Saunton Golf Club’s Albert MacKenzie set a new competition record at the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship West qualifying round. It is a big year for MacKenzie who is also captain of the GB & Ireland team to face the USA at Foxhills in Surrey in September. His milestone performance at Burnham & Berrrow Golf Club means he will record the most appearances in the PGA Championship final – 21. That betters the 20 appearances by Yorkshireman Paul Carman.
There was a double celebration for north Devon club Saunton as Nicky Maddison finished joint top of the leaderboard to join his Head Professional in the final. Maddison carded a two under par round of 69 at the Somerset venue to win on countback ahead of Martyn Thompson (Parkstone Golf Club) and Toby Hunt (St Mellons Golf Club). They were one shot clear of Joe Ferguson (Celtic Manor Resort Ltd) and Barry Forster (North Wilts Golf Club).
In all, 13 qualifiers will now take part in the £78,000 grand final which is being held at Luttrellstown Castle Golf Club near Dublin between June 13-16. Maddison, in his second year as a fully qualified PGA Professional, was delighted for MacKenzie who shot a level par round of 71.
“I think it’s important for Albert to play in the final and not just be there in his role as PGA Cup captain,” said Maddison. “All the people who he may have in his team still respect him as a player. He’s still very good. He did want to play in the final, to set the record and so as not to be a spectator-captain, it was a massive thing for him. “Both things are just as big as each other. “We travelled to the event together so it was a good drive for us both going back, and it was good to have two Saunton players in the final too.”
Maddison is relishing an appearance at Luttrellstown Castle. He not only qualified for last year’s final but also appeared in three consecutive PGA Assistants’ Championship finals.
“To get the plane and fly across there will make it feel more like a Tour event, I’d like to get over quite early to see the course,” added Maddison. “It wasn’t too bad at Burnham, it was just a case of hitting greens, myself and Albert spoke about it on the way there and agreed that was the best way to go about it. The course helped, it was in really good condition.”