Determined Chris Wall lived up to his name when his opponents couldn’t break him down in the prestigious national HowDidiDo National Matchplay Championship, at the world-class Quinta do Lago resort, Portugal.
Wall, a 10-handicapper, from Middlesbrough GC, took the singles title for the second time, having won it originally back in 2011. In five rounds of matchplay golf on the Algarve, he lost just once, in the opening round-robin leg against Bearwood Lakes’ Peter Jones – a reverse for which he gained ample revenge in the final, where he beat Jones resoundingly, 6&5, to take the title.
Wall said: “The courses were to die for; they very pleasing to the eye – very tough but fair and the camaraderie between all the participants was fantastic all week. The organisation of the event was absolutely fantastic too, second to none. Not everyone will make it to the final, but I would encourage people to make the effort to take part in the qualifying rounds. It was such a worthwhile experience … and you never know.”
He was just one of 32 golfers from across the UK who received an expenses-paid trip to play in the grand final at the world-class Quinta do Lago resort grand final, which featured four competitions: singles, pairs, mixed pairs and senior pairs, for those aged 50 or more.
Irish duo and lifelong friends Tom Muldoon (17 handicap) and Kevin Commins (four), from Warrenpoint GC, near Newry, cruised to victory in the pairs event winning all of their contests – including returns of 8&6, 7&5, and 6&5.
Publican Muldoon modestly gave much of the credit to his partner. He said: “Kevin’s ball striking was immense all week and my putting was particularly good for the first four days. But my fondest memories will be of making some amazing new friends and just having a great laugh all week.
“The venue was fantastic, the courses were presented very well and the greens were excellent given the amount of rain Portugal had.”
In the mixed pairs, Bondhay GC’s Stephen Cammack (six) and Susan Clark (11) also won all five of their matches to take the title convincingly, beating last year’s champions, Eileen McMullan and Gary Catt, from Yorkshire, twice in the process.
Cammack said: “We only three-putted twice all week which was a good achievement given how fast the greens were. We have a great handicap combination of six and 11 which works really well. The courses we played were superb and the greens were fantastic.”
The winning seniors pair, Barry Roe (10) and Stuart Jones (12) – both committee members at Pype Hayes GC, in the West Midlands – halved their first encounter before winning the remaining four to emerge victorious.
Roe put their success down to “both playing well at different times throughout the week”. He added: “The organisation was absolutely fantastic, and the courses were great. We particularly enjoyed playing Laranjal. The whole thing was a great experience; our fellow competitors helped make it very enjoyable and we are looking forward to trying to qualify for next year.”
All 32 qualifiers received complimentary return flights to Faro, six-nights’ accommodation at the stunning, four-star Monte da Quinta Club, on the Quinta do Lago estate, and five days’ golf on the renowned South and Laranjal courses. The popular annual competition is open to any golfer who is a member of an affiliated club with an officially recognised handicap.
HowDidiDo’s database now holds in excess of 21 million rounds of golf along with the handicaps, results and scores of more than 1,300,000 UK golf club members. It is now arguably the largest and most up-to-date database of golfers in Europe.
What’s more, the brand is also the driving force behind two of the best supported amateur golf events in the UK: the annual Titleist Order of Merit – the largest golf event of its kind in the country – and the HowDidiDo National Matchplay Championship.
It is also currently engaged in a widespread campaign with the BOSS Watches H1 Club to reward all its registered golfers with a luxury timepiece should they record a hole-in-one during an official club competition. Since the programme launched in April 2013, more than 2,500 HowDidiDo golfers have already received a limited-edition watch worth £225.