England and Wales (North) Region
22 Aug 14
David Shacklady will be on a double mission when he starts his defence of the Manchester Open at Marriott Worsley Park next week.
For the Mossock Hall man is not only determined to hang on to the title but lift himself into contention for the PGA North Order of Merit crown which he has won three times in the last seven years.
He goes into the tournament lying in joint second place with Hart Common's Steve Parry 205 points adrift of Europro Tour player Alex Belt.
The Bridlington-based PGA Professional amassed his lead by winning the North Region Championship at Blackpool's Herons' Reach in May then finishing second in a play-off in the Yorkshire PGA Masters at Sandburn Hall a month later.
Shacklady won that event last year prior to his Manchester success and was also runner-up in the James Brearley Lancashire Open at Blackpool North Shore.
His best finish this campaign was third at Sandburn which has left him trailing in Belt's wake but with three ranking tournaments left he still has a great chance to leapfrog his rivals.
And there will be plenty of those breathing down his neck next week including 2012 champion Ben Mason, from Waterfront Golf in Rotherham, who won the Leeds Cup last week.
Other big guns setting their sights on the prize are Europro Tour player Garry Houston, who is based in Chester, and Steve Parry, the 2012 Order of Merit winner.
The 36-hole competition is on August 27-28.
Meanwhile, in a ground-breaking deal, the curtain-raising pro-am has been organised by the Manchester Golf Alliance who have attracted 29 teams.
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