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Rockliffe Hall chosen as host of English Senior Open
A NORTH-EAST golf resort has been chosen to host one of Europe’s best known golf tournaments this autumn.
Rockliffe Hall, in Hurworth near Darlington, will welcome an array of golfing legends when it hosts the English Senior Open from October 4 to 6.
The tournament attracts big names from the golfing world such as Roger Chapman and Carl Mason as well as former Ryder Cup players.
Up to 10,000 spectators are expected to attend the event which will be the biggest golf tournament of its kind to be held in the North-East for many years and follows the region’s recent success in hosting The Ashes.
Nick Holmes, managing director of Rockliffe Hall, said it was a great coup for Rockliffe and for the region.
He said: “We would expect that spectators will be in their tens of thousands, so in that sense we have never done anything that attracts those kinds of numbers before.
“But there is an element of taking it in our stride; over the last four years we have increasingly held many high profile events and for the rest of the venue it will be business as usual.”
Mr Holmes said it had always been Rockliffe’s ambition to host a major golf tournament and it was credit to all at the venue that it has happened within four years of the course opening.
He added: “One of the big challenges that providers like the European Tour find is the loss of tournaments from the UK to overseas.
“They are very keen to maintain a foothold and us being able to call this the English Senior Open is a great thing for us and for the region.”
George Griffith, consultant and staging manager for the European Tour, said Rockliffe Hall was an obvious choice for the English leg of the tournament.
He added: “Rockliffe Hall is in a league of its own to be honest.
“The establishment in general is most probably the best I have ever seen incorporating hotel and leisure facilities; it is the perfect site, of that there is no doubt, and the fact that we are coming here underlines what they have achieved in a short time.”
The venue will also host the event in 2014 and could do so further into the future.
Mr Griffith said: “This is a two-year contract with ongoing options and I have no doubt at all that it will be successful here and it will be staged here for a considerable number of years.”
The European Senior Tour - which has a prize fund of £200,000 - is for professional golfers over 50 and its 2013 membership includes 13 former Ryder Cup players.
Colin Montgomerie, who recently turned 50, is one of the big names organisers hope will be taking part next year.
Highlights of this October’s tournament will be shown on Sky television.
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