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Whirlwind start for Licata

 

Giuseppe Licata is enjoying a whirlwind season in his dual role as the new club professional at Filton, where he first hit a golf ball, and as this year’s captain of the PGA in the West and Wales, writes Peter Godsiff.

His next big moment will be his captain’s charity pro-am at Filton on May 10 that has already attracted 25 teams.

He hopes the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Bristol’s excellent new Southmead Hospital will benefit by several thousand pounds.  He, his wife Kristina and elder daughter Aria appreciate his chosen charity every time they think about  six-year-old daughter Alaina.

When she was born she spent her first eight days clinging for life in an incubator at the hospital’s intensive care unit with major heart and breathing difficulties.

“They do amazing work and save so many lives,” he said.

Players at the Asbri PGA Cornish Festival started the fund with donations on the first tee. A number of events are planned for the season.

He is playing a nine-hole challenge against Bristol and Clifton professional Paul Mitchell, Ryder Cup player Chris Wood’s original coach, and members of both clubs.

But his own golf has suffered. He was favourite to win the Gloucester and Somerset PGA Order of Merit for the third winter season in succession but has reduced his schedule.

Now Cirencester’s Ed Goodwin looks the likely winner after his late burst of success.

Licata also missed a playing visit to Florida at the PGA National course at Sawgrass. Clevedon’s Ashley Mansell stepped in – “the best playing appearance of my life,” he said – as he handed over a flag from the famous 17th green as a prize for one of Licata’s fundraisers.