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Small has big hopes for Faldo Series final

By Peter Hutcheon

Bangor's Patrick Small will carry the hopes of Northern Ireland at the grand final of this year’s Faldo Series, played at the Lough Erne Resort.

Small is the only home-grown player to reach the final stage of the prestigious yearly event run by six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo which boasts Rory McIlroy as a past champion.

He competes in the under-21 section of the event which is being played over the next three days on the Faldo-designed Fermanagh layout.

Faldo will be there for the three rounds and will present the prizes at a gala dinner in the resort on Thursday evening.

The UK-wide competition is split into age categories: under-21 boys and under-21 girls, under-18 boys, under-16 boys and under-16 girls.

Next week also marks the opening of the new Faldo Academy at Lough Erne, which is a state-of-the-art golf teaching facility.

It’s the first academy of its type anywhere in Europe following the concept of Faldo’s original school in Orlando, Florida.

“The whole concept is based on Nick Faldo’s idea that people should practice in the same way that they play on the golf course,” said Lough Erne Resort director of golf Lynn McCool.

“So golfers play from beautiful bays to properly constructed fairways and targets rather than just hitting balls aimlessly at a driving range.

“The short game practice area is based on the same principal so you play every type of shot that you would out on the course.”

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