AS Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy begin their quest for the Green Jacket later today, four golfers from Darlington will touch down on American soil preparing for a big day out at the US Masters.
Simon Jones and Simon Calvert overcame 100 other pairings in the Cleveland Srixon Invitational at Turnberry last August to secure top spot and win an all expenses paid trip to the final day’s play at the August National.
It means that on Sunday the duo, who will be joined by fellow Darlington Golf Club members Richard Finch and Tony Madelin, could be seen in front of millions sporting extravagant Union Jack trousers while supporting the Brits in Georgia.
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“Knowing our luck, there will be no British golfers who make the cut,” said Jones, a four-handicapper. “I would love to see Ian Poulter up there, though, then we would see if he has louder trousers on than us for the final day.”
When Jones, a managing director of an engineering firm, and Calvert, the assistant pro at Darlington Golf Club, entered in to the Cleveland Srixon Pro-Am last summer they had no idea they would be preparing for a trip to Augusta.
After two rounds over The Kintyre and Ailsa courses the County Durham pair ended up seven shots ahead of their nearest rivals, courtesy of a birdie, eagle, birdie finish. “We were only one shot up going on to the 16th tee, not that Simon would know, he wouldn’t look at the leaderboard,” said Calvert, 24.
Since that success Finch and Madelin, who play off three and 16 respectively, have paid their own way to get to Augusta on the same trip to join them.
After flying down to Heathrow last night, the four will arrive in Charlotte, North Carolina later today. After a round of golf around Kentucky’s Lexington course tomorrow and then 18 holes on Oak Hill, they will head up Magnolia Lane for all the last day drama on Sunday.
“It’s the first major of the season, everybody is looking forward to it, we just can’t wait, it should be amazing,” said Jones. “The clubhouse back at Darlington will have it on and hopefully we can work our way on to the big screen somehow! It will be amazing.”
DURHAM golfer Mike Greener has been recognised as one of England Golf’s top volunteers for his contribution as a coach at club, county and national level.
Greener, who volunteers at the David Leadbetter Academy at the Wynyard Golf Club, where he is a member, was presented with the England Golf Volunteer Coach of the Year Award at an annual gala dinner. “It feels really, really good to win this award. It’s an honour, a privilege and a complete surprise,” he said.
Greener started playing golf when he was 12 and turned to coaching to put something back into the game. He is now a level 1 coach who works regularly alongside David Leadbetter coach Andrew Nicholson in a number of roles.
He supports the development of the Leadbetter academy. He helps with the administration of the development programmes for the Durham county men’s squads and attends county matches to assist in the evaluation of squad performance.