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Paisley, Westwood looking to Master Hillside venue.

Byline: CHRIS ROBINSON

LEE Westwood, the 45-year-old touring professional from Close House, and 33-yearold Chris Paisley from Stocksfield tee off today in the [euro]3,480,000 Betfred British Masters in Southport.

It is played over the 7,029-yard par-72 Hillside course, which is adjacent to one of England's finest stretch of coastal links - including the famous Open Championship venue at nearby Royal Birkdale.

Hillside has hosted many amateur and professional tournaments in its illustrious history and is a true championship links course.

It's an unusual links course with a number of holes majestically framed with mighty pine trees and the first nine holes are flat and somewhat barren, although full of variety and contrast, while on the second nine there are valleyed corridors through some of the highest and wildest dunes to found anywhere.

Lancashire's home grown hero Tommy Fleetwood hosts the Betfred British Masters, following in the footsteps of Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and, last year, Justin Rose.

Fleetwood said: "It's a great honour to host the tournament in my home town of Southport and I look forward to a successful tournament."

Paisley is a firm friend of Fleetwood following their successful partnership in the 2018 Zurich Classic when, from 80 teams, they finished joint fourth in New Orleans - shooting a final round 62-10-under par. Paisley holed his third shot on the 18th for an eagle three.

He is yet to hit the heights on this year's European Tour and, although steadily making 36-hole cuts, is short of top-ten finishes.

Westwood, buoyed by his great win in last year's Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, is still looking for his 25th victory on the European Tour.

Other players in the Betfred British Masters, which has been brought forward from its usual September slot, include champion Eddie Pepperell, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Wallace, Martin Kaymer, Brandon Stone, Stephen Gallacher, Kurt Kitayama, Alexander Levey, Paul Dunne, Eduardo Molinari, Thomas Bjorn, Ross Fisher, Steven Brown, Jack Singh Brar and Victor Dubuisson.

There's a special invitation for 16-year-old Connor Waugh, the British Boys champion, who is following in the footsteps of Fleetwood by playing his first professional tournament in the British Masters.

Hillside is well known to many North East golf fans.

South Shields' Doug McClelland, the North East's first circuit professional in 1969, was beaten there twodown by Neil Coles in the final of the 1973 British Matchplay Championship.

The British Masters started as the Dunlop Masters in 1946.

In 1972 it was staged at the Northumberland Golf Club in High Gosforth Park when New Zealand's lefthanded Bob Charles, the 1963 Open champion, won by two shots from England's Tony Jacklin.

Tee times 13.10 - Chris Paisley, Chris Wood and Matthew Southgate.

13.30 - Lee Westwood, Matt Wallace and Joost Luiten (Netherlands).

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Chris Paisley and Lee Westwood tee off today in the British Masters in Southport

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 9, 2019
Words:477
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