PGA counties set for regional battle



A former Ryder Cup and PGA Cup player will join forces to compete for Staffordshire in the newest tournament on the PGA national tournament schedule – the SkyCaddie PGA England & Wales Inter-County Championship.

David Gilford (pictured), who played in the infamous 1991 ‘War on the Shore’ Ryder Cup match and again four years later at Oak Hill, will team up with 2007 PGA Cup player Danny Taylor (Robert Rock Golf Academy) and Wolverhampton-based Mark Butler (Mark Butler Golf Academy) for the Midland qualifier at Leicestershire’s Stapleford Park.

A total of eight teams representing counties across the Midlands will do battle over 36-holes on Wednesday August 14, with the winning county securing their place in the £10,000 two-day final at The Belfry in October.

The format will see the best two scores from three in each of the two rounds counting towards the final score; something Taylor has experienced representing England in the International Team Championships in Europe.

But this is much closer to home and Taylor is looking forward to pitting his wits against their county rivals.

“It will be something different, we’ve never done this before and we should have a reasonable team,” he said.

“I know David (Gilford) well; he is still such a good ball striker and is about as relaxed as anybody can be on a golf course.

“I also know Mark (Butler) and played junior county golf with him as a 14-year-old.

“The only thing I need to do is get my game into shape – I’ve ploughed a lot of my efforts into coaching of late rather than playing but it would be nice to reach the final at The Belfry.

“It will be good to renew rivalry between Staffordshire and Shropshire too. There used to be something called the Miles Cup between the two counties and there was a lot of rivalry. The last time I played in that was with Rocky (Robert Rock) so that shows how long ago it was.”

Recently-crowned Glenmuir PGA Professional champion Dan Greenwood (Forest Pines) is in the three-man Lincolnshire outfit along with Scott Emery (Woodhall Spa) and David McNicholas (Normanby Hall).

Leicestershire & Rutland have the current Midlands Order of Merit leader Matthew Cort (Rothley Park) in their ranks. He will be joined by Adam Brown (Exclusive Leisure Ltd) and Matthew Whelband (Park Hill).

Other counties competing are Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Shropshire & Herefordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Skycaddie director of international business operations Jacqui Surman said: “Skycaddie is pleased to be sponsoring the PGA England & Wales Inter-County Championship. We believe in the PGA Professional and all that they stand for in golf.

“It is important that we support them at local county level and help enhance the work they do in their local area. We look forward to giving the events and each county our support in 2013.”

PGA chief executive Sandy Jones welcomed the new addition to the PGA national tournament schedule, commenting: “This is an exciting new opportunity embracing the counties and with plenty of regional pride at stake I’m sure it will be a keenly contested tournament.”

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