Byron to host PGA Seniors Championships
By STEVE SPINKS
BYRON BAY was yesterday confirmed as the host for the 2007 Australian PGA Seniors Championships from December 9-11.
As exclusively revealed in Saturday's Northern Star, the tourist town was offered the event by NSW PGA executive officer Melville Proud last Friday.
However, the club only ratified the PGA proposal at a meeting on Monday night.
Club captain Mark Wilson, who will be the tournament director, is ecstatic the event will be held at Byron. "It's all locked in and there will be a minimum prizemoney of $65,000," he said.
"It's fantastic for the club and fantastic for our members and we're very happy.
"The offers for monetary assistance are already starting to come in."
As part of the deal, the Byron Bay club will have to provide most of the prizemoney with some assistance from the PGA.
Wilson is hoping that the club can organise more than the $65,000 minimum.
The Byron course has started to attract attention after a gradual upgrade over the past five years.
The par 72 layout is 6303 metres long and requires accurate driving of the ball with tall gums and newly formed dams lining the fairways.
Proud is excited at the prospect of hosting the event on the Far North Coast.
"We enjoy holding events in areas where there is not a lot of big tournament golf," he said.
"The community support is fantastic and I know the area will enjoy seeing some of Australia's golfing legends tee it up."
The Australian PGA Seniors Championship has an impressive list of past winners including defending champion Terry Gale (1997 & 2006), Bill Dunk (1989 & 1995), Mike Ferguson (2002 & 2004), Noel Ratcliffe (2001) and US PGA Champions Tour member, Tom Purtzer (2005).
The tournament will be played over 54 holes.
Nominations will open for amateur golfers at the end of the week.
Amateurs will be able to play two rounds with the seniors before the professionals tee it up for the final day of the Championships on the Sunday.