English club golfers Hannah Golding, Neil Garbutt and Mike Durkin today booked a date with a star of the European Tour when they won the final stage of the Bridgestone Chase Your Dream Trophy.
The trio teamed up with professional Ben Evans to score 85 points in the pro-am of the Bridgestone Challenge at Luton Hoo – the English leg of the Challenge Tour.
Now, they’re heading for the pro-am of the British Masters, supported by Sky Sports, at Close House, Northumberland on 27 September, when they could play with Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia or another household name.
They claimed their place when they beat five other teams of golfers who have accompanied them on a journey with Bridgestone and England Golf, from club competition winner to regional and national finals – and now the pro-am success.
They won by four points and were ecstatic when the result was confirmed. “It’s unbelievable, unbelievable,” said Neil, an eight handicapper from Masham Golf Club, Yorkshire. “It’s been a brilliant journey to be part of and it’s just fantastic to be going to Close House, thanks to Bridgestone and England Golf.”
Mike, who plays off 14 at Hurlston Hall Golf Club, Lancashire, added: “I can’t express how I feel. It is a dream – and a dream that Bridgestone and England Golf have given us, with their commitment and support for amateur golf.”
Mike, who put off a holiday to play in the pro-am, suffered a heart attack in 2013 and thought his golfing days were over, making his triumph in the aptly named trophy all the more remarkable.
Hannah, from Brocton Hall, Staffordshire, was the youngest player in the pro-am team at the age of 14. She trains with an England Golf regional U16 squad and she commented: “I had a great team and I am very proud to get to this point and go forward to the British Masters.”
They started out on their round with four points on their first hole, the 13th, and carried on from there, playing holes one to nine in spectacular style, by amassing 49 points.
Their professional partner, Challenge Tour player Ben Evans, was full of praise for their play. “They were great, everyone contributed, Hannah probably a little more than the others which was great to see. She hit the ball amazingly well and she has a bright future.”
The other teams were:
81 pts Jacob Scargill (Hanging Heaton Golf Club, Yorkshire), Kathryn Naylor (Windlesham Golf Club, Surrey), and Lydia Hoare (Redlibetts Golf Club, Kent) with professional Martin Wiegele; Rebecca Webb (East Berkshire Golf Club), Kevin Maguire (Southwood Golf Club, Hampshire) and Joe Simpson (Burford Golf Club, Oxfordshire) with Jaco Ahlers.
78pts Gill Kapka (Cleethorpes Golf Club, Lincolnshire), Neil Jonas (Tilgate Forest Golf Club, Sussex), and Debbie Ricketts (Parkstone Golf Club, Dorset), with Thomas Linard.
77 pts Mandy Holden (West End Golf Club, Yorkshire), Ashlee Tyrrell (The Rayleigh Club, Essex) and Kevin Madden (Walmley Golf Club, Warwickshire) with Borja Virto
74 pts John Newell (Hazlemere Golf Club, Buckinghamshire), Sam Storey (Windlesham Golf Club, Surrey) and Debbie Deakin (Mickleover Golf Club, Derbyshire), with Luke Johnson.
Caption: Challenge Tour player ben Evans (second right) with Bridgestone Chase Your Dream winners (from left) Neil Garbutt, Hannah Golding and Michael Durkin. (Image copyright Leaderboard Photography).
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