PGA Cup call-up is a dream come true for Goodwood boss

Chris McDonnell and his PGA Cup team-mates
Chris McDonnell and his PGA Cup team-mates

Missing out on an unforgettable trip to America for the 2015 PGA Cup was difficult to take for Christopher McDonnell.

The PGA professional, based at Golf At Goodwood, could be forgiven for thinking he had all but guaranteed his place in the Great Britain and Ireland team after winning the PGA professional championship the year before.

But McDonnell missed out on a place in Jon Bevan’s team by just half a point and it was a big blow for the former Challenge Tour player.

As Bevan’s side made history in California by becoming the first GB & Ireland team to win the PGA Cup on American soil, McDonnell could only watch events unfold from back home.But two years later the dream of representing his country will become a reality at Foxhills Resort in September.

Hexham-born McDonnell finished runner-up at this year’s Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship in Ireland last month, which earned him enough points to qualify for this year’s ten-man team.

“It was a bit disappointing to have missed out on the trip to America having won the PGA Professional Championship in 2014,” said McDonnell.

Playing-wise it doesn’t get much bigger than the PGA Cup.

Chris McDonnell

“I missed out last time by half a point so that was disappointing. So the monkey is off my back now and I’ve got some unfinished business.

“The two biggest things you can do as PGA Professional are winning the PGA Professional Championship and playing in the PGA Cup and I will have done both.”

Asked how much he is looking forward to playing for his country against America on home soil, McDonnell continued: “It’s something you can look back on in your career as one of the biggest highlights.

“It’s what your practice for and it’s why you turn into a PGA Professional. Okay you want to teach and ultimately make some money, but playing-wise it doesn’t get much bigger than the PGA Cup.”

McDonnell played on the Challenge Tour and was also a winner on the Alps Tour too, but his biggest achievement in golf so far came in 2014 when he won the coveted PGA Professional Championship at Blairgowrie in Scotland.

He will be joined by 2016 winner David Higgins in what is a very experienced ten-man GB & Ireland team led by Albert MacKenzie.

The team includes no fewer than eight players with European Tour experience, including Damien McGrane, Philip Archer and Garry Houston.

Greig Hutcheon, Matthew Cort and Rob Coles had already booked their place at Foxhills having qualified through the PGA Play-Offs last year.

And they will be joined by Andrew Raitt and the youngest member of the team Christopher Currie.

“We’ve got a really experienced team,” McDonnell added. “We’ve got a few players who have just recently finished playing on tour and we’ve got the likes of myself and a couple of other rookies.

“So it’s a good mix of players and I think we’ve got a really strong team on paper. We’ve got a meeting at the end of July and I imagine the team spirit will start to build then.

“Albert (MacKenie) seems like a really nice chap. It’s the first time I met him in Ireland. He followed me around the course and was giving me a lot of encouragement.

“He’s delighted to have me in the team and I can’t wait to play for him.”

SELSEY

Selsey Golf Club is looking great. The course is green and lush and a joy to play on.

For the ladies’ section, the Hacking Bowl, a 36-hole competition played on two days, is one of their most prestigious competitions.

This year’s overall winner was Beverley Guest, runner-up Hilary Kennedy-Cooke.

Selsey ladies were at home to Chichester Ladies Golf Club. They were lucky with the weather and a good match was won by Chichester.

Bee Ewens held her lady captain’s day. It was a brilliant day involving 16 ladies who enjoyed the golf, including competing for the nearest tee shot to a line marked up the centre of the first and tenth holes, and the nearest shot to the pin on the third and 12th holes.

A raffle which raised a considerable sum for Bee’s charity, the Selsey First Responders. Main prizes were donated by the Selsey Country Club and Trudy Hynes from the Feel Good Factory.

Nearest the line on the first was Hilary Kennedy-Cooke and on the 10th, Carol Wheeler. The nearest the pin prizes were won by Judy Sharpe and Meg Mearns.

The winner of the Lady Captain’s Prize was Sharon Williams, who was presented with a golf holdall. Runner-up was Barbara Winter.

The ladies had a wonderful day and many thanks went to Bee for her efforts.

BOGNOR

Bognor’s 125th anniversary celebrations continued with am-am day. There was a superb field of 35 teams – 140 people.

There were several visiting teams with six from Littlehampton led by captain Bill Hoal’s team.

Prizegiving was conducted in a full marquee and the winning team were Rob Holland, Shaun Maskell, Tim Jacob and Gary Maskell with 123 points.

Norman Horton was thanked for being starter and staying on to do the cards.

Next day brought the Men’s Auction Supper, sponsored by Richard Longhurst of Henry Adams. With 50 men attending it was a great evening.

A high/low draw was carried out by and pairs were auctioned off. Ian Pettie was the auctioneer.

Richard Hendrick and Sean Maginnis did the admin and Miller Stevenson and Norman Horton helped.

The winners were Gary Maskell and Mick Oliver with 47 points, beating Richard Longhurst and Willie Dunn into second place on countback.

