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Men's Singles (CONGU Active)

Men's Pairs (CONGU Active)

Mixed Pairs (CONGU Active
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The Plate Event

2012 Grand Final The Els Club, Dubai

The Matchplay Championship Grand Final comes to a close as competitors scorch
The Els Club

After three thrilling rounds of competitive golf that featured record-breaking scores and a hole-in-one, the 2012 Matchplay Championship winners were finally crowned at The Els Club in Dubai. Despite a five shot lead entering the final round it was never going to be easy for Ryan Gaskins and Joe Higgs, as the soaring heat and the championship course finally took its toll on the pair from Minchinhampton Golf Club in Gloucestershire. They struggled on the front-nine in the Men’s Pairs event and by the 9th tee their lead had completely vanished, as they stood level on points with their nearest rivals overnight, Chris Scott-Douglas and Mike Ankers from The Midlands. However, a gritty back-nine performance of 21 points was enough to see them home by one point from Andy Brown and Paul Oliver, after the pair from Bognor Regis had stormed through the field with 44 points in the better-ball stableford format.

“We’re delighted. We made it difficult for ourselves but pulled it together on the back-nine,” commented Higgs, Men’s Pairs Champion. “We did struggle up the last hole, making bogey, but it turned out to be crucial as we won by just a single stroke!”

The Men’s Singles was won by Paul Llewellyn from Tamworth, who had a comfortable lead entering the final round after some great golf over the first two days. He was never going to be caught and produced another solid round of 40 points to hold off good friend and 6-handicapper James Voce, who produced what was arguably the round of the tournament, as the South-Cheshire native went round in 70 strokes (-2 under par) and 43 stableford points.

“I played great,” noted Llewellyn. “It was really hot out there today, but with the lead I had I knew I just needed to play solid. James had a great score today and I’m delighted we could make it a 1-2 finish between the two of us.”

Much like the Men’s Pairs earlier in the day, the Mixed Pairs event turned into dog-fight, as overnight leaders Paul and Deirdre O’Brien, 2nd placed Peter and Kathy Clement, and 3rd placed Ben and Gillian Brooks battled it out for the title. With 36 points the O’Brien’s fell into 3rd place, leaving the other two pairs to battle it out. Gillian Brooks, a 4-handicap who resides in Woking, Surrey, produced a stunning stretch of birdies through the second, third, and fourth holes, but it was her final birdie at the par-5 finishing hole that snatched victory from the Clements’. The Brooks’ final round of 43 points was a phenomenal effort considering they entered the day four strokes off the O’Briens’ overnight lead.

“This has arguably been the greatest Matchplay Championship in tournament history. We’ve been treated to some extraordinary golf,” commented John Woosey, Managing Director, The JRW Group, which organises the event. “All of the players have had a great time. That is testament to the first class teams at both The Els Club and the Courtyard by Marriott Dubai hotel, where the service and hospitality has been nothing short of superb. We can’t wait to return to Dubai next year!”

Perfect weather has been a feature throughout the week as the 40 finalists, who entered from all over the UK & Ireland, were whisked off for a truly unique amateur golf experience. As the 2012 event comes to a close, the entries for next year’s championship open.

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