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Shevchenko makes debut on Europe's second tier circuit

Andriy Shevchenko, a former soccer player and member of "Ukraine Forward" social democratic party, visits a polling station during the parli
Andriy Shevchenko, a former soccer player and member of "Ukraine Forward" social democratic party, visits a polling station during the parli

(Reuters) - Former European Footballer of the Year Andriy Shevchenko will swap his boots for golf spikes on Thursday when he makes his debut on the continent's second-tier Challenge Tour.

The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker will compete alongside ex-Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson and former European Tour winner Nick Dougherty at the Kharkov Superior Cup in his native Ukraine.

"This is the first big event for me and of course it is the first event in Ukraine so it's a huge event for golf in this country," Shevchenko said in a news release on Tuesday.

"I have played with many good players in pro-ams but this is different. I hope I play well...but I just want to have a good time and enjoy the week."

The tournament offers a prize fund of 200,000 euros ($265,300) and will be held at the Superior Golf and Spa Resort in Kharkov.

"The course is quite difficult," said former Ukraine forward Shevchenko who was voted European Footballer of the Year in 2004.

"I'm happy with my game at the moment. I know the president of the club, he is a good friend and his daughter has been caddying for me.

"He invited me to come and I had to. It's nice the Challenge Tour have decided to come here."

($1 = 0.7538 euros)

(Writing by Tony Jimenez; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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