Ganton’s Smith and Brown fly to Virgin Atlantic success

Ganton's Gary Brown
Ganton's Gary Brown
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A Scarborough holiday home operator was handed a surprise trip to Mexico after winning the Virgin Atlantic PGA National Pro-am qualifier at Fulford Golf Club.

Amateur David Smith, of Ganton Golf Club, teamed up with PGA Professonal Gary Brown for the event at the York venue.

The pair carded a nine under par round of 63 but did not feel it was good enough to win and went home.

But they tied for the top of the leaderboard with Darren Pearce and David Parkinson, of Durham’s Barnard Castle Golf Club, and Andrew Rhodes and Jamie McGee of Keighley.

And it was the Ganton duo who won on countback as they finished their round with three birdies.

Now former winner Brown will get the chance to repeat his 2004 triumph in the event when it was held at San Lorenzo in Portugal.

The pair will now play in the SkyCaddie and BMW supported £30,000 final which will be held at the Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort at Cancun in Mexico in December.

Moon Palace is home to a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf course where 16 PGA professional and amateur teams will contest the event.

But Smith admitted news of his win came out of the blue.

Smith, 59, who plays off an handicap of 10, said: “We felt someone would beat us to it, we thought there’d be an 11 under par score, so we went home.

“Gary went back to Ganton and gave a couple of lessons.

“But he had to cut the second one short when it became clear we’d won.

“He phoned me and I was relaxing watching cricket and drinking a glass of wine.

“It was a nice surprise to pick up the phone and hear I was going to Mexico.

“So it became a celebratory glass of wine.

“Gary played superbly and has been giving me tips on my game which came in handy. But I missed a couple of putts and we just didn’t think we’d done enough at the time.”

Brown added: “I couldn’t see us holding on and felt our chances were slim at best. So I went back to the club only to rush back when I heard the result.

“I couldn’t believe it. And neither could David.

“He played very well. But I thought we needed a birdie, birdie, eagle to finish with. We got three birdies but that proved to be enough.

“I won this event eight years ago but it’s changed a lot since then with the final being in Mexico.”