05 Jan 18
Saunton Golf Club will stage professional golf again when the English PGA Championship returns to the Association’s tournament schedule in 2018 following an eight-year hiatus.
The north Devon club boasts two highly-rated and challenging links, the East and West, and the 54-hole event will be staged on the latter from June 27-29.
Saunton, which dates back to 1897, has a rich history of hosting championship golf including the PGA Club Professional Championship in 2002 and, five years earlier, the British Boys Championship won by Sergio Garcia.
More recently Saunton was the spectacular setting for the 2016 PGA Play-Offs won by Matthew Cort, a member of the victorious 2017 Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team.
“Having successfully hosted the PGA Play-offs in 2016, we are delighted to have been approached by The PGA to stage the newly reformed English PGA Championship, especially as it is an event that has not been played for eight years,” said Russell Mayne, general manager at Saunton.
“To have the top English PGA Professionals play over the West Course will be an absolute thrill. After all the enhancements made to the course during the winters of 2016 and 2017, it will be interesting to see how the players will cope with the changes.”
Home of PGA Cup-winning captain Albert MacKenzie, Saunton will provide a testing examination of the 144 players vying for a portion of the £30,000 prize fund.
The English PGA Championship also promises to provide one of the strongest fields of the season with exemptions for members of the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team and all past Great Britain & Ireland Ryder Cup players.
Places have also been made available for last five PGA Professional Championship winners, as well as PGA Assistants’ champion Matthew Fieldsend. The top five players from each of the seven PGA Regional Orders of Merit have also been given exemptions.
All other places will be determined by seven regional qualifiers, while PGA Cup captain MacKenzie (pictured below) has also been offered a spot as the host club’s PGA Professional.
“National events should be deserving of worthy winners and that is what Saunton will provide us with next June,” MacKenzie said.
“As a club, we have hosted many prestigious events since the 1930s, and we feel honoured to be able to add the English PGA Championship to our portfolio. We look forward to providing all competitors and officials with a warm welcome next June.”
The inaugural English PGA Championship was staged at Goodwood in 2010 when Ben St John was victorious with a four-under-par score of 209.
His successor will earn a place in the three-strong England line-up for The PGAs of Europe International Team Championship as well as a spot in the PGA Professional Championship of Europe event.
To view the full 2018 PGA national tournament schedule click here.