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England and Wales (North) Region

Home sweet home for Whiteley

11 Aug 14

1108NorthOliverwhitely

It was no contest when Oliver Whiteley was faced with the decision whether to continue playing on tour or settle down with his wife and baby daughter.

"My life changed when Isla was born last November," said the 36-year-old who is two months into his PGA training at Stockport club Bramall Park.

"It was not difficult for me to make up my mind. My wife Suzie and I needed stability in our lives."

Whiteley competed for two years on the European Tour, finishing third behind Charl Schwartzel in the 2005 Dunhill Championship in South Africa, then spent the next six campaigns on the Challenge Tour.

He's already started to make an impact at regional level, winning the John Daly Pro-am at Doncaster resort Owston Hall last month and prevailing in the Druh Belts & Buckles PGA North Assistants' Challenge at Bolton.

Whiteley, who lives in Altrincham and was formerly attached to Hillsborough, clicked with a four-under-par 66 on a course he'd never seen before.

"I had to figure my way round it," he added after a five birdie haul, the most pleasing when he nearly holed a nine iron approach to the 16th, before giving logging a lone bogey at the last after finding the rough.

Owston Hall's James Freeman claimed second place, two off the pace.

Meanwhile, Hartford's Ian Ridgway holds a 60-point lead in the Order of Merit over Andrew Rigby, the Sue Wright Trophy winner from Rudding Park Golf Academy. They tied third on 69 at Bolton with Astley Golf Centre's Aaron Williams.

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