Mundesley golfer Ryan Pudney hopes to rise to PGA challenge

Mundesley golfer Ryan Pudney is looking forward to one of the biggest challenges of his career after reaching the final of the Glenmuir PGA Professional Championship.

The club's golf operations manager was in fine form at the East Region qualifier at Hadley Wood last week, battling his way round in level par 72 on a day of high scoring to book his place in the 72-hole event at Carden Park in Cheshire.

Pudney finished just two shots behind the winner Joost Steenkamer from Holland and will be flying the flag for Norfolk from August 7-10 after a number of other local players failed to make the qualifying mark.

'It's the first time I have qualified for the final and I am absolutely delighted,' said Pudney. 'This is probably the biggest event we play in unless you make it through to the Open of course, and I am really looking forward to testing myself against the best club professionals in the country.

'I've got a few months to work on my game and I'll be going up there looking to give a good account of myself. For the players who do well at Carden Park there are big rewards, like playing in the PGA Cup against club professionals in the United States and playing for England in the Euoropean Team Cup. But I am not going to get ahead of myself. I'll be going up there with the target of making the halfway cut and I'll see where I go from there.'

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While Pudney was grabbing one of the 15 qualify spots available at Carden Park the other Norfolk professionals in action were falling short, including Michael Few (Weston Park) 75, Mark Allen (Eaton) 76, Alan Hemsley (Barnham Broom) 79 and Gary Kitley (Thetford) 79.

Meanwhile two of Pudney's assistants at Mundesley also have something to smile about after reaching the continental final of the Greene King Old Speckled Hen Open.

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Matthew Craske and Andrew Whitby, who compete off five and 20 respectively, played some excellent golf in the Stableford pairs competition to come through regional competitions at Stowmarket and Stoke-by-Nayland in impressive fashion.

They will now be aiming to keep up the good work in the final at Le Touquet in France from July 17-19.

'Neither of us have ever played golf abroad before and it's something we are really looking forward to,' said Craske.

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