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St Mellion's senior PGA Coach Darren Gass and his team are celebrating the latest achievement of one of their star pupils, the big-hitting Wiltshire amateur Ben Stow.

The 21 year old Tournament Golf College ('TGC') graduate will play in the 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield, this week, after winning the final Open Qualifying event at Gullane No.1 on July 3rd. Stow shot 72-68 for a -2 total, beating former Ryder Cup Captains Colin Montgomerie and Mark James. He is the first TGC graduate to play in a Major Championship.

" It was a phenomenal day - I played amazingly" said the East Knoyle resident, who represents Rushmore GC. "I played with Oscar Floren, who is a European Tour player, who kept me focused. We both qualified, and I'm looking forward to competing at Muirfield later this week."

Ben Stow, who carries the ball 295-300 yards through the air with his driver, will be one of the longest hitters in the field at Muirfield this week. But until recently, his long game had been letting him down. "I went to see Darren Gass a few days before the Qualifier, as something wasn't right," he said. "Gassy suggested that I change a few things, and it just clicked. I hit the ball just perfect, and the putter worked too."

Ben graduated from the Tournament Golf College, Europe's premier golf development programme, in May 2012. The TGC effectively teaches elite golfers how to compete as a tournament professional, and is based at St Mellion from September through December each year, with performance training and tuition delivered in new state-of-the-art classrooms at the Resort.

During his two years at the TGC, Stow improved from +1 to +4 handicap, and completed a foundation degree in tournament golf. He continues to use Darren Gass as his coach.

" Ben is a superb golfer, and a great pupil" said Gass. "He will have the whole of both Wiltshire and Cornwall behind him this week, and if he plays as well as he knows he can, then there's no limit to what he can achieve."

What's in Ben Stow's golf bag?

  • DRIVER .. Callaway X-Hot 8.5 degree, Aldila XS shaft
  • 3-WOOD .. Callaway Razr Fit Xtreme, 14 degree
  • IRONS .. Callaway X-Forged, Project X Stiff 6.5 shafts (to 2 iron)
  • WEDGES .. Callaway X-Forged 52 and 58 degree
  • PUTTER .. Odyssey No.7 'fang' style

Ben Stow, who is nowadays based across the Atlantic on a golf scholarship at the University of Kentucky, enjoys working out and playing tennis when he is not playing or thinking about golf.

And as regards this week's Open, he is hoping to make the cut and play with one of his personal heroes this weekend. "The draw has given me the 06:43 match with Sweden's Robert Karlsson, multiple Tour-winner and a Ryder Cup player, and the USA's Todd Hamilton, who is a former Open Champion," he said. "They are two great golfers, and I know I will learn a lot from them. I hope to go out and post a good early score.

"If I make the cut for the weekend" he said, "playing with either Padraig Harrington or Alvaro Quiros, both of whom I particularly admire, would be fantastic."

On Thursday 18th July, young Ben Stow faces the biggest sporting challenge of his lifetime, and good wishes from all at St Mellion and across the Crown Golf network have travelled north with him.


Three other TGC graduates - Ash Mason, Robbie Busher and Colton Davis - made it through to Final Qualifying for this year's Open Championship. Busher himself topped the PGA of Portugal Order Of Merit while on winter training with the TGC this year, and as a result was invited to play in the 2013 Madeira Islands Open on the main European Tour.

Other TGC student graduates have competed on the European Challenge Tour. Joey Armstrong competed in the allianz Open de Lyon, and Ben Stow himself finished Top 25 in the Challenge Tour's English Challenge event in 2012.

"The quality of courses, training and academic facilities here at St Mellion, along with our excellent coaching staff, explains why many choose to continue being coached at the Resort after they graduate from the TGC" said Darren Gass.

" I continue to coach Robbie, Ash and Ben full time by myself, and between us we have had fantastic results so far, way in excess of expectation. The combination of world leading facilities at both our UK and European training bases, strong development training, and the internal competition within the student body itself has proved a very powerful tool in the progression of our elite young players. I'm so pleased to see guys who have attended the TGC competing earlier this year at the highest level on the European Tour, and now Ben has a fantastic opportunity in the Open Championship."

Contact Darren Gass at St Mellion International Resort: stmellion-academy@crown-golf.co.uk / +44 (0)7855 485792. Or call the golf shop direct on +44 (0)1579 352002.


CONTACT: David Moon, Director of Golf, St Mellion International Resort | +44 (0)1579 352006 | www.st-mellion.co.uk  
MEDIA AND IMAGES: Andy Hiseman | +44 (0)7795 360112 | andy@hiseman.com  
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St Mellion Academy pupil and Tournament Golf College graduate Ben Stow stands in front of the final Leaderboard at Open Championship Final Qualifying, on July 3rd 2013, at Gullane No. 1 Golf Club in Scotland. Ben's name can be seen at the top, with his winning score of -2.


Winner of the Gold Award as Best Large Hotel in the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2011, and set in 450 acres of stunning Cornish countryside, St Mellion International Resort offers a fresh, unexpected alternative to the more traditional hotel & resort accommodation in the West Country. The Resort offers a contemporary 4-star hotel, and the two stunning Nicklaus Signature and Kernow golf courses. The Nicklaus Signature Course, voted ‘Best In The West’ by readers of Today’s Golfer, celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2013. Guests can choose from three very different dining experiences, including fine dining, brasserie-style and a comprehensive bar food menu. An indoor leisure club with three pools, an Elemis spa health & fitness club allows guests to be as active or as relaxed as they choose. Its combination of a superb, tranquil location, facilities unrivalled in the area, and wonderful hospitality makes St Mellion International Resort perfect for golf breaks, leisure breaks and family holidays. And for golfers, St Mellion has it well and truly covered, with highly competitive rates and two European Tour courses making the Resort the ideal destination for corporate or society golf, as well as for a memorable golf holiday with friends.



The award-winning Crown Golf group has 26 UK golf facilities and 40 golf courses in its portfolio. With pride in customer service and innovation, Crown Golf (established in 1994) aims to provide an outstanding golf experience for its members and visitors, tailor-made to suit the lifestyles and needs of a wide range of golfers. The company’s flagship is the European Tour venue St Mellion International Resort, home to The Nicklaus Signature Course – the first in the UK to be designed by 18-time Major-winner Jack Nicklaus.