HUDDERSFIELD trio Chris Hanson, Robert Kershaw and Warren Lockett can have a say in the destination of the Yorkshire PGA order of merit, backed by Yorkshire Bank, as the last two counting events come up.
Hanson and Kershaw go in the Leeds Golf Car-Yorkshire Masters to be staged at Bridlington Links on Monday.
While former Lightcliffe pro Kershaw, based at Mirfield Driving Range, and Huddersfield-based Lockett, the Cleckheaton professional, have reached the semi-finals of of the Yorkshire PGA Matchplay championship which carries merit table points. The semi-finals and final will be decided at Alwoodley on dates to be fixed.
Lindrick’s John King, winner of the Yorkshire PGA Strokeplay at Willow Valley in June, leads the order of merit but misses the Classic, as does third-placed Adrian Ambler.
North Region PGA champion Alex Belt, attached at the host club and second in the merit list, is strongly fancied along with Nick Ludwell, the North Region order of merit champion and the only one of the top men in the Yorkshire title chase to have made the last four of the matchplay.
Hanson could scuttle lots of plans at Bridlington Links.
He finished second there in the Links Challenge in early season when he hit every green in regulation and shot eight under par.
“If I hit it as well as I did in the final round of the Europro Tour Championship I could go 10 under at Bridlington – the greens are bound to be better than they were for the Links Challenge,” said the Crosland Heath man, who himself has an outside chance of the merit title, currently standing seventh.
Hanson shot level par 72 on the last day of the Europro Tour Championship at Les Bordes, a couple of hours south-west of Paris and which has been voted the best course on the Continent alongside Valderrama in Southern Spain.
“It’s pretty flat but with trees and water everywhere. There are 18 birdie chances but also 18 double bogies if you miss the right areas. One bad shot can kill you,” said Hanson, who opened on 76 then fell foul of the course on day two to run up an 83 to dash his hopes of a top place.
Kershaw has excelled in advancing to the last four of the matchplay. He got past Martin Padgett, from Flaxby Park, by 4&2 in the quarter-finals to set up a meeting with Lockett, who advanced by one hole against Andy Rhodes, from Keighley.
Ludwell, who ousted the defending champion Ambler (Walton Golf Centre) by 2&1, takes on Aran Wainwright, who has an attachment at Ludwell’s club and who reached the last four with a 2&1 win over Knaresborough’s Andy Turner.
Wainwright was top Yorkshire finisher in the Europro Tour Championship.
From a playing point of view, Ludwell can be rated the top club pro in England after finishing third in the Srixon PGA Play-offs at Royal Liverpool – behind two Scots.
He is already in next season’s BMW Championship at Wentworth after winning the North Region order of merit and his third spot at Hoylake, where he picked up £1,200 for his 36-hole 143 total, earned him places in the English, Irish and Scottish Opens as well as invitations to all Challenge Tour fixtures played in the UK in 2009.
Also in action in the Masters will be Longley Park’s John Ambler and Willow Valley duo Daren Rands and Lee Shepherd.
Yorkshire Bank-Yorkshire PGA Order of Merit leaders after four of six events: 290.5pts - J King (Lindrick). 288.35 - A Belt (Bridlington Links). 282 - A Ambler (Walton GC). 275 - N Ludwell (Selby); S Barber (Waterton Park). 225 - J Wells (Cherry Burton). 218 - C Hanson (Crosland Heath). 207.5 - L Turner (Scalm Park). 206.5 - F Kelley (Malton & Norton). 200 - D Denison (Howley Hall).