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King of clubs

 

Cornwall-based Richard O’Hanlon hailed the club-making skills of Brocton Hall head PGA Professional Nevil Bland after finishing tied-first in the club’s 125th anniversary pro-am, writes Adrian Milledge.

O’Hanlon, who is attached to St Kew Golf Club near Wadebridge, is a regular competitor in PGA Midlands events. Not least the Brocton Hall pro-am, the club where he was a PGA Assistant under Bland’s predecessor Bob Johnson.

He feared for his participation in this year’s event, however, after discovering his sand wedge was broken following a practice session at the Robert Rock Academy en route to the Staffordshire venue.

O’Hanlon, who finished level with Matt Cort on three-under-par, explained: “I was warming up before my tee time when my sand wedge shaft snapped under the grip.

“I had about 40 minutes to spare so I took the club to Nevil to see if could repair it or had a sand wedge I could borrow.

“But he did better than that – he’s got a huge array of spare shafts and had an exact replacement and grip.

“I couldn’t have played without the sand wedge – Nevil’s definitely the number one club-fitter.”

Bland, one of the world’s top 100 club-makers, added: “I reshafted the club with fast-setting epoxy and returned it to him when he was on the first tee.

“The first shot he hit with the sand wedge almost went into the hole!

“As Richard said in his winner’s speech, there was only one club in the country he could have received that service.”

Meanwhile, Bland praised the weather-defying efforts of PGA Midlands and Brocton Hall staff as well the band of volunteers that ensured the pro-am was completed.

He added: There was a time on the day before where we considered cancelling the event due to the forecast but, as Matt Rowley from the PGA pointed out, that would be a major debacle if the weather turned out to be slightly better than expected and some people would turn up anyway.

“So huge thanks to Matt, Andy and Mike from the PGA, our staff and volunteers who spent hours squeegeeing the greens without any breaks for food.

“This was the 16th year I’ve run the Pro-Am and many times I’m asked if I see the PGA’s involvement as good value for money – we’ve had a couple of bad weather days in all that time and I can honestly say that on these days especially, they are as professional as anyone in the Association.”