity to meet the people benefitting from the HowDidiDo system.”

SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. is a sports research business with a strong focus on golf. Director Richard Payne said: “We are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the England Golf Awards and support an event that has become a highlight of the golfing calendar. We believe the work that England Golf undertakes is critical to the long-term health of the game and are delighted to play our small part in helping them achieve their objectives. We hope you are all able to join us in raising a glass and celebrating the many golf achievements that have taken place over the last year in England.”

Derek Burridge Trophies is a leading trade price supplier of golf awards. Sales Director Mark Burridge said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the golf community to recognise the outstanding winners and we are delighted to support the England Golf Awards. So much good work goes on within the industry and this evening brings everyone together.”

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I didn’t play well admits Fleetwood

SOUTHPORT’S Tommy Fleetwood lies four shots adrift of Aaron Rai, Jason Scrivener and Yusaku Miyazato who lead the way at the Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi after benefiting from favourable afternoon conditions today.

Fleetwood admitted: “It’s okay. You can’t press too hard and to be fair, I didn’t play very good. I was fine getting off the tee. Drove the ball lovely which is the really important part to do, but yeah, my iron play was like way off. One under around there is not bad, but yeah, we had chances there but I mean, I didn’t play very well.”

After India’s Arjun Atwal had set the early clubhouse target with a flawless 66 on a cool and windy morning in Fanling, calmer weather opened the door for later starters Rai, Scrivener and Miyazato to produce opening 65s and move to the top of the leaderboard.

Three-time European Tour winner Atwal, Challenge Tour graduate Jack Singh Brar and American Micah Lauren Shin were the leaders’ nearest challengers on four under after they all carded four birdies and no bogeys in their opening rounds.

Rai began his round with a birdie at the first but had to wait until the 12th to pick up his second shot after a string of pars. He was rewarded for his patience with an eagle at the 13th, sending a stunning approach to within a few inches of the cup before tapping in.

Australian Scrivener only managed one birdie on his front nine before picking up four shots in five holes from the 12th to get to five under, meanwhile Japan’s Miyazato started from the 11th tee and carded birdies at the 13th and 15th, before making further gains on the fourth and seventh to join Rai and Scrivener at the summit.

Leading Round One Scores

65 J Scrivener (Aus) , Y Miyazato (Jpn) , A Rai (Eng) ,
66 M Shin (USA) , A Atwal (Ind) , J Singh Brar (Eng) ,
67 T Aiken (RSA) , D Boonma (Tha) ,
68 A Quiros (Esp) , N Colsaerts (Bel) , Y Liu (Chn) , A Chesters (Eng) , T Jaidee (Tha) , D Drysdale (Sco) , S Brazel (Aus) , K Joshi (Ind) , T Pilkadaris (Aus) , S Hend (Aus) , H Park (Kor) , H Porteous (RSA) , J Wang (Kor) , B Henson (USA) ,
69 T Fleetwood (Eng) , A Johnston (Eng) , J Morrison (Eng) , A Cañizares (Esp) , W Lin (Tpe) , D Lipsky (USA) , S Fernandez (Esp) , C O’Toole (USA) , A Karlsson (Swe) , C Bezuidenhout (RSA) , S Sharma (Ind) , J Janewattananond (Tha) , M Schwab (Aut) , K Koivu (Fin) , J Higginbottom (Aus) , J Harding (RSA) , J Kruyswijk (RSA) , S Kim (USA) ,

 

Fleetwood fired up for Hong Kong challenge

THE 2019 Race to Dubai has not even started yet but Tommy Fleetwood already has his sights set on maintaining the form that saw him rise to the top of world golf when he tees it up at the HONMA Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi this week.

The Englishman  sits ninth in the Official World Golf Ranking, a career high for the 27 year old, and arrives at Hong Kong Golf Club in excellent form with 15 top 20 finishes pushing him to third on the season-long Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

The Ryder Cup star would dearly love to be crowned European Number One once again and has an impressive track record in this event, finishing in the top six in both of his previous appearances.

Meanwhile, Rafa Cabrera Bello is hoping to make it third time lucky this week. The Spaniard has finished second in his last two starts at the event, losing out by a single shot to Australians Sam Brazel and Wade Ormsby in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

His runner-up finish last term was his best result of another incredibly consistent campaign that saw him record a further five top tens, four of the them in Majors, World Golf Championships and Rolex Series events.

Despite being one of the best performers in golf week in, week out, he has just two wins in the last nine years and would love a victory at a course that has seen countrymen José María Olazábal, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and José Manuel Lara share six victories between them since the turn of the century.

Player Quotes

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Tommy Fleetwood: “It is nice seeing places, and I think as golfers and just the nature of what we do, we don’t get to see places as much as we’d like to, so to do the odd nice little touristy thing is really nice, especially somewhere like Hong Kong. It’s one of my favourite places, so the more I get to see of it, the better.

