Kent ace Richard Wallis will bid to capture a unique hat-trick by winning the Titleist PGA Play-Offs in Turkey later this month.
The Walmer & Kingsdown player will be among the hot favourites having dominated on his two previous appearances at the £15,000 tournament which is again taking place over the PGA Sultan course at Antalya Golf Club from November 23-25.
Wallis booked his place at the end-of-season finale, which will decide the No.1 PGA pro, by topping the Virgin Atlantic PGA in England (South) Order of Merit for a fourth successive year to qualify alongside Matt Ford (CK Group) and Robert
Gowers (South Winchester).
With the top 10 finishers in Turkey qualifying for next year’s BMW PGA Championship plus the winner earning a handful of European and Challenge Tour starts, Wallis has plenty of incentive as he returns to the Mediterranean hotspot.
“Going to Antalya again is something of an advantage, but I’m just working on the weak points of my game and making sure that I give myself the best opportunity I can to be in with a shout,” said Wallis, who also starred in Great Britain & Ireland’s stirring PGA Cup fightback at Slaley Hall in September.
“Of course I want to win, but on the other hand, it’ll be great to go there with Matt and Robert. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Robert, while Matt’s got a lot of experience playing in Challenge Tour events this year. On our day, I think any one of us could bring back the honours to the South again.”
Reflecting on the past season, Wallis is philosophical about his performance and that of the other Order of Merit contenders.
He said: “This year was probably one of the best seasons so far, because there was even more competition with the return of some class players like Benn Barham (Kings Hill) and Chris Gane (lefthandedgolf.co.uk) from several years on the
“I didn’t win as many titles, but my performances were much more consistent so I was always in the frame for those valuable points.
“Matt (Ford) was able to play in more events and pushed me a lot harder right from the start by winning the PGA Southern Open. I took the PGA Surrey Open title at Richmond Park, but he then beat me down the last nine to win the PGA Kent Open Championship at Prince’s in great style.
“Then with three events to go, young Robert (Gowers) came almost out of the blue to win the next two events within the space of three weeks, the PGA Southern Professionals Championship at Foxhills and also the Tylney Park Classic.”
Gowers performances in the latter half of the Order of Merit campaign ensured the third and final place to Turkey wasn’t decided until the final putt on the final green at the Wildwood Invitational in October, where his third place meant he just managed to edge out Michael Lowe (Leatherhead) by a mere five points.
Titleist brand director, Matthew Johnson, commented: “Titleist strives to support golf in all aspects of the game and our partnership with The PGA and the PGA Play-Offs offers a fantastic platform to strengthen our ties with all PGA Professionals.
“We take great pride in validating the #1 ball in golf, used by the best players in the world from touring professionals through to PGA Professionals and elite amateurs.
“The PGA Play-Offs is a unique event in bringing the leading PGA pros together to compete for an opportunity to tee up at some of the European Tour’s biggest events including the flagship BMW PGA Championship and we look forward to
seeing an exciting conclusion to the season.”