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Around 125,000 club golfers from Britain and Ireland are again gearing up for Europe's biggest pro-am competition, the Lombard Trophy. There's an even better chance of winning an all-expenses paid trip to the Grand Final in Portugal this year because 18 regional finals, two more than last year, will be held.

Now, in its fifth year, the Lombard Trophy gives the ordinary club golfer the chance to accompany his club professional to one of Europe's outstanding tests, the San Lorenzo course in the Algarve, to enjoy a five-day stay at the luxurious Meridien Dona Filipa Hotel.

The handicap winners of nominated medal competitions at more than 1,200 clubs throughout Britain and Ireland will partner their club professional at one f 18 regional finals, and the winning pair of each final will sample the delights of San Lorenzo from 1-5 October. The first regional final is on 25 May at Beau Desert (Staffordshire), the last at Hexham (Northumberland) on 30 July.

The leading 10 professionals pick up cheques from a prize fund of £70,000. The winning professional in Portugal gets £5,000 while the 17 others are awarded for their efforts and there are valuable prizes for the winning amateurs.

For last year's top professional, Anglo-Scot Doug Brolls from Wearside in Sunderland, the cheque was by far his biggest win. His amateur partner, Barry Walker, is the club's head greenkeeper.

Organised in association with the PGA, the tournament is sponsored by the Lombard Asset Finance Group, one of the UK's most innovative finance companies with £9 billion in assets on its books. Commented Jeff Johnson, Managing Director, Lombard, "The PGA and Lombard share a similar vision - delivering an excellent individual performance while fostering great team spirit. They do it through golf. We do it in our everyday business".

Regional Finals

West Midlands Beau Desert 25 May
Midlands Coventry 27 May
South-East Hever 1 June
Home Counties North Hadley Wood 4 June
West of Scotland Cardross 14 June
East of Scotland Longniddry 16 June
Ireland Seapoint 21 June
Wessex Marlborough 24 June
North Midlands Chesterfield 28 June
North Wales & Cheshire Northop Country Park 30 June
East Anglia King's Lynn 2 July
South Chartham Park (1) 6 July
South Chartham Park (2) 7 July
South-Wales Newport 20 July
South-West Saunton (East) 22 July
North-West Hesketh 26 July
North Pannal 28 July
North-East Hexham 30 July