“I think it was a great follow to what was the season of my life. I would have liked to have won another time after starting so strong and winning, and I think I played well enough to win a lot of the time, but always sort of had one round that cost me or

made me fall just short.

“It’s a brilliant year. You have to remember how well you’ve done, and the two guys that finished above of me in the Race to Dubai were two Major champions. But the good thing to look forward to is I feel like there’s a lot many of improvement out there, so that’s still the exciting part.

“I think just over the course of four days my game just needs to stay a little bit more consistent. I said it a couple times last week, I’ve always fallen like one round short. I’ve always had one round that’s been poor, and I just need to make those rounds better.

“You’re always improving your game and you’re all looking at ways to improve it, so that’s the same.  Week in, week out, everybody does that, and you just have to do that in the smartest way possible.  But my consistency level was brilliant last year, and especially playing two different Tours, as well, so I was very proud of that. But aga

in, winning is what we all want to do, so to do that I need to put four rounds t

ogether.

“We’ve already spoke about the city, but the course, I feel the last two years, it’s set up nicely for me. It is quite a big patience game because you feel like there’s a lot of chances, but the course actually doesn’t give you that much in the end. Especially if the wind is swirling, it makes it very difficult. But in general, ball striking is pretty key. You can’t really play this golf course from off the fairways. You have to be on the fairway to score, and that’s obviously one of my strengths, so hopefully I can keep that up for just one more week.”

Fletcher is Lancashire’s next president

Norman Fletcher (1).JPGTHE Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs has appointed Norman Fletcher as president-elect for 2019-20.

He has been a member of Chorley Golf Club for 58 years and is well-known in golfing circles for his work with the PGA, the Ryder Cup and a number of national golf development projects.

Following an early teaching career, Fletcher worked for the PGA for 33 years before retiring in 2017.

Initially he was the PGA North Region secretary before moving to the National HQ at The Belfry in 1992. He undertook a number of roles and was assistant chief executive from 1997 to 2005.

A move to the role of Director of Regional & External Relations in 2005 provided a little more time for him to continue playing competitive golf at senior level.

His PGA responsibilities have been extensive and wide-ranging. They included his work with the England Golf Partnership, of which he was the first chairman. and partnership manager from 2005-09, working on the whole sport plan for golf 2005-09, and was a director of EGP until 2017.

He was director of the PGA’s of Europe from 1994-2010 and a Trustee Director of the Golf Foundation from 1994-2017.

Fletcher was involved in the Ryder Cup as a referee from 1985-89 while from 1993 to 2006 he was responsible for Ryder Cup ceremonies and co-ordinating all arrangements for the Royal Household, Heads of State and VIP visits to the event, including logistics and liaison with security services.

A member of Chorley Golf Club since 1960, he was captain in 1982, president in 1990 and club champion on six occasions.

He has held a Category 1 handicap since 1966, which he still retains. During his time  at the University of Exeter he captained the golf team and represented the English Universities v Scotland in 1971-72.

Fletcher has also represented the Bolton Golf Association team in five decades, also playing for Lancashire County Seniors from 2005 to 2016, going to three National County Finals as a player, captain and non-playing captain.

He is also a member of Royal St. David’s Golf Club at Harlech since 2000, was chairman of the club in 2017 and is the present captain. He won the Welsh National Teams’ Championship with Royal St. David’s GC and represented Wales in the European Club Team Championship.

He has been married to wife Kathryn for 45 years and they have two children, Sarah and Daniel.

Fletcher said of his appointment: “I was surprised and delighted to be offered the office of president and I hope to represent this great county to the best of my ability in 2019.“Being asked to be president is a real honour and serves as a link back to my grandfather – Norman H Fletcher – who was known as Norrie and represented the Lancashire Union for many years in its early days of the 1920s and 30s.”He will officially take up his new role in March.

Millar is top pro in Alliance fixture at Mottram

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PRIZE GUYS: From left, am-am winners Charles Herbert,  John Dowd (Manchester Alliance  president) and Ross Birch

ELLESMERE ace  Anthony Millar was leading professional with a haul of 39 points in the Manchester Alliance fixture at Mottram Hall.

One adrift of him was  win was Graham Cox (Lymm) and Ollie Smith (Ashton-on-Mersey) as Chorley’s Andy Palmer claimed the assistant’ prize with 37.

Grant Hamerton and Steve Horner (Pike Fold) headed the pro-am section with 44 points, one better than Davenport’s Jamie Goodhall and Cheshire junior Archie Palmer who won a card play-off from Tom Hollingsworth (Bramall Park)  and Chris Priestley (Macclesfield).

Mottram players Charles Herbert and Ross Birch (Northenden) racked up an impressive 48 points to clinch the  am-am.

Storm named Golf Foundation ambassador

EUROPEAN Tour favourite Graeme Storm has been announced as a new ambassador for national charity the Golf Foundation.

