HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour: Celtic Manor ready for season opener

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The 2015 HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour season gets underway on Wednesday at Celtic Manor Resort with a record number of members vying to earn promotion to the Challenge Tour at the end of the season.

A field of 168 players will tee it up in the opening event, played over 54 holes on the Montgomerie Course. The World Snooker Open marks the start of an exciting summer on Europe’s leading development tour.

Prize money has been increased by 25% for each event, meaning golfers now compete for a share of £50,000 with the winner taking home £10,000 – which is also crucial currency on the all-important Order of Merit, from which the top five graduate at the end of the season. For the first time on Europe’s third tier, a four-round event will take place with the Clipper Logistics Players Championship at Moor Allerton in August.

A stunning schedule of some of the UK’s best course has been assembled for 2015, with the likes of Prince’s, Close House and Chart Hills welcoming the tour, which begins on the Montgomerie Course at one of Wales’ finest and most renowned golf venues, Celtic Manor.

Matthew Southgate, a player with plenty of European Tour experience, is among a field which includes a number of former winners on the EuroPro Tour. Pennard Golf Club’s James Frazer, who finished 14th on last season’s Order of Merit, leads the local interest while Scotsman Chris Robb joins the professional ranks on the back of a decorated amateur career, and 2013 Walker Cup player Jordan Smith are ones to watch throughout the season.

The event is a 54-hole strokeplay tournament beginning on Wednesday, May 13. The final round, played on Friday, May 15, will be filmed to be shown in a two-hour highlights package on Sky Sports on Tuesday, May 26.

Daniel Godding, Director of Operations at the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour said: “As proven by having our first event at Celtic Manor, we provide a testing schedule now for the professionals, far more testing than it has ever been before. Players are moving up with more ease following a season on the EuroPro because the level at the next stage is no longer a surprise – it is the standard they have been competing at on the EuroPro.

“It is a joy to be watching the players that have come through in the last couple of years already competing on the main tours.

“The depth of players, the size of our prize funds and our media exposure makes us stand out from the other satellite tours. We are in a really strong place.

“Our TV audience world-wide has never been so strong, reaching just over 200 million homes now and broadcasting in five continents.

“The standard of the players is incredibly good, everybody who comes to watch is surprised by the level these guys play at. I have been a professional golfer but was never even close to reaching the quality of some our players. The golfers on our tour are the future of the game; they are only a few shots away from playing in major tournaments and Ryder Cups. They are very long, very accurate and sometimes perform shots that seem impossible. It is going to be another incredibly exciting and competitive season.”