Golfer Shane Winstone makes another attempt to become pro
FORMER Gloucestershire and Somerset amateur Shane Winstone is making a final effort to break into professional golf this year.
He made his first attempt while a member at Knowle four years ago. His brief flirtation with the paid game ended when his sponsors withdrew financial support.
Now he has received backing from another sponsor and has decided to try again. His main platform this year will be the Europro Tour and he started well enough by finishing sixth in the first qualifying stage at The Players Club last week.
He shot 71 and 73 for a four-over total of 144, eight behind the winner. This week, he is at Frilford Heath, Oxfordshire, taking part in the final qualifying.
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Winstone, 26, returned to golf as an amateur, joined Saltford and resumed his successful career in the Gloucestershire county set-up, while working in the building trade.
Last year, after being a regular in the Gloucestershire team the previous summer, he sprang a surprise by joining Somerset. He helped his adopted county win the Channel League as one of the side's most successful players. He also distinguished himself in the South West Week team over the East course at Saunton.
Winstone, whose last amateur handicap was plus three, enjoyed remarkable success with Gloucestershire and was European Tour star Chris Wood's regular foursomes partner.
His career highlight was reaching the semi-finals of the English Amateur Championship at Royal St Georges in 2007. His week started with a record-breaking round of 64 in qualifying at Royal Cinque Ports.
Next he won the Knowle Gold Medal, the City and County of Bristol at Henbury and the South West Youths title to claim the county's order of merit crown for the Duchess Salver for a second time.
He hoped his performance that year would bring recognition with a place in one of the EGU England squads, so funding would be available to play a full season of amateur golf. But he was overlooked. That was when he turned away from the amateur game. Now he hopes this second venture to succeed as a professional will be more successful.
Another Somerset amateur, Ashley Mansell, from Clevedon, turned professional during the winter and played in several Gloucestershire and Somerset PGA medals. He, too, is planning a Europro Tour career and made his debut in three Jamega Tour tournaments in Spain.
He tied 14th at Costa Esuri and shared tenth at La Monacilla. The third, again at Costa Esuri, was restricted to one round because of the weather. But he shot two-under-par to finish joint sixth, alongside Cumberwell Park's Steve Surry. He returned to finish 44th at The Players Club and progress to the final stage of Europro qualifying, where he is joined by former Somerset players Charlie Cossins (Bath), Dan Perrett (Clevedon) and Luke Collins (Mendip Spring).