News Digest – 14/9/07

From Elliott Saltman's (left) charge through the pro-game, to a new amateur medal in honour of Mark H McCormack and the advent of PowerPlay golf – it's all been happening in the world of golf this week.

EuroPro Playoff Drama

Elliot Saltman became the first Scottish winner on the 2007 EuroPro Tour by beating Matthew Ford on the first playoff hole, at Stonebridge Golf Club. Both players finished on 10-under-par but Saltman held his nerve to claim the £10,000 winner?s cheque and move into the top ten in the Order of Merit.

It was the second time in as many weeks that extra holes were needed to find a winner, as it was also the case during the previous week at Ufford Park, when Dean Barnes secured his maiden tour victory. The Ferndown player sunk a 12ft birdie putt to beat Eddie Vernon, catapulting himself into the top ten in the Order of Merit.

Both Saltman and Barnes are now within striking distance of a top five position, which would guarantee a Challenge Tour card for 2008.

All Rose-y for Justin

Justin Rose is now ranked as Britain?s number one golfer after leaping ahead of fellow Englishman Luke Donald to 13th in the World Rankings after the BMW Championship.

It comes at the culmination of a superb year for Rose who has made the cut in all four Majors this season. Only Tiger Woods finished ahead of him in collective scoring at the Masters, US Open, Open Championship and USPGA, as the 27-year-old started to realise the potential he showed when he burst onto the scene at Royal Birkdale in 1998.

Woods has extended his lead at the top of the rankings after his success at Cog Hill, while Ireland?s Padraig Harrington is the highest placed European in seventh.

Davies takes the plunge

Welsh Walker Cup player Rhys Davies has decided to turn professional and has started the road to the European Tour at Qualifying School.

The 22-year-old emerged victorious in both singles matches at Royal County Down in the Walker Cup defeat for GB&I last week and will compete at St Annes Old Links Golf Club in Lancashire.

"I have enjoyed every minute of my amateur career and I think that, between the competitions I have played here and the experience of playing four years of college golf, I have really prepared myself well for the Tour,? said the Bridgend player, who will now become a stablemate of Tiger Woods at International Management Group.

New Amateur Medal Revealed

Legendary sports management agent Mark H McCormack, late founder of IMG, was once described as ?the most powerful man in golf,? and now the R&A has decided to remember him with the introduction of the Mark H McCormack Medal.

It will be presented annually to the player leading the World Amateur Golf Rankings at the end of Week 38 ? which is, coincidentally, next week ? upon the completion of both the European Individual Amateur Championship and US Amateur Championship.

?This is a fitting way to pay tribute to the legacy of a man who contributed so much to the game of golf around the world,? said R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson.

Addington Range Revamp Completed

Addington Court Golf Centre has invested a massive £250,000 on a state-of-the-art driving range to provide new practice facilities for members and visitors alike.

The Croydon-based centre is now home to 32 covered ? and heated ? bays, complete with ball dispensers, hoppers and even lifts.

?We pride ourselves on offering outstanding facilities and service to our members and visitors, and this latest addition is a further commitment to this objective,? said General Manager Glen Halsey.

Course Records Galore

Hampshire-based amateur Mark Bell set a blistering course record 60 (10 under par) at Shanklin & Sandown Golf Club, thanks to a dramatic eagle at the final hole.

The 20-year-old stood on the final tee eight-under-par for his round and on course to match the previous record, 62, which he also held. However, having hit the par-5 18th in two, the Hampshire First Team player rolled in the eagle putt.

Apparently not content with that Bell fired a course-record equalling 64 the very next day at Alresford Golf Club to clinch the prestigious Courage Trophy.

This rich vein of form has seen his handicap drop to +2 (the lowest ever on the Isle of Wight) enabling him to compete in all major amateur events in 2008.

PowerPlay goes global

PowerPlay Golf was introduced earlier this year as ?Twenty20 for golfers? and it would appear the new format is having the desired effect.

Golf clubs from 42 different countries are now registered online at as the race to become the first Offcicial PowerPlay Golf Venue ? outside the UK ? reaches its final stages.

Grass Roots Golf

Ecclestone Park Golf Club has joined forces with St Helens Council with the aim of developing golf for local youngsters.

The Rainhill-based club has slashed its joining fee for junior members by 90% and is now mentoring talented players with the view of bringing them through the ranks to potential stardom.

The scheme is in conjunction with the School Sport Partnership geared towards improving opportunities for local youths to forge links with sports clubs.

?Our aim is to become a centre of excellence for Merseyside?s gifted and

talented young golfers ? we already have 40 children of all ages and

abilities on our coaching programme and look to reach 100 by May 2008.? said Mark Jones, General Manager of Ecclestone Park Golf Club.

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