Stars heading to Close House

Global golf stars and local favourites are lining up to compete in the $2million International Series England tournament, which takes place over Close House’s Colt Course August 17-20

Lee Westwood, the former world number one who has 44 career victories – leads a cohort of LIV golfers set to compete in the Asian Tour’s International Series England.

“I’ve had the privilege of playing at home in tournament situations before, and there is truly nothing quite like it,” said Lee. “Local excitement is building nicely with some of the players confirmed. I’ve been embraced by the people of the North East since I set up home there; their passion for sport is unrivalled and the full field will feel that during the tournament week – the atmosphere will be tremendous.”

Ian Poulter will join his Majesticks co-captain for the event – which returns to the North East following a successful debut at Slaley Hall in 2022. Ian – who finished T11 in the 2017 British Masters at Close House – said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to witness some of the top talents of the Asian Tour first-hand in the [LIV Golf] League, especially Andy Ogletree who stepped in for Lee in DC and turned in a 62! So, I’m looking forward to my International Series debut.”

Joining the Majesticks co-captains will be 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed, 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell, and this year’s PIF Saudi International victor Abraham Ancer.

Seven-time Asian Tour winner and LIV Golf player Anirban Lahiri will also be looking to follow up his runner-up finish in the International Series Vietnam event earlier this season.

Spaniard Eugenio Chacarra and American Jason Kokrak will also make International Series returns. Meanwhile, England’s Richard Bland, Brendan Steele of the United States, and South Africa’s Dean Burmester will be making the trip to the North East.

There will also be several local favourites in the field – including qualifiers Rhys Thompson, James Wilson and Will Marshall – who came through an 18-hole shootout and each earned one of the six places available in the field for the $2million event.

The qualifier was won by Auchterarder Golf Club’s Rory Franssen with a five under-par round of 66. He will be joined in the field by Slaley Hall-based Rhys, who shot a bogey-free 68. Tyneside-based James and Heworth-based Will both earned their places with two under-par totals on the Colt Course. The final two spots in the qualifier were claimed by Englishmen Luke Joy and Adam Batty with rounds of 69.

Marking the halfway point of The International Series 2023 season, the event at Close House will be pivotal for players looking to climb The International Series order of merit, currently led by the only two-time International Series winner, Andy Ogletree. Come the end of the season, the number one player in the rankings will punch his ticket directly to the 2024 LIV Golf League, while the next 31 players will secure entry into the LIV Golf Promotions Event to vie for three further places.

Rahul Singh, head of The International Series, said: “Having the likes of Lee Westwood, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer and other LIV stars confirmed for International Series England is demonstrative of the growing strength of The International Series and the allure of the fabulous Lee Westwood Colt Course at Close House.

“We are returning to England’s North East after being made to feel so welcome last year. We are ready to renew the fervour this year and welcome spectators to what stands to be the biggest International Series event yet.”

Tickets for the International Series England are available now from SeeTickets with prices starting from £10. Admission is free for under-16s when entering with a paying adult.