PARKSTONE professional Martyn Thompson continued his love affair with the Lombard Trophy and then praised the dedication of his teenage playing partner Paul Rickard.

Thompson rewrote the prestigious event’s record books when he booked his place in a third consecutive grand final after making the most of home advantage.

His exploits, together with those of 18-year-old Rickard, a PGA retail apprentice at Parkstone, earned the pair a four-day trip to Gleneagles, the venue for the Ryder Cup in September.

Thompson, who won the showpiece pro-am in 2003, will be one of 16 pros bidding to scoop the £12,000 first prize just days before Europe do battle with America at the Perthshire resort. A birdie-laden eight-under-par 63 saw Thompson and Rickard win by two shots, the duo mastering a picturesque Parkstone course which was in magnificent condition.

Rickard won his place alongside Thompson after winning the club’s Lombard qualifier, with the youngster’s handicap tumbling from 16 to 10 inside the space of four days.

Thompson told the Daily Echo: “It is always a team effort in these types of events and Paul played very nicely. As the professional, I am expected to do most of the work and the amateur is there to enjoy himself and hopefully come in on three or four holes where perhaps either I have a funny five minutes or he can use one of his shots.

“I was seven-under after 11 holes so, without sounding too flash, it would have been very difficult for anybody else to come in on the card. But in that format, I can only go for birdie putts when my partner is in the hole for par so it was very much a team effort.

“Paul was understandably nervous and it was the first big event he had played in. He is a smashing lad and has great potential as a golfer. He has worked very hard at his game and to get his handicap down from 16 to 10 in four days, was a phenomenal achievement and testament to how hard he has worked.

“He plays every day and even went out to practice after the prize-giving. There is nobody more dedicated than Paul to playing golf and hitting balls. The win was his reward for the effort he has put in over the past 12 months.”

Dorchester-born Rickard, who only took up golf three years ago, has ambitions to become a professional and will embark on a foundation degree once he has finished his two-year apprenticeship at Parkstone.

He said: “It was quite difficult to get on the card because Martin was playing so well. I was very happy with the way I played, my ball striking was really good and I felt I backed him up on the holes I needed to. I can’t wait to go to Gleneagles. It will be fantastic and a great experience for me.”

Lombard Trophy south west qualifier: 1 Martyn Thompson and Paul Rickard (Parkstone, 63), 2 Robin Goodey and Nick Maynard (Chipping Sodbury, 65), 3 Scott Porter and Steve Lewis (Dorset Golf & Country Club, 66).