News Digest – 02/10/2007

Lee Harper seals a dramatic victory in the final regular season event on the EuroPro Tour while Crown Golf launches a brand new academies programme.

Harper wins after play-off in Surrey

Lee Harper (pictured) sealed a dramatic victory after a play-off in the final regular event of the PGA EuroPro Tour season.

Harper, a member of Archerfield Links, ended on five-under, the same total as Justin Evans, as both men then replayed the 18th hole on the final day of the Masters, which was held at the Selsdon Park GC in South Croydon, Surrey.

It was a thrilling finale to the last of the main competitions in the campaign and Harper edged the win to claim the £10,000 top prize with Evans left with £5,000.

Harper had started the third day on four-under but his hopes of winning the tournament looked to be slipping away when he hit a double-bogey six on the 384-yard par-four seventh.

But he turned things round with three birdies in four holes - on the 12th, 14th and 15th ? but a bogey on the 17th meant he would be competing in a play-off.

Evans had been leader after the first round but lost his advantage with a one-over second round score of 71, despite an eagle on the 15th.

However, he stayed in touch and played his part in the play-off after a final round level par total of 70, which included five birdies and five bogeys.

Australian Nathan Main and England?s James Mason finished tied third, with five players ? Graeme Clark, Matthew Ford, Andrew Willey, Craig Billing and Jamie Spence ? came in level fifth on two-under.

The top 50 players on the Order of Merit list will now play in next month?s end of season Tour Championships.

Crown Golf launches new academies programme

Eight new 'Crown Golf Academies' will be launched this Autumn in the first phase of a project to establish the country's biggest network of golf teaching facilities.

Crown Golf, the UK's largest golf course owner, has appointed Robert Spurrier as its new Group Academy Manager to lead the development of the exciting new coaching programme across the group - which owns 32 venues and 57 courses in the UK.

Robert, a Class AA PGA Professional, has over 14 years' experience of setting up and successfully running golf academies, and providing coaching services to golfers across Europe. He has held several senior coaching and Director of Golf positions.

He said: "I am passionate about providing quality coaching for golfers and introducing new people to the game - and Crown Golf is a great place to do this.

Club?s shows green values

Owners at an exclusive Shropshire golf club are putting into place a drive for ?green values? after teeing up the installation of a state-of-the-art solar water heating system. The eco-friendly solar panels are being fitted to the clubhouse roof at 600-member Cleobury Mortimer Golf Club, and have been funded by Advantage West Midlands? Rural Regeneration Zone as part of the Low Carbon Communities for Business project.

Owners at the 200-acre club, located between Kidderminster and Ludlow, were awarded a £3,500 grant for the scheme after showing their commitment to the fight against global warming.

It will mean that after golfers have made their last putts on the final green they can show their commitment to energy efficiency by showering in water heated up mainly by natural resources, boosted by some pre-heating from the club?s Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) supply.

The club?s co-owner Graham Pain said: ?Golf has an image problem in that some people don?t think courses are good for the environment. I have strived to go some way to dispelling that myth by planting 25,000 trees on our course as well as building water hazards to encourage wildlife to the area. I am running a green company looking to handle itself in a sensible way.?

?Advantage West Midlands? Rural Regeneration Zone has played a vital role in ensuring the purchase of the solar panels. They should be particularly useful in the hot summer months when many members like a shower after a round of golf.

Career hopes for Welsh golfers lifted

Ryder Cup Wales 2010 Ltd is teaming up with Sports Council Wales to help propel the nation?s future champions to the top.

For the fifth year running Ryder Cup Wales, as a result of Wales staging The 2010 Ryder Cup, has been able to secure invitations from the Challenge Tour to offer to up and coming Welsh golfers to play in events across the world.

Golf professionals across Wales are now being invited to apply for invitations to play on the 2008 Challenge Tour for assessment by Ryder Cup Wales in conjunction with Sports Council Wales. A panel, which includes representatives from the Golfing Union of Wales, will assist Ryder Cup Wales in assessing the eligibility of those golfers hoping to take advantage of the invites.

A number of high profile competitors like Stephen Dodd, Bradley Dredge and Solheim Cup player Becky Brewerton have already benefited from the support that has helped them to reach the highest levels.

John Jermine, Chairman of Ryder Cup Wales, said, ?As part of our bid to host The 2010 Ryder Cup and our commitments to a Challenge Tour event each year until 2010, we were able to negotiate playing opportunities for young Welsh professional golfers.?

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