Colne Valley a fitting stage for Order of Merit climax

Colne Valley a fitting stage for Order of Merit climax


The PGA in England (East) Order of Merit race is all set for an exciting conclusion on August 31-September 1 at Colne Valley Golf Club.

Hendon Golf Club professional Luke Goddard currently sits on top of the rankings, just ahead of Michael Vandenberg (Rochford Hundred) and Harry Casey (The Shire London).

Traditionally, the top-three proceed to the PGA Play-Offs in which they’ll face the best PGA professionals from six other regions, including Ireland and Scotland

It will be the first time that the Essex course, just west of Colchester, has hosted an Order of Merit tournament.

And its head PGA professional Scott Rusbridge is looking forward to welcoming many of the East’s best professionals to the parkland par-70 lay-out.

Rusbridge said: “I thought this was a nice way to get Colne Valley on the map, having been the professional here for a number of years now. The proprietor and owner Tom Smith is keen to support events.

“I’m pleased to say the course is in decent nick. I’m quietly confident that the reports from the golf course will be good.

“It is quite undulating, very strategic. We’ve got six par-3s, there’s a tight par-70, so scoring will be tough. It will be a good test for sure.

“Earlier in the round would be where the scoring would be – the toughest stretch is 10 to 14. Fifteen to 18 are all good chances, relatively.”

Goddard has never played at Colne Valley before and has scheduled a practice round there this week as he seeks to leave nothing to chance.

The former Walker Cup player has enjoyed an excellent season, finishing in the top-10 in all three Order of Merit events to date.

The highlight of his 2022 campaign was a victory in the Order of Merit event at Three Rivers Golf and Country Club in July.

Goddard, 34, said: “Mentally, I’ve been better this year. I just feel like it’s been pretty solid. At the start of the year I was making a lot of birdies, but also a lot of mistakes. And I think lately I’ve just cut out a lot of the mistakes and that’s been the key to it, really.

“The goal at the start of the year is always to play well in the Order of Merit events, not only to try and get top-three but also secure places in pro-ams and make sure you’re able to play the following year. And it’s been good.

“I’ve never been to Colne Valley, so I’m going on Thursday to have practice round. I haven’t played for two weeks as I’ve had a foot injury, so it will be nice to just get out and play.

“I went to a chiropractor and he took the swelling down and told me to keep icing it. It’s still not 100 per cent, but it doesn’t affect me hitting shots, so I should be fine.

“I’m playing at Romford on Friday, so at least I’ll get a competitive round in before next week.”

The Colne Valley Classic is sponsored by Greene King and Colne House Care Home.

Picture caption: Luke Goddard leads the PGA East region’s Order of Merit race heading into its final event at Colne Valley Golf Club on August 31-September 1.


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