Pope siblings will be brothers in arms at Carden Park

Pope siblings will be brothers in arms at Carden Park

09/08/2023

There will be no hint of sibling rivalry when Ryan and Jack Pope tee off in the PGA Fourball Championship at Carden Park.

Instead, they will be brothers in arms attempting to win the Golfbreaks-sponsored event at the Cheshire venue.

All of which will be a rare experience for the pair who, despite their family ties and attachment to Exeter Golf and Country Club, seldom play together.

“We didn’t play much golf together as kids,” explained Ryan who, at 29, is three years older than his brother. “I left home when I was 16 and came back when I was 22.”

Jack, meanwhile, did not start playing golf until he was 13, preferring to play football.

“Our dad played for Plymouth Argyle and took up golf when his career as a footballer ended and we joined in with him,” Jack recalled.

Conversely, while they are unaccustomed to playing together, the pair are often in opposition in PGA South West region tournaments.

And therein lies some sibling rivalry after Jack, a year one PGA Trainee, won a regional Order of Merit tournament at the first attempt.

“Jack’s got one-up on me in that respect,” admitted Ryan, modestly neglecting to point out his name is frequently near the top of the leaderboards and he currently lies third in the Order of Merit.

“In fairness, I don’t have much time for social golf. When I’m not playing in tournaments, I’m busy coaching.”

When the pair do play together, however, Ryan does not pull professional rank or play the age card but lets Jack take the lead.

“Jack’s probably a bit more consistent than I am,” Ryan explained. “I’m slightly more aggressive and he keeps the ball in play, which gives me a chance in fourball events to go for it.”

It’s a modus operandum that worked well in the regional qualifier for the tournament at Tiverton where they posted a better ball score of six-under to finish second.

Likewise in the first round at Carden Park last year where a first-round total of five-under left them well placed to maintain a challenge for the £5,500 winner’s cheque.

Circumstances in the guise of a dodgy meal, however, conspired to end their involvement.

“A group of us went out to an Italian restaurant in the evening and whatever Ryan ate did not agree with him – he was up all night,” Jack explained.

“I felt horrendous,” Ryan added. “And Jack was effectively on his own in the second round so we missed the cut.

“We’d done well in the first round and really enjoyed the course and, on reflection, we probably played too safe last year when we could have been more aggressive.

“Now having played it last year should give us more of a chance this time.”

As long as they give la dolce vita a wide berth, that is!

The Pope pairing, however, will not be the only fraternal duo in the tournament which carries a £33,250 prize fund.

They will be joined by Adam and Stuart Runcie, Callum and Sean Blinkhorn, the Jordan twins, Max and Tom, Jamie and Scott Howarth, plus 59Club CEO Simon Wordsworth and Kieran Wordsworth.

All, plus the remaining 63 pairs, will face two-time DP World Tour winner Rob Rock who, in partnership with Benn Barham, booked their place at Carden Park in Tuesday’s final regional qualifier at Leatherhead Golf Club.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the Golfbreaks PGA Fourball Championship.

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