Life just keeps getting better for north Norfolk golfer
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012
Sheringham golfer William Harrold's brilliant season hit dazzling new heights at the weekend when he clinched his maiden victory on the Challenge Tour.
Harrold picked up a cheque for around £20,000 – and boosted his chances of moving up to the full European Tour next season in the process – when he came through a play-off to win the Belgian Open at the Cleydael Golf and Country Club.
The Norfolk player already has two wins on the third tier Europro Tour to his name this summer - meaning total prize money of over £40,000 - and is now in a position to fulfil every professional's dream of playing at the very top level.
As a result of Sunday's win he is now 13th in rankings, and with plenty more invitations sure to come he should now fancy his chances of securing a top 15 place finish - and automatic elevation to the European Tour.
Harrold was overnight leader by one going into the final day in Belgium and held his nerve to card a five under par 66, only for Florian Fritsch to force a play-off by going one lower, courtesy of his 65.
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Harrold, who is backed by his local club Sheringham,then showed composure when it mattered most to eventually triumph with a par which Fritsch could not match.
'It was a tough day,' said Harrold. 'In addition to all the drama, Florian is a friend of mine, so winning like this after he made a bogey wasn't ideal. But that's what happens in golf and I'm very happy with this victory. '
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The win will put Harrold in the spotlight but he is not letting his new found status affect him.
'My game is all about staying cool as much as I can,' he said. 'It is never over until the last putt and my last putt was a foot and a half, but I have to admit, it felt longer than it looked. My life won't change with this victory, although I imagine my schedule might.'
Harrold had opened his challenge in solid rather than spectacular fashion with a round of 70 but really got to work on day two as a brilliant eight under par 63, which included a front nine of 29, saw him shoot up the leaderboard.
The Norfolk player moved into a one-shot lead on Saturday after a 67, and then went one better on Sunday to set up his play-off chance.
In a tie for third, two shots back from Harrold and Fritsch, were English pair Dave Coupland and Jason Palmer.
Both men had held the lead at various stages before the weekend, and a pair of 66s meant they finished up on 16 under par.
Meanwhile a tilt at golfing glory awaits amateur Graham Turner and his Mundesley professional Ryan Pudney as they bid to reach the Lombard Trophy grand final.
Turner teed up a chance to tread the fairways of the King's Course at the famous Gleneaglles Scottish resort between September 3-4 when he won his club qualifying competition with a nett score of 65. He and Pudney now advance to the regional final at Coventry Golf Club on Thursday July 17, where they will compete against up to 70 other clubs for the chance to secure one of 16 spots available for the 36-hole grand final.
Turner is a 64-year-old operations manager from Hickling. He has been playing golf for 43 years and plays off a handicap of six. His interests apart from golf include salmon fishing. Pudney, 33, has been a professional at Mundesley for three years. He is a course record holder at Royal Cromer.
Last year's winners were professional Ian Walley and amateur partner Ian Neal from Kedleston Park in Derbyshire.