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WARE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:  Gary Marks of England poses with the trophy after the final round of the Willow Senior Golf Classic played at Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club on August 28, 2016 in Ware, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

The inaugural Willow Senior Golf Classic, held at Marriott Hanbury Manor Hotel & Country Club, Ware, has been hailed as an overwhelming success after raising over £120,000 for the Willow foundation.

The tournament is a new addition to the European Senior Tour’s UK schedule, and was held in collaboration with the Special Day’s charity, Willow.

Founded in Hertfordshire in 1999 by ex-Arsenal footballer, Bob Wilson, and his wife, Megs, the foundation works to provide Special Days for seriously ill young adults aged 16 – 40, and was created in memory of Bob and Megs’ daughter who lost her life to cancer at the age of 31.

Hanbury Manor was asked to host the tournament by its founder, Duncan Sinclair, who is a past Captain of the club and also has close links with the charity. Hanbury took to the challenge gladly, producing a spectacularly well presented course and venue that both the amateurs and professionals praised highly throughout the tournament.

“We’ve been working around the clock all year to get the course into the great condition that it is, and make the tournament as successful as possible” commented Govert Deketh, General Manager at Marriott Hanbury Manor Hotel & Country Club.

“To see so many spectators coming to the club, golfers and non-golfers alike, all enjoying the atmosphere of the day was incredibly rewarding, and we hope to see them all back here again to enjoy our beautiful venue.”

Prior to the main event were two Pro-Am days that were also held to raise additional funds for the charity. Particular highlights of these days were successive hole-in-ones made by Placid Gonzales and Mark Pears. These two shots alone automatically triggered a donation of £20,000 for the charity.

Over 2000 spectators came through the gates to watch the action unfold over the main three day tournament, and the drama was high in the closing holes as Mike Harwood seemed to be closing in on Gary Mark’s seemingly impenetrable lead. Marks hung on to his two shot advantage however to claim the title of Willow Senior Golf Classic 2016 champion.

“The tournament has been a great addition to the European Senior Tour, and a highlight in the schedule,” commented Gary Marks. “The course and venue were great, and I can say on behalf of all of us on the tour that we hope the Willow Senior Golf Classic at Hanbury Manor will become a regular feature on the schedule.”

For more information on the Willow Senior Golf Classic please contact Adam Roberts at adam@gmsgolf.co.uk or on tel. 01438 718399.