A PROFESSIONAL from a Knutsford club took third place in the UK Long Drive Championships.

Gavin Beddow, general manager at High Legh Park Golf Club, impressed in his age category throughout a competition organised by Warrington-based retailer American Golf.

He missed out on a place in the final after losing in the last four to Witney’s David Wilmore, who went on to finish as runner-up for a second successive year.

“This was my first event and a fantastic experience,” said Beddow afterwards.

“American Golf treated us like professionals and I think all the competitors upped their game as a result.”

The 45-year-old had progressed through two qualifying rounds, recording a best drive of 350 yards – a distance he improved to 381 yards on finals day.

A semi-final encounter with Willmore proved a step too far despite Beddow continuing to strike the ball well, recording a best of 378 yards.

However his opponent found his best form to produce a drive that went 10 yards further.

“All of the competitors at the final were incredible," said Daniel Gathercole, director of marketing and communications at American Golf.

"The distances that they’ve been hitting have been superhuman – we’ve even had one drive over 450 yards!

"But it’s not just the competition that impressed; there was such camaraderie and support among everyone."