The American Golf 9 Hole Championship Final came to its conclusion over four 9-hole rounds on the Brabazon Course at the Belfry Golf Club last weekend. The title of 9 Hole Champion went to Luke Eustace and partner Mark Kelly of Selby Golf Club who beat Broome Manor’s Ruddle brothers, Tom and Sam, 3&1 in the Grand Final.
Along with the prestigious national title, the Yorkshire golfers have won a holiday in the Bahamas and a round of golf with Paul McGinley. On accepting the American Golf 9 Hole Championship Trophy from Sky Sports presenter Rob Lee, Eustace commented, “I hope that this doesn’t show that I’ve had a dull life, but it’s easily up there with the best weeks I’ve ever had. We’ll definitely be spreading the word about the American Golf event for next year.”
20 pairs competed over two rounds of 9 Hole golf using betterball stableford scoring off ¾ handicap with the four highest scoring pairs over the 2 rounds progressing to the semi-final matchplay and subsequent matchplay Grand Final. Kelly and Eustace’s semi-final encounter went right down to the wire, securing victory on the last hole before taking on Swindon brothers Sam and Tom Ruddle in the final.
Kelly and Eustace were first out the blocks, taking an early two shot lead, which, as Kelly explains, was vital, “Because of the short format and the early lead, we really settled in and we never felt like we were losing.” With the stakes rising, the pressure on the amateur golfers was intense, particularly with the Sky TV cameras on site and the support of the crowds who followed the players over their final 9.
Kelly and Eustace kept their cool with Eustace hitting arguably the shot of the Final on the 7th rescuing his ball from the sand to sink a great birdie putt to go 2 up with 2 to play. The pair then took the momentum into the next, winning the hole to secure their victory 3 & 1.
The American Golf 9 Hole Championship has proven to be incredibly popular, with a fantastic turn out at the qualifying events. Both Mark and Luke enjoyed the shorter format as it challenges the way in which you approach your game, “Normally over 18 you have to plan & study where to pick your shots whereas it’s a bit more fast & furious over 9 holes.”
“The golf this weekend has been really good fun to watch,” commented Daniel Gathercole Head of Marketing at American Golf. “It’s been exciting to see our ideas come to life and to realise that there is a real opportunity for us to grow the game by introducing new formats and reaching out to different types of golfers. We’re already making plans for 2016 which will appeal to an even wider range of people.”