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All to play for in PGA North season

PGA North is on course for its most successful season in years with a packed calendar running from early spring to late autumn.

Top of the list are five 36-hole tournaments counting for the Michael Slater Memorial Order of Merit from which the top three will qualify for the national PGA Play-offs.

The first ranking event is the PGA North Region Championship at the end of May, which moves to its new home, Cumbria club Carus Green.

Next up, in July at Moortown, is the iconic Leeds Cup, professional golf’s oldest trophy, which is celebrating its 100th staging.

The Manchester Open, inaugurated in 2002, will tee off for the eighth time at Manchester’s Marriott Worsley Park in late August followed in mid-September by the James Brearley Lancashire Open at Blackpool North Shore.

To complete the set, the resort’s Herons’ Reach, a regular home of the North Region Championship, keeps in the loop by hosting the PGA North Tour Championship, which is a new event in early October.

There will be Pro-Ams at all five venues.

Assistant professionals are also well catered for with a record seven events with at least one in each county.

Spreading throughout the campaign are 21 Pro-Ams. One of the best supported is expected to be England’s Golf Coast Pro-Am played over three days at West Lancs, Formby and Royal Birkdale in April and is open to the whole country.

Meanwhile, Humberside club Cottingham returns to the fold after a year’s break to rejoin hardly annuals the Brough Classic and Aberdovey and Royal St David’s, each run over two days. Once again there are also “ladies only” Pro-Ams at Brough and Chester-based club Eaton, the latter looking to increase their fields this season.

PGA North secretary Graham Maly said: “As always we have attempted to add new playing opportunities across our broad spectrum of members.

“We have secured continued sponsorship from James Brearley, Mansell Finishes, Worsley Park, Carus Green, Stewart Golf & Raa Putters with some new backing which should make this year one of the most successful to date.”

MAIN RANKING EVENTS – May 29-31: PGA North Region Championship (Carus Green); July 27-31: Leeds Cup Centenary Competition (Moortown); Aug 25-26: Manchester Open (Marriott Worsley Park); Sept 14-16: James Brearley Lancashire Open (Blackpool North Shore); Oct 6-8: PGA North Tour Championship (Herons Reach).

ASSISTANTS – May 6: Assistants’ Championship of Yorkshire (Ilkley); June 5: Assistants’ Championship of Cheshire (High Legh Park); July 14: Sue Wright Trophy (Helsby); July 24: Assistants’ Championship of Lancs (Bolton); Aug 18: Assistants’ Championship of NE/NW; Sept 1-2: Harold Lees Trophy (Dore & Totley); Oct 2: Inter-County Assistants’ Matchplay Championship (Wilmslow).