Scottish golfer aiming to swap Tesco for spot in Betfred British Masters
Lothians golfer Neil Henderson is aiming to use a spell working in Tesco during lockdown to drive his bid to be part of the European Tour's return in three weeks' time.
The Renaissance Club member is teeing up in Monday's qualifier for the Betfred British Masters, which is being hosted by Lee Westwood at Close House, near Newcastle.
The £1.1 million event will mark the European Tour's return after being placed into lockdown in early March due to the coronavirus crisis.
One spot is on offer in the 18-hole shoot-out, which is being staged at the tournament venue, with Henderson set to face some unlikely rivals.
Former England and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer, a Close House member, is in the field, as is another footballer, ex-Sunderland star Lee Cattermole.
"One of my mates at The Renaissance is a member at Close House," said Henderson, who plays on mini tours in the UK, of how he'd heard about the qualifier.
"I just thought it would be a fun thing to do as my wife's family live nearby and I can stay with them if I qualify.
"It’s a great course. I played it a week past Friday with Lee Cattermole, who is a member there, and it’s in great condition."
Henderson, a former Scottish Junior Champion of Champions, combines playing golf with helping his dad Ian run a luxury transport company.
But, with no business on that front during the Covid-19 lockdown, he spent some time working in a local supermarket.
"Three months in Tesco puts it all in perspective," he added. "I worked at the one in Musselburgh as there was no transport company stuff or golf, so I thought I may as well make some money and have something to give me a routine."
While excited about his opportunity to try and secure a European Tour debut, Henderson is not envisaging playing much for the rest of the year.
"I'm just going to work full time for my dad and learn that trade and keep practising and getting fit," he said of seeing his plans turned on their head by the pandemic.
Former Scottish Amateur champion Zander Culverwell, another Renaissance Club member, had also entered next week's qualifier but has now pulled out.
"With being busy at work, I’ve not played," he said. "It would have been great to play in, but it's just at the wrong time right now."
Sam Westwood, the tournament host's son, is set to line up among the 120 hopefuls in the shoot-out, which cost £125 to enter.
Favourite to land the prized spot is Englishman Matthew Nixon, with others expected to be in contention including former Scottish Stroke Play champion Robert Dinwiddie.
Also in the field is Zane Scotland, who was the youngest Englishman to qualify for the Open Championship when he teed up as a 16-year-old at Carnoustie in 1999.
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