Shrivenham Park duo eye Trophy glory at Gleneagles

First published in Sport

A tilt at golfing glory awaits amateur Ray Smith and his Shrivenham Park PGA professional Richard Jefferies as they bid to reach the Lombard Trophy grand final being staged at Gleneagles – just three weeks before Europe and America meet in the Ryder Cup.

Smith teed up a chance to tread the fairways of the King’s Course at the famous Scottish resort between September 3-4 when he won his club qualifying competition.

He and Jefferies now advance to the regional final at Parkstone on Thursday, July 10, where they will compete against up to 70 other clubs for the chance to secure one of 16 prized spots available for the 36-hole grand final.

Lombard, the UK’s largest asset finance provider which invests in local and regional business, has enjoyed a long association with the event, helping make it the biggest pro-am in Europe.

“We are delighted to be associated with the tournament, and wish all the regional finalists good luck as they try and win a place at Gleneagles,” said managing director of Lombard, Richard Hemsley.

“With the 2014 Ryder Cup taking place just three weeks after the Lombard Trophy, it gives the final an extra dimension with competitors able to soak up the build-up ahead of the European and American showdown.”

The tournament, now in its 30th year, attracts entries from upwards of 700 clubs across Great Britain and Ireland. Lombard originally sponsored the tournament from 1995 to 2006 before returning as headline sponsor in 2013.

The PGA National Pro-Am Championship has a total prize fund of £80,000, with the winning professional at the grand final taking home a cheque for £12,000. Ray Smith, 52, is self-employed and lives in Ashbury, Wiltshire with his wife. He plays off a handicap of seven.

Richard Jefferies, 47, has been a professional at Shrivenham Park for eight years. He played in the final Open qualifier in 1997.

Last year’s winners were PGA professional Ian Walley and amateur partner Ian Neal from Kedleston Park Golf Club in Derbyshire.

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