Open youngster star attraction at Ufford

ZANE Scotland, who made such an impact when he played in the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie at the age of 16, will be one of the star attractions at the PGA Europro tournament at Ufford Park that starts tomorrow sponsored by MCP.

ZANE Scotland, who made such an impact when he played in the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie at the age of 16, will be one of the star attractions at the PGA Europro tournament at Ufford Park that starts tomorrow sponsored by MCP.

Scotland turned professional at the age of 20 and, excellent player though he is, he is still battling to establish a regular place on the PGA European Tour.

He has been enjoying a pretty good season. In May he lost in a play-off to Adam Frayne of St Mellion in the Oceanico International Open at Morgado on the Algarve at the second extra hole. This was one of the Europro events which has helped push Scotland into 17th place in the Order of Merit with winnings of £8676.33 from five tournaments.

Scotland has also been playing on the Challenge Tour and on Sunday finished ninth equal in the Kazakhstan Open at the Nurtau Golf Club. It could have been so much better as he dropped four shots in his final five holes. He had rounds of 70 70 66 and 73 to end nine under par.


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Golf in Kazakhstan is relatively new. The back nine of this course, with a backdrop of the Tai Shian mountains, was opened in 1995 and the front nine in 2003. There are tree-lined fairways on the back nine with mountain streams. Greens were 10 on the Stimp.

Simon Robinson, who won three Europro events last year, including one at the Swallow Suffolk at Bury St Edmunds, was way down the field in Kazakhstan, tied 55th with a one over par finish over four rounds. He will be at Ufford this week where conditions should be excellent.

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Scotland's experience is another example of just how difficult it is for a top class amateur to make the breakthrough and stay at the top level. James Heath, who had a handicap of plus five, is another who is working his way up gradually via the Challenge Tour.

Suffolk's Lawrence Dodd will have a taste of the hurdles he faces as a professional. He is in the field at Ufford which reminds me of the event on the same course two years ago when top amateurs Richard Finch, Daniel Wardrop and Jon Lupton were having their first experience of the pro game. Finch has made the biggest impact of that trio.

The top 50 in the Europro Order of Merit qualify for the Tour Championship where there are bigger prizes than for the events in England and Scotland.

Jason Levermore of Clacton is lying in 47th place and will want to make the cut to add to his winnings. This is also vital for Justin Brown of Gosfield Lake who is in 62nd place and will still be having nightmares about the eight he took at Stoke by Nayland when he was leading the field midway through the final round. Brown needs a top-10 finish to stand a realistic chance of the Tour Championship unless he can conjure up a hole in one.

Robin Mann, the Suffolk PGA strokeplay champion, has entered. He will be using the tournament as a warm-up for the forthcoming Suffolk PGA Championship at Aldeburgh on October 11 and the OKI Castellon Open de Espana Senior between October 13 and 15.

Greg Norman, the Great White Shark, is one of the contenders together with Sam Torrance, Eduardo Romero and Jose Rivero, together with the other leading European Tour seniors. Mann needs to finish in the top 30 in the Order of Merit to avoid going back to the European Seniors' tour school in Portugal in November. Chances of that look remote. Stage one is at Pinheiros Altos and Quinta de Cima on November 16 and 17. The second stage will be at Pinta between November 20 and 23.

Other players to watch at Ufford include Russell Claydon (Gog Magog), Damien Mooney from Belfast, Australian Daniel Gaunt, Darren Prosser, Sean Whiffin and former Ufford winner Chris Sands.

PGA East Region players include Darren Charlton, Ian Ellis, Andrew George and Mark Davis.

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