The TGI Golf Partnership regained the Ashworth Cup after defeating rivals Foremost Golf in another ‘Duel in the Sun’ at Turnberry.
With the sun shining and the wind howling on the Scottish coast, TGI Golf -Europe’s leading golf retail services group, owned by PGA Professionals – edged a see-saw battle by just two points as the iconic Ailsa Course witnessed some exceptional golf from both teams.
Leading 3.5 – 2.5 following the first day’s foursomes the TGI team, captained by Ranfurly Castle pro Tom Eckford, sealed victory in the singles when Michael Brooks from Malton & Norton Golf Club rolled in a putt for par at the par 5 17th to win the penultimate match against Tom Bolton (Gatley) and seal victory.
Victorious skipper Eckford said: “It is hard to put into words the way I felt when that putt went in, it was a real mixture of elation and relief. It was such an up and down day, a range of emotions and quite hard to deal with at times as that was the first time I’ve been on a golf course and felt totally and utterly useless, with no control over what was happening, just willing every putt to drop and every drive to be safe.”
This is the third time TGI Golf and Foremost have contested the Ashworth Cup, where 12 PGA Professionals from each group contest a Ryder Cup style match at a prestigious golfing venue. TGI Golf has now won two to Foremost’s one.
With only a point between the two teams going into the final day singles it was Foremost who took command early on, winning the first three games in convincing style with Geoff Berry (Bromborough) defeating Peter Hanna (Lurgen) 3&1, former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker (South Staffordshire) beating Stephen Hamill (Lisburn) 3&2, while Nick Cook (Elfordleigh) saw off Craig Ronald (Carluke) 5&4.
Downfield pro Kenny Hutton arrested the slide for TGI Golf with an emphatic 7&5 win over Lee Jackson (North Oxford) and Richard Lambert (Crosland Heath) edged a close match with Mark Allen (Eaton) on the final hole.
Matthew Paget (Royal Mid-Surrey) lost a tightly fought match against Nevil Bland (Brocton Hall) on the 18th, before Andy Crerar (Panmure) picked up the TGI Golf momentum again when he settled on a half with Darren Parris (North Foreland) having forfeited the ninth hole when his ball moved on the green, wiping out his one-hole lead.
Paul Jamieson (Dunblane New) and Brendan McGovern (Headfort) secured another two valuable points with wins over Craig Swinburn (Riverbank Driving Range) and Kevin Stables (Elgin) respectively.
Robert Giles (Greenore) produced a bunker shot of sheer brilliance at 17 on his way to securing a half against Sam Cairns (ColvillePark). With his ball seemingly in an impossible position up against the face of the bunker, Giles managed to lift the ball out onto the green and then holed the 15ft putt for par, leaving Cairnswith a 10ft putt to halve the hole, which was missed.
The stage was set for Brooks to seal the win for TGI Golf and with the match over Barrie Stevens (BeauDesert) – although 1-up against John King (Lindrick) – agreed to half the match to make the final score TGI Golf 10, Foremost Golf 8.
Tom Eckford added: “The boys were absolutely sensational from the moment we arrived on Sunday until we left on Wednesday. The team spirit was amazing, but I think that epitomises everything about TGI Golf Partners – when we do something we do it to the best of our abilities, all pulling together to help and ensure it is done in the right way.”
Eddie Reid, TGI Golf Partnership Managing Director, added: “These guys all come together to contest the Ashworth Cup, but if you remove the badges they are all PGA Professionals. The way they deal with each other, the sponsors and everyone involved is nothing short of a credit to their profession.
“I’d like to thank Ashworth for their continued sponsorship of this event, for making it such a prestigious match and one everyone at the TGI Golf Partnership and Foremost looks forward to contesting.”
Graeme Morton, TaylorMade-adidas Golf and Ashworth Trade Marketing Manager, said: “The competition was keenly fought again this year but most importantly, played in a fantastic spirit that showed the great mutual respect that TGI Golf and Foremost have for one another. The strength of the relationship between both groups was in evidence throughout the contest and I would like to congratulate TGI Golf on their win, but also both captains and the individual players, they were a credit to themselves