Royal County Down – 12th October 2015

The second Regional Qualifying Tournament for the 20th Open Championship took place at Royal County Down. Always ranked amongst the UK's 100 courses (Golf Monthly currently has it at number 2, behind Muirfield) we were presented with perfect golfing conditions, the links were in their usual immaculate condition and head greekeeper Eamon's team could get on with their work with not a squeegee in sight!

After the travelling contingent made merry on the Sunday evening at the very patient Villa Vinci, it was local quality that rose quickly to the surface as first out Paddy Dean (4), a long-time member of Malone Golf Club and who has recently been appointed secretary/manager, returned to the clubhouse with a winning 36pts. Special mention too of his playing partner, another ‘new boy’, Patrick McCrudden, of the newly created golfing conglomerate of Teeofftimes/BRS and who with the benefit of no strokes (0), amassed 31pts. Runner up was the current GCS – Open Champion, Alan Davey – Pyecombe – now playing off his Seniors handicap of 7… with 32pts, who as champion has already ‘qualified’ to defend his title in May 2016 at Royal West Norfolk. The second qualifier was Mark Haskell (4) Teignmouth with 30pts. The final qualifying spot, on countback, went to another loyal supporter, David Owen (10) Poulton Park with 28pts. Congratulations to them all for reaching the Final so quickly.

Our thanks go to our ever diligent and charming host/starter, David Wilson and all his splendid staff (House manager Brian and ‘greeter’ Lenny in particular), who make any visit to County Down a pleasure, not forgetting of course the members who once again so generously allowed us to play our event over their links, returning so quickly after the horrors of 2013. Thank you all; hopefully we will all be back in another 6-7 years!

Thanks too, of course, to all the competitors who in the main had travelled great distances at considerable expense to be with us – despite some of the scores, everyone rated their efforts as being very worthwhile and immensely enjoyable. It was significant that more than one competitor had fewer points on the front nine than in the downpour of two years ago! Better luck next time!

We were joined by a number of the Supporters team: Eddie Comerford from Eagle, Jamie Abbott of intelligentgolf making his debut and the aforementioned Patrick McCrudden of Teeofftimes/BRS, thanks to all for their efforts both on and off the course.