England (East) Region
20 Oct 17
Rob Coles (Maylands Golf & Country Club) is already dreaming of earning another chance to play in the PGA Cup.
Coles, 45, was one of 10 Great Britain and Ireland heroes in a 16-10 victory over America at Foxhills Club and Resort.
In terms of points gained, the Essex professional was the top performer on either side, securing no less than four from his five matches.
It was a week that Coles – a seasoned campaigner with almost 400 European Tour appearances to his name – will never forget.
With his wife Sinead and two young sons watching on, Rob played some dazzling golf. Partnering Greig Hutcheon in the Saturday morning fourballs, he made no less than eight birdies with his own ball.
As the rain fell on Saturday afternoon, he and Andy Raitt proved a superb foursomes partnership for the second successive day. They closed out victory on the final green and anyone present will have seen just how much of a buzz Coles got from playing in the PGA Cup as he gave his partner a huge hug in celebration.
“It was very special,” said Coles, reflecting on his PGA Cup debut. “It brings a smile to the face and a lump to the throat. I’d imagine that won’t change for a long time.
“It was so different to what I’d done in my career. There are not a lot of things that I’ve got such a thrill out of doing.
“Thinking about it, that is the highlight of my career – especially with my family there at the weekend...and being able to be part of that team.
“Everyone just gelled. I don’t remember one cross word.”
That special team atmosphere – and the fact that the week went like clockwork for GB and I – is something Coles feels captain Albert MacKenzie and his two right-hand men, Martyn Thompson and Cameron Clark, deserve a lot of credit for.
“They were the masterminds behind the whole thing,” added Coles. “They prepared for every eventuality and were fantastic.”
If there is a tinge of sadness for Coles, it is that MacKenzie’s Foxhills stars will never compete together again.
But, as he is also aware, things move on. No doubt he isn’t alone among his team-mates when it comes to thinking about being part of GB and I’s bid to win the PGA Cup for a third successive time.
“I can’t believe that anyone of the 10 that played doesn’t want to be on a plane to America in two years’ time,” is Coles’ take. “I’m certainly one that wants to. It crossed my mind before I went to Foxhills – I never wanted to be a one-time PGA Cup player.
“I didn’t know how good it would be but now I know. I’ll try my best. If it’s not good enough, fine. But I’ll be trying my best to get in it – 100 per cent.”
In the more immediate future, Coles will be one of the East region trio contesting the PGA Play-Offs at Walton Heath from October 30-November 1.
He won the Order of Merit for a second successive year and will be joined in the prestigious end-of-season event by Stuart Brown (Thorpe Wood) and Glen Portelli (Old Fold Manor).
Coles, who finished second to Matt Cort at Saunton almost a year ago, assessed: “I know it’s going to be tough with so many good players.
“Last year I had a terrible start – I think I shot four or five-over in the first round at Saunton and then managed to come back. This year I’ll look to start a little bit better!”