Senior quintet bid for Total Triumph

14/05/2013

Five players will warm up for the new European Senior Tour season which starts next month at the Total Triumph Classic.

Next week’s tournament at Oake Manor, near Taunton, is the opening Order of Merit event of the season in the PGA in England (South West).

Senior winners Kevin Spurgeon (Ferndown) and George Ryall (Players Club), European Tour champions Andrew Sherborne (Kendleshire) and Gary Emerson (Playgolf, Bournemouth) plus Welshman Glyn Davies line up in the unique event on May 22-23.

They face some of the younger West and Welsh players eager to make an early mark on the Race to Woodbury Park which can lead to qualification for European and Challenge Tour places next year.

Ross Jones, the Bath assistant, defends his title, while PGA Cup players Chris Gill, the new Newquay professional), Stuart Little (Minchinhampton), Richard Dinsdale (Parc Golf Academy) and James Lee (Caerphilly) will also make strong challenges.

Michael Watson (Wessex Golf Centre) can never be discounted and the man who won the Titleist PGA Play-Offs three years ago, is now approaching his best form.

Gill, the first winner in 2009, and Barry Austin (Downs Crediton), the 2011 champion, return but reigning OOM champion Matt Dearden, the new club professional at Llantristant and Pontyclun, is also notable absentee because of club duties.

But former European Tour players Liam Bond, who won at Cumberwell Park last year, Sion Bebb (The Vale) and Andy Beal (Salisbury) face stiff opposition from young players now in top form, among them Giuseppe Licata (Bristol Golf Centre), Russ Berry (RB Golf), Cennydd Mills (Pyle and Kenfig), Joe Ferguson (Celtic Manor) and Paul Hendriksen (Dinnaton) who was third in the Race to Woodbury behind Dearden and Lee Thompson (Dudsbury) last year.

The special formula of pairing 80 amateurs alongside the pros for the final round, a scheme devised by Russell Gardner, Oake Manor’s director of golf, has been extended to include several amateur county champions this year.

Among them are plus-three handicapper Ryan Pope (Exeter), scratch players Anthony McGeorge (Royal North Devon), Harry Mitchell (Ferndown), Shelby Smart (Knowle) and Kyra Horlock (Broadstone).

Neil Mossman, managing director of Taunton motor cycle dealers Total Triumph and a former captain at Oake Manor, said: “With more than 100 professionals and a full field of good amateurs, the first Order of Merit event of the season has become an established and highly regarded tournament.”

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