Once again, the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship at Nailcote Hall featured top golf, star names and first-class entertainment. European Senior Tour star Barry Lane held off former Open champion Paul Lawrie OBE to emerge victorious in the Pro-Am Championship with a score of -5, taking home the top prize of £25,000.
Hosted by two-time Major winner Tony Jacklin CBE, the Championship began with a day of Celeb-Am action with a host of stars out on course including Ashes-winning cricketer Jonny Bairstow, Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel MBE, former Westlife singer Brian McFadden, and Olympians Derek Redmond and Mark Foster.
Fresh from his Ashes triumph, Bairstow entertained fans with an exclusive Q&A session about England’s incredible victory and the upcoming Test at The Oval. Sky Sports pundit Alan McInally won the first Celeb-Am day with a score of three-over-par, while the leading team was Social Golfer with a score of -9. The day concluded with a lavish welcome ball hosted by comedian Dominic Holland.
The Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship is one of the few events in golf where male and female players compete side-by-side. Some of the great names who lined up for the Pro-Am included Tommy Horton MBE, Gary Wolstenholme MBE and Des Smyth, as well as Ladies European Tour stars Carly Booth, Alex Peters and Charley Hull.
A number of international golfers also came to test their ability against the challenging Cromwell Course including Miguel Ángel Martín, Santiago Luna, Marc-Antoine Farry, Franklyn Stephenson, Tony Johnstone, Tim Thelen, Larry Laoretti and Byron Casper.
As the sun shone on Nailcote Hall and record crowds poured through the gates, Barry Lane led after the first day, though short-game specialist Lawrie trailed by just three strokes. In the evening, all the players and guests were invited to a players’ ball which featured live entertainment from 15-year-old opera singer Faith Tucker and comedy pianist Kev Orkian.
Conditions were more challenging the following day, but that did not stop European Senior Tour star Gary Wolstenholme from equalling the course record with a blistering round of -8. Charley Hull also made an early charge in the final round, but in the end, it all came down to Lane and Lawrie. The pair battled it out right up to the final hole, but Lane held his nerve to defeat the former Open champion by a single stroke.
“The course was fantastic,” said Lane “Paul didn’t make it easy, especially towards the end but I was confident that I could hold on. It is a wonderful tournament and I’d love to come back to defend my title next year.”
13-year-old Jack Drury won the Norma C Herd Silver Salver for leading amateur, Carl Mason took home the Super Senior prize for the leading competitor over 60, while Lane also won the prize for the best team with his playing partner David Nelson.
The Championship, organised by Champions (UK) plc, concluded with a second Celeb-Am tournament which featured the F1 pairing of Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill OBE, as well as Coronation Street star William Roache MBE, and most-capped England footballer Peter Shilton OBE. Once again, Alan McInally emerged victorious with a score of +5, while the leading team was Tiger Foods who finished on -8.
The final Charity Gala Ball – raising valuable funds for Rainbows Hospice for Children & Young People – concluded proceedings in what was a truly first-class week of golfing action at Nailcote Hall. The Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship will be back next year on the earlier dates of 26-29 July 2015. www.britishpar3.com
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