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Nolan strikes it rich to book final spot

NORTH Sea oil rig worker Andy Nolan gave himself an early birthday present by booking a place at the Lombard Trophy final in Portugal.

Nolan partnered Dukinfield Golf Club PGA professional David Green as the Manchester pairing won the regional qualifying event at Sandiway Golf Club in Cheshire.

They carded an eight-under-par round of 62 to tie at the top of the leaderboard with Graham Lisle and Gary Robson of Carlisle Golf Club. But the Dukinfield duo claimed victory with an impressive back nine, coming home in 29.

Green and Nolan now travel to Portugal for the £41,450, Coca-Cola and Pestana Resorts supported, National Pro-Am grand final which will be played at the Vila Sol resort in the Algarve between September 20-21.

And it was almost perfect timing for Moston-based Nolan, who plays off a handicap of 14.

“I was turning 40 three days after the event, so that worked out as a nice birthday present,” he said.

“My job involves working on the offshore North Sea oil rigs, two weeks on and at home for two weeks.

“I don’t get any chance to play golf when I’m away of course, but I’ll be making sure I’m off for the Portugal final. I have two weeks of work and two weeks of golf!

“We played very solidly all the way through. I put my penny’s worth in too and we had a giggle on the way round to keep us going.

“I’ve been having lessons off David and it was well worth it to get me this far.

“I only took up golf four years ago when I started going to the club with my dad who’s a member at Dukinfield.”

Green, who won the 2011 PGA Pro-Captain Final, will be taking part in his first PGA National Pro-Am showpiece.

“We knew that 29 on the back nine was pretty solid, we’d posted it fairly early and our only real concern was if someone came in with a nine-under-par score but it didn’t happen,” he explained.

“Andy had two nett birdies and I had three in a row on the back nine. But I bogeyed the ninth hole and I said we needed a good back nine after that, it woke us up.”

Photo: David Green and amateur Andy Nolan. Photo by Clint Hughes (Getty Images).