Alex sails through S3 pro meeting

GOLF: For two months a year Alex Sandeman can be found playing golf in Barbados at Royal Westmorland where Gary Sobers, the legendry West Indian cricketer, is either his partner or opponent.


FOR two months a year Alex Sandeman can be found playing golf in Barbados at Royal Westmorland where Gary Sobers, the legendry West Indian cricketer, is either his partner or opponent.

For the last five months the 25-year-old from Hampshire has been playing in America on the Mini-Tour and Buy.Com Tour with a great deal of success.

So probably it came as no surprise that Sandeman won the inaugural S3 Pro Tour meeting at Rushmere last week, setting a new professional course record in the process.

His second round four under par 66 was the best professional score since the course was redesigned three years ago.

Despite taking a double bogey six on the opening hole on the first day in blustery conditions, Sandeman hit back to lead at the halfway stage with a two under par 68 before doing even better on the second day.

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He said: "In my last four tournaments in America, I won three of them and lost the other after a play-off.

"I've been working hard on my game and it's starting to come all together. I shall be going back to the States during the summer for a couple of weeks to see my coach Jimmy Falconer who used to look after Ernie Els in his younger days."

Sandeman, who had his father Andrew as his caddie, certainly impressed. He averages between 285-290 yards off the tee, and said: "The key to my success at Rushmere was the way I mentally handled myself and my putting. I putted very well over the two days."

Now Sandeman, who has played golf all over the world, has set his sights on a place on the European Tour next year, and failing that might have a go at the US Tour.

Formerly attached at Ferndown, Sandeman now plays out of Royal Westmorland. His father now lives in Barbados and all his sponsors are members of this famous club in the West Indies.

"I play a lot of golf with Gary Sobers. He likes a bet and is a keen competitor," said Sandeman who won at Rushmere by five shots from joint runners-up Dean Plant (Willingdon) and Nick Tull from Goodwood.

Sandeman picked up a cheque for £1,200 and there could be more winnings in the offing as the S3 Pro Tour gains momentum.

There are at least 12 more events to come this year, and possibly a few more, while the organisers have pencilled in six tournaments in Spain early next year.

Sam Goode, a professional for five years until he regained his amateur status two years ago, and current professionals Warren Hewlett and Max Newman are the men behind the S3 Pro Tour.

Hewlett said: "Max and I had been looking to do something like this for some time. There's a gap to fill and we got together with Sam who was running corporate golf days as well as caddying last year on the European Tour for France's Christian Cevaer."

Obviously a new venture will take a little time to really take off, but the organisers are hopeful for increased fields as the year progresses.

The five Suffolk professionals who played did not fare too well with only Fynn Valley's Alex Lucas picking up money by virtue of sharing eighth place.

The next event is at Old Thorns in Hampshire on June 10 and 11 followed by Redlibbits, Kent, on June 17 and 18; Moatlands, Kent on July 15 and 16; Wheatley, Doncaster on July 25 and 26; Old Thorns on August 27 and 28; East Sussex National on September 2 and 3; Highleigh, Cheshire on September 9 and 10, The Ridge, Kent on September 24 and 25, West Malling, Kent on October 1 and 2; and Old Thorns on October 14 and 15.

There is a possibility of another event in Suffolk with Ufford Park likely to be the hosts.

Leading scores: 134- Alex Sandeman (Royal Westmorland) 68, 66; 139- Dean Plant (Willingdon) 69, 70; Nick Tull (Goodwood) 71, 68; 140- Max Newman (Old Thorns) 71, 69; 141- Mark Belsham (unattached) 72, 69; 144- Mark Allen (Lovelane Ltd) 76, 68; 146- Mark James (unattached) 76, 70; 147- Alex Lucas (Fynn Valley) 76, 71, Carl Duke (Porters Park) 70, 77.

Other Suffolk scores: 149- Robin Mann (Ufford Park) 75, 74, Tony Dobson (Bourne Hill) 75, 74; 151- Kelvin Vince (Fynn Valley) 78, 73; 160- Paul Wilby (Fynn Valley) 80, 80.

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