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Pudney leads the way at Swaffham PGA pro-am

PUBLISHED: 09:01 18 May 2018

Ryan Pudney (centre) and the team at Mundesley Golf Club. Picture: RICHARD BATSON

Ryan Pudney (centre) and the team at Mundesley Golf Club. Picture: RICHARD BATSON

Archant

Swaffham staged Norfolk PGA’s fourth pro-am of the year last week, with Ryan Pudney claiming a narrow victory.

Eighteen teams competed in the event, which was held in bright sunshine, although a stiff wind made it a real challenge for professionals and amateurs alike.

Pudney, now back at Mundesley after a spell at Hunstanton, managed a level par 71 - and that proved just enough to land the professionals’ spoils.

Close on his heels was Matthew Gardner (Barnham Broom) who with the aid of an eagle on the 11th shot a 72 which was one better than Caroline Grady (Bawburgh Family Golf).

Gardner’s points tally from the competition lifted him to the top of the Order of Merit table but he is just two points ahead of Pudney, having played fewer events.

Ross Hudson (Wensum Valley) brought home the winning team with a super 18 under par, eight shots ahead of their nearest challengers.

Nearest the pins were John Gaskin on the third and Mick Baxter on the 16th.

Teams: 124 Ross Hudson and Steve Palmer, 132 (ocb) Joe Lambert and Scott Sealy, Tyler Crosby and Steve Morris, 132 (ocb) Matthew Gardner and Steve Lane, Les Gardner and Richard Phillips. Professionals: 71 Ryan Pudney, 72 Matthew Gardner, 73 Caroline Grady, 74 Ross Hudson and Nick Lucas (Dunston Hall).

PGA Norfolk Order of Merit (after four events): Matthew Gardner (Barnham Broom) 18, Ryan Pudney (Mundesley) 16, Ross Hudson (Wensum Valley) 13, Nic Cains (Swaffham) 12.5.

Much further afield Will Harrold was competing in the latest USPGA China Series event - and was unable to maintain a superb start to the season.

The Sheringham professional had finished second in each of two opening events on the satellite series, but it was a different story in the Haikou Championship on Hainan Island as rounds of 75 and 76 saw him miss the cut by one shot. Harrold remains fifth in the Order of Merit with over around £33,000 in prize money to his name, with the top players earning playing rights on the second tier Web.com Tour in the United States. Mundesley Golf Club is teeing off into a new era with a bag full of fresh ideas for the future.

The club is 117 years old but officials are looking forward rather than back, swinging into action with a package of initiatives as they mount a membership drive to strengthen the club for the coming decades.

And a familiar face is returning as club professional to join the campaign. Ryan Pudney, who was golf operations manager at the club from 2010 to 2017, is back as head professional after a spell at Hunstanton to coach and help introduce people to the game.

The club’s new three-year vision for stability and growth aims to increase membership and build on the nine-hole course’s flexibility to provide a challenge for golfers of all ages and abilities, said chairman Donald Stuart.

Plans include:

n New tees to create a shorter Academy course suited to beginners, juniors and seniors.

nFree golf for U18 junior members signing up for a series of lessons with the pro.

nReduced membership fees for new members.

nNew membership rates for five days and nine holes only.

nNew weekly and monthly deals for holidaymakers.

nHosting more golf society and corporate groups.

nAttractive packages for tee and corporate sponsors.

nAn improved shop with new lines.

nExtra ride-on buggies.

nImprovements to the practice area.

nDeveloping practice and coaching at the driving range on its doorstep

Pudney, who won last week’s Norfolk PGA pro-am at Swaffham with a score of 71, added: “I am delighted to be coming back to a really friendly club at an exciting time, and to be spending more time coaching which is where my heart is.”

Andrew Keates, who chairs the committee driving the vision, said: “The course is looking superb and the club is building a team who are already making a difference so more people can enjoy it.”

Committee member Mel Freakley added: “The aim is to provide a flexible and bespoke range of membership packages to suit people’s needs.”

To find out more about membership, lessons or corporate opportunities visit www.mundesleygolfclub.com or call 01263 720095.


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