Zimbabwean Scott Vincent claimed a historic victory in the inaugural International Series England event at Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort with a final-round 66 as the Asian Tour celebrated its first visit to the UK.
Vincent fought off the challenge of Australia’s Travis Smyth and Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana, while former US Open winner Graeme McDowell finished in a tie for 15th place, nine shots behind the eventual winner.
The victory means that Vincent has secured his place at the first LIV golf event at the Centurion Club this week, where he will be joined by his caddie – John McStravick - an employee in golf operations at the Slaley Hall resort.
The QHotels Collection provided a fantastic location with the Northumberland venue living up to its billing as the ‘Augusta of the North’ with many players highlighting the impressive course set-up and conditions.
McDowell, who made his professional debut at Slaley Hall, said: “It was my first time back here after I made my pro debut in 2002 and was cool to kind of complete the circle and come back here 20 years later. The golf course was fantastic, I’ve been really impressed by it.”
Two-time European Tour winner, Justin Harding, said: “[The] Course conditions were really good and the golf course looked lovely. It has got a good mix of holes where you can throw in a bit of strategy with lots of options off the tee and then there are a couple of holes where you just have to play it how you find it.”
India’s Shiv Kapur, who has played on the European Tour for 14 years, said: “The layout was a perfect blend of parkland links, where the greens were quite undulating and they all made for a really nice test. Visually it is stunning, how it is set into the forest.”
Michael Campbell, winner of the 2005 US Open, said: “[The] Weather wasn’t great – but you’re in Newcastle, what do you expect! You don’t come here for the weather; you come for the great golf.”
There was also an impressive performance from 15-year-old amateur sensation Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat, who finished two over as he looked for his second win on the Asian Tour.
The QHotels Collection player and ambassador, Rhys Thompson, failed to make the cut but will take plenty of positives from his first time on the Tour and his first International Series event.
Keith Pickard, golf, health club and spa director for The QHotels Collection, said: “It was a fantastic week and a real indication of the quality that the International Series events are bringing, as well as the high standard of golf we saw.
“Congratulations to Scott Vincent on his victory, the Slaley Hall course was in brilliant condition throughout, and we hope the players and fans enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone who made the journey!”
Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort is one of seven top golf resorts in England and Scotland in The QHotels Collection alongside Belton Woods Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, in Grantham, Lincolnshire; Dunston Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, in Norwich; Oulton Hall Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, Leeds; Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, in Shropshire; DoubleTree by Hilton Forest Pines Spa & Golf Resort, in Brigg; and DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Spa & Golf Resort.