Thursday, May 06, 2010

Walker Cup player Haines turning pro

By Alistair Tait
English Walker Cup player Matt Haines is turning professional.
The 20-year-old will join the Hambric Sports stable, following in the footsteps of Scottish Walker Cup player Wallace Booth, who signed with Hambric following last year’s Walker Cup.
Haines, pictured by Cal Carson Golf Agency, won the Spanish amateur championship earlier this year, defeating countryman Tommy Fleetwood at the 37th hole. That victory gained Haines an invite to the European Tour’s Spanish Open. Unfortunately, he did not make the most of his first European Tour start. Haines only played one round before being disqualified for signing for a wrong score.
The English player from Rochester & Cobham Golf Club in Kent, England, is one of the best young British prospects. In 2007, he won two of Britain’s under-18 tournaments, the McEvoy Trophy and Carris Trophy (the England Under-18 Stroke Play Championship). In 2008, he won the Lytham Trophy, one of the biggest amateur events in the British Isles.
Last season, Haines won the Berkhamsted Trophy, the Hampshire Hog, the Selborne Salver and finished runner-up in the Welsh Open Stroke Play Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy.
Haines made the Great Britain & Ireland Walker side that played at Merion last year. However, he did not live up to expectations. Haines did not win a match, losing three and halving another as GB&I crashed to defeat.
Haines was expected to play for England against France in Chantilly May 16-17, but made himself unavailable to EGU selectors after deciding to turn pro.
Robert Duck of Hambric Sports confirmed that Haines has eight starts on this year’s European Challenge Tour. Haines will make his professional debut in the Mugello Tuscany Open at UNA Poggio dei Medici Golf Club in Florence, Italy.



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