The Golf Care Matchplay Championship, the UK’s largest amateur golf event, did not disappoint, after a pulsating third and final day of action concluded at the world-renowned Els Club in Dubai.
The event, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, was the scene of some spectacular golf from the competitors, including a final round score of 45 stableford points from new Men’s Pairs Champions, Mervin and Michael Hehir from County Clare in Ireland.
The brothers, won by the narrowest of margins, with a count-back deciding the title after they tied on 119 points with overnight leaders, Martin Firth and Andrew Taylor. Meanwhile, Paul Llewellyn defended his title in the Men’s Singles event with a one shot victory over South African native, Maartens van Rensburg.
In the Mixed Pairs, Martin Pyke and Anne Wheble stormed to victory, eventually finishing ten shots clear of husband and wife pairing, David and Tracey Morris, with 118 points.
“I can’t believe it. We got off to a fast-start today, with a par at the first and a birdie at the second. After that it’s all a bit hazy, but I guess you could say we were in the zone. Although when we dropped a shot on the closing hole, a par-5, I thought we may have blown it,” noted Mervin Hehir.
“The Live Scoring element made it very tense coming in, because there was pressure on every shot. You knew exactly where you stood and what you had to do to win. Overall, the tournament has been great and the facilities here at The Els Club and at the JW Marriott Marquis are truly world-class. The people are so accommodating and friendly; they really cannot do enough for you. We’ve had a fantastic time and couldn’t have asked for more.”
Paul Llewellyn, who won the inaugural Men’s Singles title last year, proved himself to be one of the country’s most accomplished handicap amateur golfers by retaining it in 2013. “This feels great. Defending the title means a lot to me. It was a bit of a battle today and I really struggled with my iron play, hitting a couple of shanks to throw me off.
"However, I managed to stay in front and that was really important, mentally. I found myself in a match-play situation with Maartens on the back-nine and despite three-putting the last hole, I knew that I had done enough.”
Martin Pyke, from Dartford Golf Club, who completed a comprehensive victory with playing partner, Anne Wheble, noted, “We got off to a good start; I had three-points on the first hole. Then Anne birdied the third and fourth to give us a bit of breathing room, but then we had a bit of a wobble towards the middle of the round, dropping shots on the ninth and tenth – both of which are shot holes for us.
"Anne steadied the ship with another birdie on the 13th though and that really spurred us on. The Matchplay Championship has been a great experience. The golf club is fantastic and it’s been a real treat to be here. The people are just so helpful and we really can’t fault anything about our time here in Dubai, we’ll definitely be back next year to defend our title!”
The Golf Care Matchplay Championship continues to set a significant standard for amateur golf tournaments, following three thrilling rounds of competitive golf at The Els Club. The tournament whisks forty amateur golfers from the UK to Dubai, where they not only competed at The Els Club, but basked in 5-star hospitality at the world’s tallest dedicated hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.
“We’re delighted to be associated with the Golf Care Matchplay Championship. This is our first full year of operation and hence, our first involvement with the tournament, but from start-to-finish we have been impressed by the organisation of the event staff and the sheer enthusiasm of the competitors,” commented Rupprecht Queitsch, General Manager of the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.
“It has been a resounding success for all involved and we’re pleased that the competitors have found the hotel and its array of amenities the ideal place to unwind away from the course. Congratulations to all the winners, we hope they enjoy a few days off in Dubai before travelling back to the UK.”
As the 2013 event draws to a close, the entries for next year’s championship remain open. For further details on the Golf Care Matchplay Championship or to enter the 2013/2014 event, please visit: www.matchplaychampionship.co.uk.