Longhirst Golf Club duo set sights on Gleneagles glory

Carl Nicholls, PGA professional at Longhirst
Carl Nicholls, PGA professional at Longhirst

Steven Smiles and his Longhirst PGA professional Carl Nicholls are one step away from following in the footsteps of Europe’s Ryder Cup heroes with an appearance in the Lombard Trophy final at Gleneagles.

Smiles teed up a chance to tread the fairways of the PGA Centenary Course, venue for the dramatic matchplay win over the United States last year, between September 1-2 when he won his club qualifying competition with a nett score of 75.

He and Nicholls now advance to the regional final at Fulford Golf Club on July 2, where they will compete against up to 70 other clubs for the chance to secure one of 16 prized spots available for the 36-hole grand final.

Steven Smiles, is a 54-year-old financial advisor from Stakeford.

He has been playing golf for 30 years and plays off a handicap of six.

Nicholls, 36, has been a professional at Longhirst for two years.

The tournament attracts entries from upwards of 700 clubs across Great Britain and Ireland.

The PGA National Pro-Am Championship has a total prize fund of £80,000, with the winning professional at the grand final taking home a cheque for £12,000.

Ian Isaac, head of sales at Lombard, said: “After a record number of entries in 2014, this year’s Lombard Trophy promises to be another exciting competition.

“It’s great to once again be working with the PGA to offer the opportunity for professional and amateur golfers to play some fantastic courses.

“The competition culminates at Gleneagles, which proved itself a fantastic venue for last year’s Ryder Cup and which offers a great incentive for this year’s participants.”

Last year’s winners were PGA Professional Richard O’Hanlon and amateur partner Andy Jones from St Kew Golf Club in Cornwall.