England (Midlands) Region
08 Mar 18
Lincolnshire-based PGA pro Andrew Hare and his amateur partner Shane Gray have been rewarded for their persistence and staying power with victory in the Brabazon Series at The Belfry.
The pair, who played in each of the five events staged at the four-time Ryder Cup venue, amassed 653 points to leave regular 50 plus-strong fields featuring pros and amateurs from all over the country in their wake.
In doing so the duo clearly went the distance. Competing in the five events meant they covered more than 1,000 miles travelling between Lincolnshire and The Belfry.
That comprises dinner, a night’s accommodation with breakfast at the world-famous resort and another visit to the scene of their triumph - a fourball on The Brabazon.
Not that that is an issue with Hare, the head PGA pro at Silk Willoughby Golf Club, Sleaford, and member of the 1989 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team that was the first to win on American soil.
“I’ve tackled The Brabazon on many occasions and really enjoy it,” said Hare, who played in the 2003 PGA Cup.
“It’s a great course and a fantastic prize – we’re delighted to win it.”
However, had it not been for the influence of his partner, a member at Seacroft Golf Club, near Skegness, who plays off 10, the chances are Hare would not have played in the series.
“I turned 50 last year and had pretty much stopped playing,” added Hare, a European Tour member for three seasons before, ground down by the constant travelling, he opted for life as a PGA Professional.
“I’ve played in plenty of pro-ams with Shane and he suggested we should play in the first event of the Brabazon Series.
“I really enjoyed that and when we came second in the next one things really took off from there.”
While Hare and Gray won the series thanks to finishing tied 12th in the final event, Matt McGuire of Little Lakes Golf Club, Worcestershire, and Mark Sparrow, his amateur partner from neighbouring Halfpenny Green Golf Club, claimed the £500 first prize after amassing 41 points.
But it was close run thing. Ludlow Golf Club duo, pro Dan Francis and Simon Jones also posted 41 points but had to settle for second place and £300 on countback.
Meanwhile, the Brabazon Series has been such a success that it will be repeated at The Belfry next winter.
Given the support The PGA Midlands has received from the venue and the pros and amateurs, regional manager James Brown has had no hesitation adding the six event series to the schedule.
Paying tribute to the staff at The Belfry, he said: “Special thanks must go to the director of golf, Chris Reeve, and his team for their hospitality and support throughout the series.
“We’re also indebted to Angus McLeod, the director of golf courses and estates, and his team for ensuring The Brabazon was in near perfect condition despite the testing weather conditions.
“Their input has been key to making the series a success and is instrumental in maintaining the excellent relationship between The Belfry and The PGA.
“As a result, we have just launched the next series of six events which will begin on October 30. There will be two more in 2018 – on November 20 and December 18.
“The three in 2019 will take place on January 22, February 19 and March 5.”