Thursday, 16 October 2014


A retired consulting engineer from Burry Port will be the elder statesman in the Golfplan Insurance PGA Pro-Captain Challenge final in Turkey.

PGA Professional Martin Stimson (right) and club captain Martin Hale (left). Picture courtesy of Scott Heavey at Getty Images

Ashburnham captain Martin Hale, 73, qualified to play in the showpiece after partnering his club’s PGA Professional Martin Stimson to victory in the regional qualifier at Bowood.

The life-long Scarlets fan nailed the decisive blow, hitting a nett eagle on the 16th hole to take the pair two shots clear of closest challengers Chris Gill and Brian Anderson from Newquay.

He and Stimson will now tee up for the Canopius-supported event, which will take place over the PGA Sultan Course at Antalya Golf Club on November 26-27 and carries a total prize fund of £25,000.

It will not be a first golfing appearance on foreign soil for the proud Welshman, who frequently travels to France to play golf with friends.

But he has never before played the game in Turkey, having previously visited the country’s Mediterranean coast once on holiday.

“I don’t know too much about the course, but I have done a bit of research on the internet since we qualified,” Hale, who plays off a handicap of 10, admitted.

“In the UK I tend to play mainly at Ashburnham, but I do enjoy going abroad to play.

“I like golf courses in France - we go over there quite a lot. There is something really nice about the French courses.

“I don’t think experiences like that necessarily give any advantages when it comes to going over to Turkey though.

“I never really feel too confident going into tournaments, but I’m sure Martin will have a good couple of days and we’ll be okay.”

PGA Professional Stimson has represented Ashburnham for the last seven years, having rejoined the club he completed his training with in the nineties.

He is the first pro in the club’s history to represent the Carmarthenshire venue in the Pro-Captain Challenge, and is relishing the opportunity.

“I’m definitely more of a club pro than a playing professional, and really enjoy spending my time here at Ashburnham,” he explained.

“I’ve been here a while now, I originally learned my trade at the Ash and I want to do well for the club out in Turkey.

“I’ll have a chat with Martin before we fly out but I know he’ll be great. We just need to repeat the kind of performance we put in at Bowood and we’ll have every chance.”


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