Frilford Heath Golf Club welcomes the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour this week as Europe’s best young professionals prepare to compete in the third Buildbase Open.
The Championship venue in Abingdon has been a long-term partner of the Tour, staging its final stage qualifiers for over a decade. Frilford hosted its first main-season event in 2012, and has continued to do so since with this year’s Buildbase Open taking place on the Blue Course.
Last year’s winner Harry Bateman will return to defend his crown. The New Zealander claimed his first title at this level when he finished -12 for his three rounds at Frilford last June.
Among the local names to look out for is Frilford Heath’s own Tom Fleming, who plays his first HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour event of the season, and Headington’s Adam Wootton, a EuroPro regular who played at The Open in 2011 and finished tied sixth at Cumberwell Park last week. Welshman Liam Bond will be confident of success having led the field at European Tour First Stage Qualifying at Frilford Heath in each of the last two years.
Garrick Porteous, the 2013 Amateur Champion, plays his second HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour event of the season at Frilford Heath. He left the amateur ranks behind after competing in The Masters at Augusta in April and claimed his first pro title in the EuroPro’s FSC Invitational two weeks ago.
Also competing is Stiggy Hodgson, a former Walker Cup star who won the HotelPlanner.com Championship at Cumberwell Park in Wiltshire after a three-way play-off last week.
The Buildbase Open carries a £40,000 prize fund with the winner receiving £10,000, which is crucial money to add to the Order of Merit from which the top five at the end of the season are rewarded with Challenge Tour categories for 2015.
The 54-hole strokeplay event sees 168 of Europe’s best young golfers competing, with a cut to the top 50 players and ties to be made after the second round on Thursday (June 26).
The final round will be filmed for a two-hour highlights package to be broadcast on Sky Sports on July 8 and spectator entry is free throughout the week.
Daniel Godding, Director of Operations at the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour said: “Frilford Heath is a long-standing and great supporter of the EuroPro Tour and I always look forward to our event there.
“The Blue Course, as well as their Red Course which we use in qualifying, is undoubtedly one of the best courses in the South of England. In our first two main-season events we have seen close finishes with a play-off in 2012 and the lead chopping and changing throughout the final round last year.
“The quality of the golf played on the EuroPro Tour has improved yet again this year and I have no doubt that spectators will be treated to some excellent action at Frilford Heath.”