The region’s reigning Order of Merit champion Jamie Brittain (pictured) will have at least one more tournament to mount a successful defence of his title following the addition of a fourth event to the 2020 schedule.
The quartet of Order of Merit tournaments features one new event – the Morley Hayes Championship, a revival – the Midland Open, which will be sponsored by Oakmere Golf Club, plus two established ones – the Glazerite Trophy and PGA Midland Professionals’ Championship.
Of the two established tournaments, the latter, which was first contested in 1897, is understood to be the oldest professional event in the world.
The Glazerite Trophy has some catching up to do by contrast but this year will be the 15th that John Hewitt’s Northamptonshire-based company has sponsored the event.
All of which means that, the PGA Midland Professionals’ Championship excepted, the Glazerite Trophy is the region’s longest running continuous event by some distance.
Commenting on the Glazerite’s support, PGA Midlands regional manager James Brown said: “We are indebted to John Hewitt and his company for their ongoing support and generosity. To sponsor an event for 15 years is exceptional – not many sporting events can match that longevity of support.”
The 36-hole Order of Merit tournament on July 9 will be followed by the popular Glazerite Trophy Pro-Am and, as ever, both will be staged at Wellingborough Golf Club where the palatial clubhouse is complemented by the challenging course.
At the other end of the age spectrum the new tournament, the Morley Hayes Championship, will be staged in the east of the region, as will the Midland Open, which returns to the schedule after a two-year absence.
The 36-hole Morley Hayes Championship carries a £10,000 prize fund, features a pro playing in tandem with an amateur, and will kick off the Order of Merit programme on May 5 and 6.
The event is designed to showcase the venue which stands a handful of miles north of Derby and features a championship course, four-star hotel, extensive coaching facilities and driving range.
“There’s a championship golf course here and it was felt it was time to hold a championship event on it,” said James Whatley, the head PGA Professional.
“I was asked my opinion as to what the best event would be and I felt a pro and amateur Midland Order of Merit tournament would be the right formula.
“It’s all about showcasing the venue – the four-star hotel, championship course and driving range.”
The Oakmere Midland Open is also designed to showcase the Nottinghamshire venue and the alterations to the facility’s Admirals course undertaken by renowned golf course architects Mackenzie and Ebert.
Commenting on the sponsorship, Oakmere director of golf and PGA Professional Daryl St John-Jones said: “We firmly believe our course now compares favourably with all the highly-regarded ones in the region. In fact, seven of the holes on the Admirals course stand comparison with anywhere else.
“So now that the work here is complete we want to raise the club’s profile.
“To that end we feel having the best pros in the region play here in one of their foremost events will do that, especially as they will be playing with an amateur.
“We hope the players, both pros and amateurs, will return to their clubs and tell their friends and contacts that playing Oakmere is not to be missed.”
The Midland Open will have a minimum prize find of £10,000 and its restoration will take the number of Order of Merit events in the region back to four.
Brown added: “We’re in the process of firming up the venue for the PGA Midland Professionals’ Championship and there’s a possibility we will add a fifth Order of Merit tournament to the programme.
“In addition, we are hopeful of adding at least three more pro-ams to what is already a challenging schedule.”
The PGA Midlands 2020 tournament schedule can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.