Region’s stars are set for Royal Cromer Golf Club challenge

Chase Davis celebrates his ace.

Chase Davis celebrates his ace. - Credit: Archant

Royal Cromer Golf Club is gearing up for a big week with a top PGA event being staged at the course on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Royal Cromer 125th Anniversary Championship, sponsored by Marstons Beer Company and boasting a £10,000 prize fund, is the first of the East Region's order of merit events this year. Barrie Trainor, the Irish PGA champion in 2011 and third last year, is expected to make a big impact in the series, starting with his debut at Cromer.

He qualified for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth through the Titleist PGA play-offs in Turkey last October. He will also be playing in the Irish Open at Carton House, County Kildare at the end of next month.

Trainor was appointed a coach at Old Joe's Golf Range near Sudbury in January and teaches twice a week at Thetford Golf Club. He will not have had an opportunity for a practice round at Cromer but is looking forward to settling down in the region.

Last year's runaway winner of the East Region order of merit, Jason Levermore, will not be defending his title this year. He has taken an appointment as head professional at Channels Golf Club in Essex and is putting club commitments first.

Nevertheless it is a strong field at Cromer. Another newcomer is Nick Pateman, a first year assistant at Pinner Hill Golf Club, who has been playing on the Europro Tour and is a former Hertfordshire amateur champion. He underlined his credentials by winning the Middlesex PGA championship this month.

Norfolk PGA is well represented. Lee Patterson, head professional at Royal Cromer, will know the course better than most while former assistant, Ryan Pudney now at Mundesley, will fancy his chances. Ian Ellis (Costessey Park), Michael Few (Weston Park) and Jason Groat (Denver GC) have all been showing good form while former Norfolk county amateur Chase Davismight surprise them all. He is assistant at Stapleford Abbotts near Romford and made a big impression in the Essex Open at Chelmsford. He lost out by one shot to Lloyd Kennedy, who held a European Tour card last year, in the Open after a best-of-day second round of 65.

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Davis won the pro-am the following day, beating Kennedy into joint second place. He cemented his win with a hole in one at the 157-yard final hole, the fourth ace of his career.

• Last weekend saw a major open competition, the Gold Coast Cup, held at Royal Cromer in glorious sunshine. Players from across the region competed over 36 holes of stroke play for prizes and this famous cup. The winner was James Ollington from Great Yarmouth and Caister who won with a net 138, winning on count back. Royal Cromer members figured well with Mark Williamson and Alex Brackley coming second and third respectively.

Williamson won the prize for the best scratch score with two excellent rounds of par golf and hence a gross 144. The winner of the net prize in the morning was Pip Webster with a net 67 and Alex Carter, also from Royal Cromer, won the afternoon with a 68. All the winners went to great lengths to praise the state of the course.