Golf star Lewton relishing long-awaited International Series England homecoming

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Lewton, 39, will play in the Asian Tour’s first fully fledged event in the UK, with the Series heading to the picturesque setting of the landmark country house just south of Hexham
Lewton, 39, will play in the Asian Tour’s first fully fledged event in the UK, with the Series heading to the picturesque setting of the landmark country house just south of Hexham

Steve Lewton says he ready to come home after seven years away when he tees off at the International Series England event at Slaley Hall in Northumberland.

Lewton, 39, will play in the Asian Tour’s first fully fledged event in the UK, with the Series heading to the picturesque setting of the landmark country house just south of Hexham.

And the tournament, which aims to help grow the Asian Tour beyond its traditional fanbase, will be the first in the UK in seven years for a player who has spent the majority of the last decade on the other side of the world.

“It is really nice to play an event back in Britain,” said Lewton. “I didn’t think about when it would next happen before, but now I’m back here I’m excited.

Graeme McDowell will also play in the Asian Tour’s International Series England event at Slaley Hall from Thursday
Graeme McDowell will also play in the Asian Tour’s International Series England event at Slaley Hall from Thursday

“I’m definitely ready to come home. I last played here back in 2015 at the British Masters over at Woburn.

“That feels like a long time ago now, so it’s about time I played at home again. All my family and friends are coming.

“I’ve been playing pretty good as well so it has come at the perfect time. I started the year at the Saudi invitational and finished fourth there.

“I also was in good nick at a couple of events in Thailand, I finished 5th and 6th. So I’ve been playing pretty steady and feel in a good place at the moment.”

Lewton first made his name as an amateur when finishing runner-up to Rory McIlroy at the 2006 European Amateur, before turning professional back in 2008 and spent a year on the European tour in 2011.

But a crossroads in his career came a year later where after qualifying, he opted to take a place on the Asian Tour where he has played the majority of his golf since.

After so long on the tour, the Bedfordshire born professional has fully acclimatised to the differences in culture and conditions, albeit after some initial surprises.

“The travelling wasn’t actually as bad as I was expecting,” Lewton added. “When I first joined I thought that would be the hard part.

“It’s more the different grasses you have to play on each week, you never really play on a similar green for more than two weeks in-a-row, ever.

“When you first arrive that takes some getting used to. I also had to deal with the weather when I first arrived.

“Obviously you go from playing in often windy conditions, to playing in 100 degrees with 100% humidity – that was a big change.

“The off-course so stuff, not so much. I’m not a fussy eater so that was never an issue for me.

“It’s been an interesting journey but I’m so happy with the decision I’ve made.”

Lewton will face tough competition to take home the title on home soil.

The tournament aims to help grow the Asian Tour beyond its traditional fanbase
The tournament aims to help grow the Asian Tour beyond its traditional fanbase

The field contains a pair of PGA Tour members, former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein, along with former U.S. Amateur champion Andy Ogletree, the low amateur at the 2000 Masters.

But Lewton is determined to create a career highlight this week at Slaley Hall, which hosted European events between 1996 and 2002.

“It would be massive for me if I could win here or get in the mix,” he added.

“It would be huge in so many respects, it’ll be one of my biggest achievements to date if I can win.

“You have to make little adjustments in your game, but because I grew up with the conditions here it won’t take me long to re-adjust and hopefully that can give me an edge.”

A tournament purse of $2million is up for grabs with the series made up of 10 new events to be played over the next 10 years on the back of a $300m investment from LIV Golf Investment.

Free entry for the International Series England (2-5 June) is open to all fans by simply registering at intlserieseng.seetickets.com

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