County can celebrate pro double
GOLF: Suffolk golf has been given a tremendous boost with the news that two professional events will be staged in the county next year.The Europro Tour, which merged with the PGA Mastercard Tour this year, will hold two of their 22 events in 2003 at Stoke-by-Nayland and Ufford Park.
SUFFOLK golf has been given a tremendous boost with the news that two professional events will be staged in the county next year.
The Europro Tour, which merged with the PGA Mastercard Tour this year, will hold two of their 22 events in 2003 at Stoke-by-Nayland and Ufford Park.
Each one will have a prize fund of £50,000 and is guaranteed wideworld television coverage going out to 64 countries.
The events are played over 54 holes and the Stoke-by-Nayland one is on July 1, 2 and 3 while Ufford Park will be hosting theirs on October 8, 9 and 10.
The two days prior to each event will see both Suffolk clubs holding a Pro-Am on one day and a practice day on the other.
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Peter Little, the tournament director of the PGA Europro Tour said: "We have never been to East Anglia before, and we like to move these events round on a geographical basis."
Following the merger of the Europro Tour and Mastercard Tour, that has been described as the most exciting development in its 13-year history, players this year were playing for a total prize fund of close on £1million – an increase of almost 100 per cent on 2001.
This year's Europro Tour was a big success with 18 events, culminating with the Tour Championship in Portugal in October.
Next year there will be 22 events, and there will certainly be a great deal of interest in the ones at Stoke-by-Nayland and Ufford Park that have been provisionally booked for 2004 and 2005.
The Europro Tour is now officially recognised by the PGA as an approved third level tour.
After the merger had been completed, Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA, said: "This represents one of the best ever opportunities for young, ambitious professionals to enjoy a taste of life on the tournament circuit and gain really valuable competitive experience.
"Improving opportunities at grass roots level is one of the most important aspects of the modern game."
Barry Hearn, the snooker entrepreneur and chairman of Leyton Orient FC, is chairman of the Europro Tour, and he said: "It will unearth tomorrow's golfing superstars and give members the opportunity to compete in golf's most exciting new venture.
Ufford Park will also be staging and East Region Order of Merit event on August 6 and 7 to complete a notable double. This year the Suffolk club hosted an East Region event for the first time to coincide with its tenth anniversary.
Colin Aldous, Ufford Park's chairman, says that they are looking for a major sponsor in order to give the event a title. This year Ufford Park were the sponsors.
As far as Stoke-by-Nayland is concerned, they are looking for sponsorship for their Europro Tour event in July, and anybody interested should contact the club on 01206 262836.