Defending a big title is a pain in the neck for champion Dickens

Suzanne Dickens is the defending WPGA Professional champion.
Suzanne Dickens is the defending WPGA Professional champion.
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Suzanne Dickens is finding her defence of the Titleist & FootJoy WPGA Professional Championship to be a real pain in the neck.

The 2014 champion has been sidelined for two months by a trapped nerve in her neck which has restricted her preparations for the 36-hole event at Burnham & Berrow today and tomorrow (June 4-5).

The Thorpe Wood pro arrives for the £5,000 event barely having swung a club and will face stiff competition from the likes of ex-US Women’s Open champion Alison Nicholas plus three-time winner Tracy Loveys.

“It just came on out of nowhere and I’ve hardly picked up a club in two months,” explained Dickens.

“Fortunately I’ve found a good physio and we are starting to get to the bottom of it.

“I played at Dunham Forest the other day without having hit any balls but the next day my back went into spasm.

“Realistically I’ve got no expectations going to Burnham and I just hope I’m going to be fit to play.”

Dickens, who also won the WPGA One Day Series last year, had been hoping to play in a few Ladies European Tour events this year but that has been put on the backburner due to her injury problems.

She is, however, relishing the prospect of playing at Burnham & Berrow.

“I’ve never played there before but I’ve been checking it out on the website and it looks fantastic.

“I’m sure it will be pretty tough,” she added.

Mid Herts’ Lucy Williams, who won the title in 2013 but was unable to defend it last year, makes a welcome return.

EAST PGA

Stuart Brown shot a sizzling 63 on Monday to win the Crowlands Heath GC Invitational Pro-Am in Dagenham.

His three under par score, which included four birdies and a bogey, earned him a share of first place with Ashley Lucas from the host club.They both received cheques for £382.

At the weekend the Orton Meadows pro was far less consistent when finishing ninth in the Hadley Wood Pro-Am after an eventful round of 74.

He birdied the first and ninth but a disastrous three-hole spell in between which included a bogey at the sixth and double bogeys at the seventh and eighth put him three over at the turn.

On the back nine, a birdie blitz at the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th saw him soar up the leaderboard but another double bogey on 17 and a further dropped shot on the 18th cost him a top three finish.

Winners with a three under 69 were Laurence Allen from Verulam Golf Club and Andrew George from Ely City.