A long, hard day of pairs golf ended with a win for the DevonGolf Seniors in the Southern Counties Foursomes qualifier over Somerset and Gloucestershire at Weston-Super-Mare.
Hosted superbly by both Somerset Golf and Weston-Super-Mare Golf Club, the event kicked off at 8.45 in the morning with the first session of triangular matches - thankfully the heavy early morning rain having decided to stop at the perfect time.
DevonGolf got off to a strong start, winning all 5 of their morning matches against Somerset, and after losing the top 2 against Gloucester took 2½ points from the remaining 3. The pairings of Captain Colin Papworth and Tim Aggett and of Tony Allsopp and Richard Ward racked up double wins, whilst Phil Lyons and Paul Vicary scored 1½ from their two games.
Lunching with a 2½ point lead over Gloucestershire, 7½ to 5, felt a comfortable place to be, but in this format things can change very abruptly as the afternoon would show.
No pair play the same folk twice in this format so for the afternoon Papworth and Aggett led off. They again secured a win over Somerset, but lost out to some fantastic play from Gloucester’s Dave Williams and Steve Yorke. Peter Bicknell and Paul Newcombe came back from a tough morning to record a double win taking DevonGolf to 10½ match points, at which stage it looked as though DevonGolf were cruising.
In the middle DevonGolf were struggling, neither Andre Hogan and Dave Eva or the Lyons/Vicary pairings able to put a point on the board in the face of excellent play from the opposition. Crucially, Somerset’s 2nd and 3rd pairs defeated their Gloucester counterparts, denying the Gloucester boys key points as they chased Devon. But it was still really close and the last match would decide everything.
With noses in front in both games playing the par five, the whole event was finished by a fantastic birdie putt on 17 from birthday boy Ward, giving he and Allsopp another double win session and confirming DevonGolf's qualification for the finals.
The final takes place at Exeter Golf & Country Club in September. The 3 other qualifiers take place over July and August featuring 12 other counties in the South East and East Anglia. Details are on the South East Group website.