Price relishing return to Wales

Price relishing return to Wales

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First published in Sport

Ryder Cup winner Phillip Price is looking to celebrate his 25th year as a professional golfer by reclaiming the prestigious Welsh National PGA Championship.

The 47 year old, who won the title in 1993, will take on a host of the country’s finest PGA Professionals in the Asbri-sponsored event at Royal St David’s on July 9-10.

The tournament, which carries a total prize fund of £10,000, has been won by some of Wales’ great golfers including Ian Woosnam and Sid Mouland during a glittering 110-year history.

Price had a tough campaign last year, finishing tied 20th while home PGA Professional Lee Rooke took the victory.

But the Newport-based pro believes he can improve on that performance this time around.

"I took my son John last year and he caddied for me which was a really nice time for us both,” he explained.

“I didn’t play very well though, which wasn’t great for him.

“He’ll be coming with me again this time and the aim is of course to play better. It’s a great opportunity to compete, to get some practice in, and it’ll make a change to play a shorter course than on tour, but it’s a testing track and if you’re not on your mettle you’ll fall by the wayside.”

Perhaps the finest moment of Price’s career came when he beat Phil Mickelson during Europe’s successful assault on the 2002 Ryder Cup.

“I was pretty excited and nervous at the same time,” he recalled.

“I knew the course well and it was one that suited my game, I was fresh – Mickelson had played every session, and so I felt I was in with a good chance.

“Sam Torrance came up to me on the putting green and said ‘I need something from you today, I need a point’. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I knew that despite being the underdog, if I gave everything I had something would happen and it did.”

During a quarter of a century in golf, Price has had to adapt to changes in the sport sparked by new technology.

“I think the most noticeable change is the power due to the development of golf balls and drivers,” he said.

“This has changed the nature of the game and as a consequence golf courses have changed as they are now, on tour at least, so much longer than they were 15-20 years ago.

“The increase in power has also reduced the skill level and certainly means it favours the big hitters.

“It would be good to see more short fiddly par threes, a bit like the Postage Stamp, where skill is important as opposed to 220-yard par threes where you just have to hit it long to get on the green.”

Other players competing at Royal St David’s include former two-time winners Sion Bebb (Morlais Castle) and Simon Edwards (Windermere), 1999 champion Richard Dinsdale (Parc Golf Academy), Matthew Davies (Vale of Llangollen), host pro Gareth Lewis, Cennydd Mills (Pyle and Kenfig) and defending champion Lee Rooke (Royal St David’s).

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