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Ryder Cup Wales to meet the challenge
For the sixth year running, golfers in Wales are being given the chance to apply for invitations which will be offered to Welsh golfers as a direct result of the successful bid to host The 2010 Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.
European Tour player David Park, who has previously benefited from similar support in addition to likes of Welsh golfers Bradley Dredge and Becky Brewerton, is calling on the nation's hopefuls to make the most of the opportunities to play on the Challenge Tour.
"The Challenge Tour represents the breeding ground for the professional golfers of the future both in Wales and across Europe," said Park.
"This is an exciting time for Welsh Golf with The Ryder Cup coming to Wales in 2010 and this is a fantastic opportunity for our up and coming Welsh Pros to play in these tournaments which will help them develop their games to the high level and hopefully win their places on The European Tour in the future."
In 2008, seven Welsh professionals shared 24 invites and were able to play in 13 tournaments across Europe, gaining invaluable experience of international competition. In addition, Ryder Cup Wales offered 20 spots to Welsh players in the SWALEC Wales Challenge event held at the Vale Resort in July, with a further six spots given to top Welsh amateurs Rhys Enoch, Oliver Farr, James Frazer, Zach Gould, Nick James and Joe Vickery.
John Jermine, Ryder Cup Wales Chairman, said: "Hosting The Ryder Cup is benefiting the whole of Wales and all Welsh golfers and this is a unique opportunity for our young players to start on the road to reach the pinnacle of professional golf with playing rights on the European Tour. Success could even mean, in the long term, selection for The European Ryder Cup Team, if not at The Celtic Manor in 2010, then, perhaps for the match at Medina, Chicago or Gleneagles, Scotland, in a few years time and, hopefully, this prospect will motivate all of our players to work hard and take full advantage of such a wonderful, once in a lifetime, opportunity."
Professionals are invited to apply, by the end of November, for 2009 Challenge Tour invitations. The eligibility of those golfers hoping to take advantage will be assessed by Ryder Cup Wales in conjunction with the Sports Council for Wales' Élite Cymru programme.
Élite Cymru, which is funded by the National Lottery, supports the nation's rising stars providing funding, sports science support, medical back-up, career and education advice, coaching and access to first-class training facilities.
Philip Carling, Chair of Sports Council Wales, said: "The transition into professional golf is by no means easy. By providing playing opportunities at home and abroad, our most promising talents are assisted in making their mark. Together with Èlite Cymru support, our golfers are given a comprehensive back-up package in order that we can fully help them realise their full potential."