EX-RYDER Cup player Des Smyth beat Torrance, Woosnam and Rocca in a special Ryder Cup shoot-out to mark the launch of the De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship at a stunning Northumberland resort.
The De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship boasted one of the strongest fields seen on the European Tour in recent seasons, with a total of 11Ryder Cup stars teeing up at Slaley Hall.
The championship, competed for over the Hunting Course, has been closely contested by some of the biggest names in European Senior golf in recent years, and this year’s field was another fantastic showcase of golf in the North East.
The 10 Ryder Cup players, including two former captains, Ian Woosnam and Sam Torrance, double Major winner Sandy Lyle, and charismatic Ryder Cup hero Costantino Rocca, headlined the field with 35 Ryder Cup appearances between them.
To mark the start of the event, the Ryder Cup players gathered for a special shoot-out from the terrace in front of Slaley Hall’s luxury hotel. Firing shots 98 yards towards the 18th green of the Hunting course, the shoot-out was a light-hearted and competitive way to launch the 2010 Championship.
Ireland’s Des Smyth eventually emerged victorious after beating Eamonn Darcy in the final, firing the winning shot to 10ft.
It marked an enjoyable evening reminiscing about past Ryder Cup encounters. The shoot-out marked the start of what promised to be a great week of championship golf.
Sam Torrance, captain of the victorious 2002 Ryder Cup team, said: “It is always good fun to look back at some of the great Ryder Cup occasions that we were all fortunate enough to be involved in.
“We have so many great players on the Seniors Tour and an evening like this really brings that home. The standard is fantastic and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the guys involved tonight is at the top of the leader board on Sunday afternoon.”
Newest addition to the Seniors Tour, Barry Lane, turned 50 just three days before the start of the PGA Seniors Championship, making his debut at Slaley Hall.
“This is a fantastic event to kick off my Senior Tour career and I’m really looking forward to getting started,” said Lane.
“The course looks in fantastic condition and the shoot-out has been a great way to ease me into the atmosphere of this tour. There were some great shots played into the green and if the standard of the tournament is anything like this then I’ll need to be at the top of my game to compete over the weekend.”
The 2010 De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship marks the third consecutive year that the event has been held over the Hunting Course at De Vere Slaley Hall.
The 2008 event saw Gordon J Brand eventually triumph after a thrilling six-hole play-off with Gordon Brand Jnr and in 2009, Carl Mason, one of the most successful players in European Senior Tour history clinched his fifth PGA Seniors title.
And our competition winner of the PGA competition featured in the June issue of Golf North East, Gordon Temple from Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club, along with his wife Susan and friend Ronnie Day, all enjoyed a fantastic day at Slaley Hall.
Gordon said: “I can’t thank Golf North East enough. For the price of a stamp, this has been the best golfing day I have had and it’s one that I will never forget.”