Driver Darren bids to stay on track for Gleneagles in Lombard qualifier



A train driver will be hoping to book a ticket to Gleneagles when he takes part in the Lombard Trophy regional final at Saunton Golf Club on Friday, June 7.

Dorset amateur player Darren Budd, 33 teams up with Parkstone Golf Club head PGA Professional Martyn Thompson (pictured) – a past winner of the event in 2003 who is aiming to reach a third final having also made last year’s showpiece in Mexico.

The duo is aiming to qualify for the grand final which will be held at Gleneagles’ PGA Centenary course in Scotland - the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup - on September 3-4.

And for Budd, a driver on the Weymouth to Waterloo line, the chance of playing in the final is already reaping its rewards.

“I’ve been working hard on my game and my handicap has tumbled from 11 to seven in about six weeks,” said the Poole-based golfer.

“My PGA coach, Dave Cooper from Canford Magna, has been helping my concentration and preparation a lot and that’s been working for me.”

And Budd admits he could hardly be in better hands than his professional playing partner, Thompson who has also played in two Opens in 1995 and 1999.

“You’ve only got to look at Martyn’s record to see what kind of player he is. The fact that he’s played all four rounds of the Open says it all,” he added.

“I know him well and I’m looking forward to playing alongside him.

“The thought of being able to play at Gleneagles is a real incentive and the fact that Martyn got to the final last year hopefully means we’re in with a chance.”

The Lombard Trophy has seen an increase in prize money for the event this year from £50,000 to £80,000 with £12,000 going to the winning professional.

Other clubs taking part at Saunton include Jacky Heginbotham and Terry Searle (Wells), Nigel Blenkarne and Richard Modlin (Bigbury), Paul Mitchell and Richard Eve (Bristol & Clifton), Barry Austin and Brian Vicary (Downes Crediton), Adrian Cave and Neil Pulman (Honiton), Richard Sadler and James Reburn (Killiow), John Blackburn and Paul Nicholson (Mendip Spring), and former champion Richard Dinsdale and Max Woodman (Parc Golf Academy).

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