06 Nov 18
Playing to the accompaniment of retorts and the rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire from an adjacent military rifle range, the duos from The Heath and Otley Golf Clubs called the shots in the opening round of the SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge in Mallorca.
And just as both pairs amassed 39 Stableford points following the first of two negotiations of the Sol Muntaner course at Golf Arabella, each of the two PGA Professionals were indebted to the efforts of their amateur partners.,
Reflecting on the performance of Liam Delaney, the captain of Heath Golf Club in Co. Laois, Ireland, Mark O’Boyle, said: “He played really well.
“He was quick out of the traps straight away. I had to hang on to his coat tails. I was there in the background – I wasn’t really needed. I sat back and watched it happen. Hopefully I can chip in tomorrow and give him a rest.”
O’Boyle is no stranger to national finals, having played in the Virgin Atlantic-sponsored PGA National Pro-Am Championship showpiece in Cancun, Mexico, six years ago.
Similarly, Steve Tomkinson (right), the head PGA Professional at Otley Golf Club in Yorkshire, has previous in this competition as a result of playing in the final in Bahrain in 2005.
“It’s little bit different to Bahrain,” he said. “It’s not quite as warm!”
Following a drenching from heavy rain that fell overnight and did not stop until an hour before the first pair teed off, the course was not as dry either.
Throw a swirling wind into the climatic cocktail and it added up to a testing day for the 10 teams chasing the £5,000 first prize on offer in a tournament supported by Golfplan.
“The course was very tough,’ added Tomkinson. “The wind was swirling, which made things difficult and the greens were tricky.
“But my partner, Andy Harm (top), did very well today. He was really on form.”
With six shots spanning the field both O’Boyle and Tomkinson agreed the tournament was wide open and the former added: “Anyone can win it. It’s good to see everyone bunched up.”
Measuring up: Mark O'Boyle (left) and Liam Delaney consult the latest rangefinder from SkyCaddie, the SX500 on the 17th fairway at Sol Muntaner. Each competitor in the tournament has been issued with the device by the sponsors.
Heading the chasing pack is the pair from Five Lakes Golf and Country Club in Essex, Gary Carter and his amateur partner, the left-handed Nigel Popper.
Playing in tandem with O’Boyle and Delaney, the duo signed off with successive birdies to finish just a point behind the co-leaders.
Five points further back lie Grant Edwards, the PGA pro at Lakeside, and Steve Owen the club captain.
Based in Montgomeryshire, Wales, the club is appearing in its first national final just nine years after it was founded.
In which case, having achieved so much so quickly, retrieving a six-point deficit is unlikely to faze them, especially given the betterball format of the tournament that can fuel rapid changes of fortune.
Day one scores: The Heath Golf Club, Otley Golf Club, 39; Five Lakes Golf & Country Club 38; Hayling Golf Club, Newark Golf Club 37; Stirling Golf Club, Honiton Golf Club, Hendon Golf Club, Barlaston Golf Club 36; Lakeside Golf Club 33.