Graeme has given up many hours of his time this year to inspire children in schools through his passion for golf. He is seen as following in the footsteps of the charity’s Co-Founder Sir Henry Cotton, who started the Golf Foundation by taking golf into schools in the early 1950s.

Through its ‘Golf for All’ ethos, the Golf Foundation encourages young people from all backgrounds and of all abilities to enjoy the benefits of golf, helping to grow participation from schools into golf clubs while offering youngsters valuable life skills through the charity’s programmes.

Graeme Storm now joins Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and Felicity Johnson as key Ambassadors for the Foundation, all appointed in 2018. All have already contributed greatly to the charity this year.

When not competing on the European Tour, Graeme Storm still lives in Hartlepool in the North East of England, where he was born and raised. The 40 year-old is a highly popular figure in the area and apart from supporting his own local charities, last year Graeme contacted the Golf Foundation wanting to help create more young golfers in his region.

He has given his expertise to local schools and has been leading enthusiastic class coaching sessions alongside the teachers in PE, with a dynamic ‘Tri-Golf’ theme, the successful Golf Foundation easy-to-play format which now brings golf to nearly 3,000 schools and 300,000 children each year.

Tri-Golf is a key strand of the Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots school-to-club programme which offers a first golf experience to 500,000 boys and girls each year, aiming to create 15,000 extra regular club golfers per year and 5,000 extra junior members per year by 2019.

Graeme was the special guest yesterday (November 15) at the Hartlepool School Games Tri-Golf Festival and was only too happy to offer coaching, encouragement and to play alongside 100 boys and girls from 10 schools in the area. While Graeme’s attitude is refreshing and modern, his approach very much echoes the philosophy of Golf Foundation Co-Founder Sir Henry Cotton, who is believed to be the first professional golfer to offer a concentrated focus on supporting golf in schools.

Graeme has inspired youngsters in 14 primary schools so far, armed with a big new bag of Golf Foundation Tri-Golf kit, already providing an early playing experience to an estimated 420 youngsters. Graeme in turn has been encouraged by teachers to talk to the kids about his experience as a European Tour player and offer his own insights into the positive ‘Skills for Life’ lessons that golf can offer – which is a central tenet of the Golf Foundation’s Golf for All model that supports young people whatever their ability level and circumstances.

Meanwhile, liaising with Foundation Regional Development Officer Ian Harvey, Graeme’s connection with the area’s golf clubs has also helped to link enthusiastic children from schools to local PGA Professionals for continued coaching.

Independently, the European Tour player has for some time helped to mentor a number of highly promising young amateur players while providing competitive opportunities for many young golfers in the region through the Graeme Storm Junior Open and The Mini Storm Trophy. Graeme and wife Sara have also been keen supporters of local children’s charity The Finlay Cooper Fund.

Golf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle said: “Our team has been delighted to see such a high-profile golfer prepared to roll up their sleeves and support his community. The nature of Graeme’s enthusiastic approach reminds us all of our Founder Sir Henry Cotton’s methods, so it is great that Graeme is following in the footsteps of Sir Henry in this way. We are quite sure that Graeme will be a brilliant Ambassador; he deserves great credit.”

Graeme Storm said: “My collaboration with the Golf Foundation has been a continuation of my passion to grow the game of golf in the North East and beyond. Tri-Golf is a fantastic introduction to golf, engaging children in a fun and inclusive activity which they may not have been able to access unless through school. Although golf is seen as an individual sport, Tri-Golf can be delivered in a team capacity encouraging children of all abilities to take part. I very much hope that I have helped and continue to help to raise awareness of this great game and have encouraged schools to include this sport in their curriculum or as part of an after-school club.”

Golf Foundation RDO Ian Harvey added: “For young golfers in the North East, this new partnership will help Graeme’s work as we’ll be able to support him with more resources, while we can work together to direct discretionary funding to support schools and golf clubs for maximum impact. The net result will be very exciting for children and families new to golf in the area.” 
(Picture courtesy of Andrew Bryson)

 

Cox leads the way at Warrington

alliwarringtonpro.jpgTOP OF THE SHOTS: Graham Cox. Anton Johnson, Russ Johnson

LYMM assistant Graham Cox racked up 41 points in the Manchester Alliance at Warrington to finish one ahead of Poulton Park’s Phil Archer and Chorley’s Andy Palmer.

Cox was also in the mix in the pro-am, posting 43 points partnering home host club player Russ Johnson.

But the card play-off went in favour of Ryan O’Neill (Penwortham) and Steve Moores (Stamford) and Archer and his Leigh partner Mark Pasquill.

The top assistant pro prize was taken by Jamie Howarth (Davenport) with 39 points.

Meanwhile, Stamford have been dominating the am-am in recent weeks and their tried and trusted duo of Dan Fox and Steve Finan did the business again with 43 points taking them clear of John Aikenhead (Ashton-on-Mersey) and John Russell (Sale) 42 and Mike Jones and Archie Palmer (Davenport) 41.