The Saturday night gala dinner was a highlight of the week for 200 guests, featuring cocktails, a magician, dinner, music and fireworks Ladies’ captain Wendy Johnson put her heart and soul into the event.

The Fun Day Finalecame the next day and a field of 120-plus in teams of four attempted the various rules for each hole. Most people got a confused and got one wrong, but everyone had a great day.

Geoff Swain, the trick shot artist, then entertained all present and £100 was raised for the captain’s charity.

The competition was won by Rob Holland, Kevin Holland, Andrew Clegg and Jon Brown with 91 points. The winners received engraved stonework sponsored by vice-captain Rob Holland.

Nicki Vincent, Richard Hendrick and Jane Russell organised the event.

This was a fitting end to a wonderful week.

Club captain Norman Lee presented flowers and thanked people who had played a part in the week.

Bognor beat Worthing 3-1 at home in the quarter-finals of the Sussex County Blakes competition. The team consisted of Norman Lee, Roy Kempson, Chris Jenkinson, Roland Heath, Simon Watts, John Cable, Peter Lott and David Chalmers.

Bognor go on to play The Nevill GC in the semi-final at Seaford GC on Monday, July 24.

Bognor juniors played the first of the Friday-evening competitions, the Jasmine Cup, which is sponsored by the Taylor family following the passing-away of previous sponsor Derek Howse.

The course was in magnificent condition and the weather made for consistent scoring. The winner was Charlie Maginnes with a great 39 points off his 24 handicap. Thomas Hendrick was runner-up by one point. Third was Charlie Broggi. The trophy was presented by Kirk Taylor.

Bognor’s Katie Field has been selected to represent Sussex girls in county match week at Royal Winchester GC. She joins eight other girls for three days intense matchplay competitions against four other counties, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and Middlesex.

The teams are made up of some of the best girls in the south and Sussex are hoping to go one better than their runners-up spot last year.

Field is one of four Bognor juniors who have represented Sussex county at junior level and has also been part of the England south-east team over the past 12 months.

CHICHESTER

Sixteen ladies took part in the senior club championships, held over two days with a Stableford round on each of the two courses.

The winner was Judith Whittaker with 74 points. Runner-up was Yvonne Dunckley with 73.

On a sunny day, 45 ladies played a Waltz for a variety of super prizes on the Annual Captain’s Day. The competition was held on the Tower course and with a three-tee start it was a great success. After the round 48 ladies enjoyed a buffet lunch in the marquee.

A total of £1,033 was raised for the Cinnamon Trust through the raffle and ball auction.

Results: 1 Jan Barnes, Bev Seymour and Angela Perkins 90 (ocb); 2 Yvonne Dunckley, Val Swain, and Jane Buckley 90; 3 Hannah Stephens, Pam Hart and Maureen Selway 88.

The ladies played against the Vets for the Hunston Salver and won 5½-2½. This was a great result and broke the vets’ winning streak after five years.

Other results: 9-hole qualifier - 1 Lesly Hance 21, 2 Jane Buckley 17, 3 Mo Davison 16. Qualifying Stableford - 1 Pam Muller 36, 2 Lisa Jackson 36, 3 Vena Lee 33. Medal - 1 Marie Conner 75, 2 Kim Wells 78.

COWDRAY PARK

Cowdray seniors’ matches against Blackmoor have always been closely-fought, and this home fixture was no exception.

Blackmoor had won narrowly at home to Cowdray in March and the return was played in perfect golfing weather, with the course in beautiful condition and the greens running true.

Cowdray suffered an early setback as match manager John Doran and partner Colin Tebbutt lost five of the early holes before launching a minor recovery to be three down at the turn. They eventually went down 5&4.

This was quickly offset by Cowdray’s Richard Burden and low-handicapper Paul Owen, who led from the off and ran out 6&5 winners.

Next, in-form Allen Sibley and partner Gary Strowbridge scored a good victory against the Blackmoor low-handicapper Nigel Jennings and his partner to put Cowdray one up.

Then, despite good golf from the Cowdray pairings, the next three games were all won by Blackmoor as they surged into a 4-2 lead.

A strong Cowdray fightback followed as Dave Fowler and Phil Singer won, with Singer successfully holing a pressure putt to win on the 18th green.

Up stepped Cowdray heroes Alan Robinson and George Crouch, who fought hard to win and rescue a 4-4 draw in the final game.

Results: John Doran & Colin Tebbutt lost 5&4; Paul Owen & Richard Burden won 6&5; Allen Sibley & Gary Strowbridge won 2&1; Mike Hughes and Tony Sapsworth lost 2&1; Terry Adsett & Ian Fiander lost 3&2;Robin Phillips &Barry Overington lost 2&1; Dave Fowler & Phillip Singer won 1up; Alan Robinson & George Crouch won 3&2.

Forty-four Cowdray ladies played in the England Golf four-ball better-ball competition played as a Stableford – with entry fees going to the county juniors. The ladies entered in pairs with a 90 per cent handicap allowance.

Results - 1 Jill Parry and Jo Fife 40pts; 2 Pat White and Linda Doney 39; 3 Carolyn Scott and Polly Sullivan 37.

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