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Gorleston golfers James and Chadd win national title in Portugal

16:00 14 February 2013

David James and James Chadd HowDidiDo champions in Vilamoura, Portugal.

David James and James Chadd HowDidiDo champions in Vilamoura, Portugal.

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Gorleston Golf Club

The finals of the 2012 HowDidiDo Pairs National Championship finally arrived for James Chadd and David James last week as they departed for the sunshine of the Algarve to compete against five other pairs of finalists from around the UK.

Five rounds of better ball matchplay over five different courses was the challenge for the week, which began on the Monday at the Laguna course. The pair put their limited course knowledge to good use, recording a resounding 7&6 win against a pair from County Durham.

Tuesday saw the players travel 30 kilometres to the Faldo course, designed by Sir Nick Faldo.

Another sound performance resulted in a 5&4 victory over a pair from Bognor Regis, who had won their regional qualifying event in the autumn.

The Old Course at Vilamoura was the test for the players on Wednesday, as Chadd and James faced a plus one and a seven handicap pair from Dundee. After a thrilling match which was all square with only the 18th to play, James and David prevailed again by winning the last for a one-hole victory. They had to face their sternest challenge on the Thursday against the Minchinhampton Golf Club pair who had also amassed three wins from three matches.

With the outcome of the whole tournament resting on the result of this match at the Millennium course, all four players knew that a poor performance would end their chances of glory.

Throughout the match there was never more than one hole separating the pairs, although the Gorleston pair couldn’t gain an advantage and still trailed by the single hole with four to play. A mistake from their opponents on the 15th meant that the match was all square with three to play and after halving the 16th, David made a birdie on the 17th to gain the lead for the first time in the match.

James’s approach to the final green finished a very satisfying 3ft from the hole to complete a hard-fought victory by two holes.

With the competition safely won, James and David were able to enjoy the final round at the Victoria course, home of the Portugal Masters tournament, although still intent on maintaining their unblemished record.

A 4&2 victory was their reward for another good performance and the jubilant pair were honoured to receive a well-deserved ovation from their fellow competitors at the gala presentation dinner on the Friday evening, before flying back to a decidedly cold England on Saturday evening.

After taking a few well-earned weeks away from competitive golf, the successful pair will next be in action at the East Anglian Men’s Open Foursomes at Hunstanton in April, before completing their entries for the 2013 HowDidiDo tournament along with over 800 hopeful pairs from across the country all hoping to battle through the qualifying rounds.

Also celebrating a nap hand were the team representing Gorleston in the first round of this year’s Mail on Sunday National Golf Classic when they entertained Beccles and romped to a convincing 5-0 victory, which was in stark contrast to last season when the match between the two teams was decided by a marathon play-off between the final pairing.

With this in mind captain Ivan Harvey gave the responsibility of the final match to Danny Western should a repeat arise. However, any concerns soon evaporated as all of the Gorleston team secured victories in their respective matches and the team now look forward to the second round draw.

Both the Men’s and Ladies Monthly Medals went ahead as scheduled. Eighty-nine players competed in the Men’s competition and the early starters found the course frozen in places which did not help the scoring, emphasised by the fact that two of the three divisional winners Richard Reynolds (Division 1) and Tony Stanley (Division 3) were afternoon starters. Huge credit therefore to Steven Stone whose disciplined nett 71 in the morning gave him the fully deserved Second Division prize.

Weather conditions in midweek for the Ladies Medal were truly appalling according to Vice-Captain Rosemary Woodhouse and only a small band of hardy ladies played the full 18 holes whilst the remainder sought the shelter of the clubhouse.

Given the conditions, immense credit has to go to Pauline Phillips for returning a score of nett 74; a full 11 shots ahead of runner-up Myra Lane.

The Ladies did manage to play a ‘Yellow Ball’ team Stableford competition without hindrance from the winter weather the previous week, with the team of Maureen Dark, Andrée Bloomfield and Victoria Watson enjoying success after finishing with 75 points, narrowly beating Gail Chapman, Vicki Peake and Maureen Duckett by one point.

Another fine performance from the Ladies Winter League team in the penultimate match of the season against Southwold with two wins and a halved match gives the team a total of 17 points from a possible 24, with the final match scheduled for Monday February 18 at Halesworth.

The first round draws for this year’s Daily Mail Foursomes has given the men’s pairing of Arthur Fellingham and Peter Langford a bye, while Andrée Bloomfield and Maureen Duckett, representing the ladies, have to travel to Costessey Park near Norwich for their first match.

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