Video: Former Norwich City footballer Dean Ashton a hit on the golf course

It may be a hole new ball game for former Norwich City striker Dean Ashton – but he's proving a cut above at golf too.

The 28-year-old ex-England player is currently leading the Race to Turnberry order of merit – a county-wide series of events for players with or without handicaps – following his win around his home course of Barnham Broom.

Forty-three players took part in the Norwich-based Golf Days UK event with Ashton handling the atrocious weather conditions the best to card 37 Stableford points off a � handicap of five.

'Both me and my brother-in-law decided to go on and see how we get on throughout the year and have a bit of banter and a bit of competition between ourselves,' explained Ashton, who made 46 appearances for the Canaries.

'The weather was horrible. It was raining for most of the front nine, three or four holes of the back nine and then it eased off and was a bit windy then.

'I think I was one over gross for the front nine. I birdied the first, which was a nice way to start.'

Ashton's will to win is as strong as ever and admits golf has helped partly fill the void created by his retirement from football through an ankle injury.

Most Read

As an FA Cup final runner-up with West Ham, Ashton is used to handling the big occasion but admits to being more nervous on the first tee than striding out at Wembley.

'I wouldn't have entered if I didn't want to win. Once I finished football golf has given me so much in terms of being competitive at something else,' said Ashton, who regularly smashes the ball 250 yards with his driver. 'I absolutely love football and loved winning and I am like that in any other kind of sport including golf.

'It will never replace that but it has certainly given me something to focus on and get better at.'

Ashton is clearly no hacker but any thoughts of turning pro, like former West Ham player Julian Dicks. could not be further from his mind.

'No, no, no, I can barely handle the pressure of a Sunday medal let alone doing anything like that. It's totally different, I've never felt so nervous in my life than when I'm standing on the first tee.

'I'd much prefer to play for England than hit one off the first tee. I always get nervous around short putts too.'

Ashton now joins Great Yarmouth and Caister member Josh Brooks at the top of the leaderboard with 104 points after three events.

Nick Barrett, Ashton's brother-in-law and member of Barnham Broom, lies just behind the top two with 102 points. Joining Dean in the prizes at Barnham Broom was second place Peter Ogden, a scratch golfer who scored 34 points in his first Golf Days UK event.

The main prize up for grabs on the tour is a trip to Turnberry Resort, Scotland, to experience golf on the Ailsa course – an Open Championship venue.

The prize will go to the player with the five best scores over the 10 events and the runner up will bag a set of custom-fit irons supplied by Chris Potter Golf of Blofield.

The next opportunity to get a score on the board in the Race to Turnberry is Friday, May 25, at Royal Norwich Golf Club with tee times from 2pm. To enter phone 01603 505533 or you can sign up online at www.golfdaysuk.co.uk