Kenwick Park GC men set for Mail on Sunday national finals

Kenwick Park men's team are two matches away from winning the national Mail on Sunday competition EMN-161208-104932002
Kenwick Park men's team are two matches away from winning the national Mail on Sunday competition EMN-161208-104932002

Kenwick Park Golf Club’s men’s team will be aiming to make history next week when they battle it out for a national title.

The squad fly out to Spain on Sunday for the grand finals of the Mail on Sunday Club Classic as the first men’s team in Kenwick’s history to reach this stage.

After a practice round on Monday the draw will be made for the following day’s semi-finals, with the final and third/fourth place play-off teeing off on Wednesday.

A total of about 3,000 teams from across England and Wales took their first steps in the competition back in February with Kenwick going on to beat Woodhall Spa, Hornsea and Cleckheaton in the latter rounds to reach the last four.

Teams lying in wait at the El Rompido course, are Consett and District GC, from County Durham, Porters Park GC, from Surrey, and South Staffs.

Kenwick Park director of golf Mike Langford said: “The whole club is immensely proud of what they have achieved; you could see that after the quarter-final win.

“They are not going out there for second place. They want to go out there and win for themselves and for the club.

“It is a remarkable achievement. You need a bit of luck to get this far, but they are all very talented golfers.”

They will be keen to emulate the Kenwick Park women’s team who won the competition in 1995 in the early years of the club, a feat still often recalled in the clubhouse today.

In doing so, the team will have to do without homegrown star Ashton Turner who turned professional just a few weeks after the quarter-final win and so became ineligible for the amateur competition.

His place will go to skipper Steve Ashby who played in the early rounds and has helped prepare the team in later stages.

“Ashton was one of he best amateurs in the country so we are going to miss him,” Mike added.

“But we have a good bunch of lads and very good replacements for him.

“Steve has spent hours and hours looking after the team, taking them to practice rounds and tournaments. The time he has committed to it certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“He works full-time, but when we played Hornsea he drove there four times in 10 days for practice rounds.”

Another team member to go the extra mile is Mick Upton who is cutting short a holiday in South Africa to make the trip, hotfooting it from Heathrow to Gatwick to meet the team on Sunday.

Other key team members are greenkeeper Lewis Hackett and young homegrown talent Sam Done, a +2 handicap golfer and former England Under 18s golfer who secured the thrilling play-off win over Cleckheaton in the last round.

“We looked dead and buried with two matches left out on course and both of them not in a good position,” Mike said.

“But they both turned it around and then won at the first extra hole.”