Friday, July 20, 2012
A window fitter from Norwich has put himself in the frame for a trip to Mexico after winning the Virgin Atlantic PGA National Pro-am qualifier.
Phil Longhurst, of Bawburgh Golf Club, teamed up with PGA professional Tony Varney to top the leaderboard at the event held at King’s Lynn Golf Club.
And Varney, who is teaching pro at the Norwich Family Golf Centre, Easton, sealed his second successive final appearance after the pair carded a five under par round of 67.
They tied with Michael Few and Rob Carey of Weston Park Golf Club but it was the Bawburgh duo who won on countback after an impressive back nine.
Longhurst and Varney will now take their place in the SkyCaddie and BMW supported £30,000 final which will be held at the Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort at Cancun in Mexico in December.
Moon Palace is home to a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf course where 16 PGA professional and amateur teams will contest the event.
It will be Varney’s third final appearance in this event – and his third PGA final in as many years after making the National Pro-Captain Final in 2010. And Longhurst, 43, who plays off a handicap of 11, admitted Varney’s experience at this level helped him conquer his nerves.
Longhurst, said: “It was a bit intimidating at first when you’re playing with the professionals.
“And I was quite nervous at the start to be honest.
“But then I got into it and felt more relaxed.
“We just sort of clicked and in the end I made a putt at the 18th which was the one that took us to the final.
“But I had no idea of how well I was doing, and Tony told me afterwards that he deliberately didn’t tell me.
“If I’d known, I’d have crumbled. But Tony was great to play with and awesome when he’s on form.
“So now we’re going to the final, but that seemed a long way off when we were three over par after six holes.”
Varney was celebrating another foreign final and hoping to improve on his performance in last year’s Virgin Atlantic showpiece in Las Vegas.
He explained: “I’m delighted to get to another final. But between now and December I want to work on my game and get a little bit of confidence back.”