Mannings Heath all set to host professional golf

Professional golf returns to Mannings Heath next week as the Waterfall course stages the PGA EuroPro Nokia Masters for the fourth time from Wednesday, August 4 to Friday 6.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 2:36 pm
The winning team in Mannings Heath's Keith Etheridge competition receive the trophy

The EuroPro Tour is Europe’s leading development tour which gives young professionals and a few select amateurs the chance to experience a tournament circuit in front of spectators and TV cameras. Several of today’s stars such as Tyrrel Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood and Louis Oosthuizen cut their teeth on the tour and all the events are screened in highlights packages on Sky Sports.

The Nokia Masters will see a field of 156 teeing off on the first day with nearly £50,000 of prize money to be won including a winner’s cheque for £12,500. Players will also be competing for order of merit places with the top 60 finishers in October heading to the Club de Golf Alcanada in Spain for the £100,000 Matchroom Tour Championship and five coveted spots on the PGA Challenge Tour, the second tier of European professional golf.

Current order of merit leader Will Enefer from Shropshire and the nine players following him will all be at Mannings Heath. So will two former Nokia winners, James Ross of Edinburgh’s Royal Burgess Club who claimed the title in 2019 and the 2017 winner Chris Lloyd of Hanbury Manor.

James Ross with the Nokia Trophy in 2019 at Mannings Heath

Local interest will centre on former Heath member and English Amateur Champion Tom Thurloway, now based at Chartham Park, and the club’s own new champion Aaron Peacock.

Spectators are welcome, admission and car parking are free and refreshments will be available in the clubhouse. They can expect entertaining golf on a Waterfall course in tip-top condition.

* One of Horsham’s most well known and well liked sportsmen, Keith Etheridge, who died earlier this year, has been remembered at Mannings Heath with a trophy that bears his name and will be played for annually in a Texas scramble.

Keith was a very popular Heath member and former club captain. He played more than 150 games in goal for Horsham FC.

Keith’s widow Pat, who used to partner him in mixed competitions, played in Saturday’s inaugural event and presented the trophy afterwards to Kevin Dixon, Mark Jefford, Steven Pye and Meriel Jolley who posted a nett 54 with nine birdies on their card. Emma Francis, Matt Griggs, Greg Laming and John Weaver were second with 56 while Brian Easter, Kim Francis, Harvey Jones and James McCarthy were third on countback with 57, beating four pairs on the same mark .

Seventeen teams took part and the day raised £900 for captain Chris McGrath’s charity, Alzheimer’s Society.

The ladies continued their busy schedule with two more trophy competitions. Emma Francis was a convincing winner of the Padwick Cup for 38, with Julie Law, 34, and Julia Hoskins, 32, nearest challengers. Margaret Brown scored 38 to win the Betty Moore Salver on Kingfisher followed by Meriel Jolley on 32 and Brenda James on 31.

Tony Hemingway and John Bailey, in the Seniors’ Centenary Challenge Plate, posted a better-ball 45 points to pip Eddie Searles and Andy Jones by a point and Phil Andrews and Alan Houliston by three.

And in the nine-hole roll-up on Kingfisher Richard Tullett won with 20, just holding off a strong challenge from Gary Hayes.