Grant flying high at Slaley

09/06/2012

Wraith Grant is among a number of PGA professionals challenging for a strong finish in the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship at De Vere Slaley Hall.

The Woodcote Park head pro added a 73 to his first round 70 to sit just four strokes adrift of leader Mark James in a share of fifth place at one under for the £250,000 tournament.

Alongside Grant are three other fellow PGA pros PGA pros Paul Wesselingh (Kedleston Park), Peter Smith (Deeside) and Andrew Murray (Lymm Golf Club) who was one off the lead until a triple bogey on his second last hole.

Grant admitted it had been a real battle with the wet conditions making the already difficult Hunting Course play even harder - especially the ninth, his last hole, where he dropped a shot.

"That hole is so tough, it is ridiculous," he said.

"But it is fantastic to be where I am especially after two days of not playing. I feel good and managed to hang in there and holed some putts.

"It is just nice to compete against these guys on the senior tour and see if you can really. I missed my card in Portugal at qualifying school by two shots so knew I was playing alright but it is just nice to compete and see if you can learn anything - even at our age!."

Grant is very much a traditional club pro at Woodcote, combining coaching, managing the pro shop and enjoying a close working relationship with club secretary Adrian Dawson who occasionally caddies for him.

But Grant is no stranger to elite level golf having played on the European Tour in the early 90s including an 18th place finish in the PGA Championship at Wentworth in 1990.

He also had two 16th place finishes at Monte Carlo and Florence but his biggest highlight remains playing with Seve Ballesteros who even once asked him for a lesson.

"He was a wonderful guy, brilliant player and he never forgot you," recalled Grant.

"Seve even asked me for a lesson but I said no but Jeff Mathews, who is also playing at Slaley Hall this week, gave him one and thanked him the following week for helping him out."

Away from the course, Grant has been throwing himself into helping Woodcote Park celebrate its centenary including welcoming former European Tour executive director Ken Schofield to a special dinner.

"It's been a busy year and this weekend Woodcote is hosting the Surrey County Championships so they're all have a bit of fun while I'm up here," he added.

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