PowerPlay Golf has completed its ‘Awesome Autumn’ – crowning six UK, Irish and South African national champions of the unique two-flag, nine-hole game.
After months of keenly-fought qualifiers at both amateur and professional levels, PowerPlay Golf staged its British and Irish Championships finals at The Belfry, Frilford Heath, Carton House and Powerscourt during an intense three week period.
And the South African PGA recently crowned its first professional two-flag champion in blazing sunshine at Gardener Ross.
At The Belfry’s super-tough Brabazon course on October 15, Moss Valley GC golfer Craig West lifted the very first PowerPlay Golf British Championship trophy with a score of 26 points. The 22-handicapper saw off 23 other golfers to take the title in the grand final of the championships, which had attracted more than 2,000 golfers across the UK.
Said Craig: “I’m overwhelmed – I went for broke with a PowerPlay on the last, and made an 8-point net Eagle to win. Your PowerPlays are really crucial, everything can change if you play well to the Black Flag.”
On the same day, 8 year old 28-handicapper Aadam Syed, from Airlinks GC, conquered the same golf course to become PowerPlay Golf junior champion, topping a field of 12 who had qualified through six events organised by the British Junior Golf Tour.
Two days later the lure of a £34,000 tournament prize fund spurred 27 year old Welsh professional golfer Adam Constable to victory in the inaugural PGA PowerPlay Golf Championship at Frilford Heath GC.
The Cardiff golfer PowerPlayed to the Black Flag on the last and holed an 18-foot birdie putt worth six points in the PowerPlay Shootout to scoop the spoils in the exciting risk and reward format – where birdies or better are worth double points.
Constable lined up in the one-hole shootout over Frilford’s final hole with four points, having finished third in the day’s earlier qualifying sessions. Gavin Lingard (Poult Wood) topped the six finishers to begin the shootout with six points, ahead of Dan Greenwood (Forest Pines) five points, Paul Eastwood (Sundridge Park) three, Danny Taylor (Swingers) two and ex European Tour pro Mark Mouland (Nailcote) one point.
Having nominated the ‘PowerPlay’ Black Flag, Constable and Eastwood both drained long putts to claim birdie and double points to sit on 10 and nine points respectively.
It left the last pair out – Lingard and Greenwood – needing birdies to win, but despite finding the green in two both saw their putts roll by the hole, leaving Constable to be crowned champion with Lingard finishing third behind Eastwood.
Adam, a two-time Welsh Young PGA Professional champion, said: “PowerPlay Golf is the most exciting format of golf we play all year. It’s all about risk and reward and making putts under extreme pressure, particularly when you’re on a PowerPlay.
“We are planning a PowerPlay Golf event at Cardiff Golf Club soon because it’s a format I can see all golfers enjoying.”
Steve Cox, Director of Golf at the PGA, commented: “The PGA PowerPlay Golf Championship was a great success, the format practically guarantees a dramatic finish and provides an excellent forum for our members to demonstrate their skills. I hope the tournament goes from strength to strength and the format continues to be embraced by golf clubs and PGA Members alike.”
In Ireland, Alan Brennan from Powerscourt Golf Club was crowned PowerPlay Golf Irish Champion.
Brennan came out on top of the two thousand club golfers who entered the Championship, sponsored by Adidas Action 3, which culminated in a thrilling final on the magnificent East Course at his home club at Powerscourt in County Wicklow. His score of 25 points edged him home ahead of Richard Shannon 24 points (Carton House).
Meanwhile, Leslie Walker of Dundalk Golf Club was crowned Powerplay Golf Irish PGA Champion at Carton House on a day when Ireland’s top professionals were united in their enthusiasm for the ‘two-flag game’.
Walker, who won the title and €15,000 in dramatic fashion with a brilliantly executed birdie on the final hole of the PowerPlay Shoot-out, was quick to extol the virtues of the format.
“PowerPlay Golf is a fantastic innovation for golf and I am certain it will be huge success here in Ireland. The sport needs something new and I think all the professionals who competed here today loved it,” he said.
72 PGA Professionals competed at the award-winning Montgomerie Course at Carton House. The competitors first had to qualify from a PowerPlay Strokeplay 9-hole event – with 16 golfers making it through to a PowerPlay Shootout event played under intense pressure.
Peter McEvoy OBE, co-founder of PowerPlay Golf, reflected on a landmark few weeks in which PowerPlay Golf champions had been found in the professional and amateur games both in GB&I and also in South Africa – where Wayne Bradley walked away with a 20,000 rand cheque at Gardener Ross and the honour of becoming his country’s very first professional PowerPlay champion.
Said Peter: “To crown six national champions across two continents within the space of a few weeks demonstrates the huge levels of interest in PowerPlay Golf.
“We are delighted with the outcome of our championships and look forward to running them next year with even more countries on board, bringing a truly global aspect to PowerPlay Golf.”
PowerPlay Golf CEO David Hardy summed up the climax to PowerPlay Golf’s first full season: “Our pilot phase has brought us over 75,000 converts worldwide, and some genuinely thrilling tournaments. In 2009 millions of golfers around the world will see PowerPlay Golf on their TV screens, and we are ready to roll the format out into thousands of golf clubs.”
The brand new PowerPlay Golf Live Scoring system, powered by VPAR, was also launched to great acclaim at The Belfry and Frilford Heath,
Find out more about PowerPlay Golf.