Royal Porthcawl – 26th October 2015

Our trip to South Wales got off to an excellent start with a large travelling contingent testing the language skills (Indian/Welsh) of the waiters at 'Jaipur', but despite their best efforts we had a cracking evening, in turn resulting in a spill or two on the way home...

The next day dawned brightish and dry for the fourth Regional Qualifying Tournament for the Golf Club Secretary – 20th Open Championship which was played over the historic links at Royal Porthcawl in what one competitor described as ‘brutal’ conditions! It wasn’t that bad, but it certainly was tough on a dry and windy (three club breeze) challenging day.

Despite a number of late withdrawals, due to illness a sizeable field was assembled on the first tee.

Yet again the man in form came out on top Alan Davey (7) Pyecombe topped the leaderboard with 31pts (can he make it three in a row at East Devon!?), this leaving plenty of room for the lower orders to qualify for the Final at Royal West Norfolk next May. Runner-up was the ailing but brave Tim Aggett (1) Staddon Heights with 30pts on countback from a gallant and battling Neill Ellice (13) Ipswich and like Tim, without whom a Final field would not be complete. Fourth, also on 30pts, was another previous qualifier, David Owen (10) Poulton Park. Fifth and sixth were Mark Haskell (4) Teignmouth also with 30 pts and Martin Gillett, with 28pts, both previous qualifiers, then came Tarah McNaughton (8) Teeofftimes/BRS, in her first outing in the Championship, also with 28pts – thanks to some brilliant bunker play. Paul Corker (8) Hesketh came next with 27pts but will be on honeymoon with Julia when the Final takes place (congratulations in advance!). Down in 9th place – but qualifying…. never give up (!?) was Scott Ballentine (10) Royal Worlington & Newmarket with 27pts. The final qualifying place went to Marc Newey (14) Roehampton with 26pts. Our congratulations to them all for their play and persistence.

The ‘team’ at Porthcawl under host secretary Michael Newland was exemplary – nothing was too much trouble and ‘lunch’ with accompanying wines a real treat – thank you.

Our thanks too to the Captain and Members of the Club for allowing us the privilege of playing their spectacular links. Fingers crossed we will be back, in years to come.

Finally to the supporters without whom the Championship would not exist, especially Barry Gibbs of insuractive. Richard Dixon of the Golf Union of Wales, who joined us for lunch. Chris O’Hagan of Golf Monthly (whose videos on slow play have met with much appreciation and have already been circulated to the members of many of our subscriber’s Clubs). Tammy Hewins and m/d Jamie Abbott of intelligentgolf who produce perfect scores! To Philip Vince, back at base engraving and packing, for the prizes, and to Eagle for the greatly admired and informative scorecards. Thank you one and all.

On to East Devon for tea…