Rain is the winner at pro-am event

THE most prestigious pro-am ever to be staged in Suffolk fell victim to the weather at Stoke by Nayland yesterday. Waterlogged greens and persistent rain caused an abandonment of the PGA Seniors Championship pro-am early in the afternoon.

THE most prestigious pro-am ever to be staged in Suffolk fell victim to the weather at Stoke by Nayland yesterday. Waterlogged greens and persistent rain caused an abandonment of the PGA Seniors Championship pro-am early in the afternoon.

Some early starters had completed their round but most of the players were still on the course when the klaxons sounded for play to be suspended.

At first it was hoped that all teams would be able to complete nine holes but this was not possible.

Phil Fairbrother, his son Tom and Tony Moorecroft, who won the East Anglian Daily Times competition, played all 18 holes with Japanese star Seiji Ebihara. They ended level par with two Stableford scores from four to count. They were most impressed with Ebihara's play.


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The postponement was a blow to Spanish star Manuel Pinero, who played in two Ryder Cup matches. Pinero played the first nine holes on Wednesday and planned to see the second nine yesterday - but his match ended on the third green. Pinero and his caddy Angel Matamala walked the second nine in the rain to be better prepared for the opening day of the Championship, which starts at 7am today.

Suffolk PGA Strokeplay champion Robin Mann tees off at 8.30am. There a host of big names on the first tee in the next hour including Pinero, Ebihara, Nick Job, Eamonn Darcy, David J Russell, Jose Rivera and Australian Terry Gale.

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Frank Hill of Thorpeness will have South African Jeff Hawkes as a playing partner at 9.40am. John Hudson of Rivenhall Oaks has a noon start with Tony Charnley, who has done well on the PGA East Region in recent years.

The big three - Bill Longmuir, Carl Mason and holder Sam Torrance - are out at 1.10pm and will command a big following. Tony Johnstone of Zimbabwe follows 10 minutes later.

The top 60 players and ties make the cut tomorrow evening. The grandstand alongside the 18th green looks sure to be filled to capacity over the Bank Holiday weekend.

All spectators under the age of 16 will be admitted free.

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