Slattery victory highlights importance of EuroPro Tour

Slattery victory highlights importance of EuroPro Tour

October 18th, 2011

Lee Slattery has joined an ever-expanding list of former PGA EuroPro Tour players that have risen to the heights of European Tour winner.

His maiden victory in Spain this month at the Bankia Madrid Masters saw him join the likes of Ryder Cup player Ross Fisher, Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and BMW PGA Championship winner Simon Khan, who have all made the transition from European golf’s leading developmental tour.

Slattery’s success has reinforced the PGA EuroPro’s status as the perfect environment for aspiring young professionals as well as leading amateurs, who have an eye on the paid ranks, to hone their competitive skills.

Slattery (pictured playing on the tour in 2002) was a regular on the EuroPro Tour from 2002 to 2004 and gradually progressed each year finishing 76th in the Order of Merit in 2002 and 38th in 2003.

However, his breakthrough year came in 2004 won he won at Marriott Goodwood Park and Stoke-by-Nayland with further top ten finishes at Quinta Da Ria, Morley Hayes, Tudor Park and Cardrona.

That left him in third in the money list, although he had only played in ten of the 18 events but it was enough to see him advance to the Challenge Tour.

He played on the Challenge Tour until 2010 where he moved on to the European Tour and this victory in Spain not only won him more than €165,000 but also lifted him into the top 170 in the world rankings.

Founded in 2001, the EuroPro Tour is a partnership between the PGA and Matchroom Sport and has proven a fertile breeding ground for players seeking to strive to reach the top of the game.

It also rewarding for the successful players with this year’s Order of Merit winner Chris Hanson having banked more than £37,000.

He has also secured his place on the Challenge Tour, as did the rest of the top five, which proves an enticing carrot for many of the players on the Tour.

With the fierce standard of competition on the European Tour getting ever stronger, PGA chief executive Sandy Jones believes the EuroPro Tour is more vital than ever.

“Players are better coached than ever before but it is the ability to translate that into results which will decide which make it through to the very highest level and the PGA EuroPro Tour is invaluable in giving aspiring golfers the chance to test themselves at a very high standard of competition,” said Jones.

Barry Hearn, the chairman of Matchroom Sport, highlighted the benefits of the tour in a PGA Yearbook interview.

“A look at our membership shows that it is mostly young golfers competing which is what I and Sandy Jones wanted,” said Hearn.

“We always felt there was a gap in the market and Sandy has to be praised for his foresight.

“The PGA EuroPro Tour allows players to work at their craft and enable the young players coming through a taste of life on tour and a way to work through the ranks.

“Some players take their opportunity, as we have seen over the years.

“The PGA EuroPro Tour is a feeder tour to not only the Challenge Tour but also the European Tour, which is what we set out to do.”

Among the other notable players to graduate from its ranks are Graeme Storm, Marc Warren, Richard Finch and John Parry.

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