Grimsby-area amateur golfers in world showdown
FOUR Grimsby-area amateur golfers are bidding for glory on the world stage today.
The quartet are all representing Great Britain in the Audi Quattro Cup World Final at Arabella Golf Club in Western Cape, South Africa. The awesome foursome make up two pairings: Andy Garton, 43, of Waltham, and Glenn McLachlan, 57, of Grimsby; and Grimsby duo Jim Leahy, 57, and Rob Welford, 33.
The world's largest amateur event, the Audio Quattro Cup involves more than 90,000 players from 54 countries. To qualify for the world showpiece, McLachlan and Garton won the UK Cup by beating Leahy and Welford on countback.
Garton said: "At the Grimsby Audi qualifier, I hit my second shot into the water at the 1st and was asking myself why I'd wasted a day's holiday. To get the opportunity to go to South Africa and represent Great Britain is a 'first prize' in itself."
NEED A NEW BOILER ?. THEN READ OUR REVIEWS & CALL P & P PLUMBING...View details
IF YOUR LOOKING AT REPLACING YOUR BOILER, THEN CALL, P & P PLUMBING. WE CAN SUPPLY & FIT BOILERS, TO SUIT ALL BUDGETS, & THEY COME WITH 3, 5, 7 & AN AMAZING 10 YEARS PARTS & LABOUR GUARANTEE.
Terms: Ts & Cs apply
Contact: 01472 803004
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Garton, whose played golf for 35 years and has a handicap of three, added: "With top pairings from around the world it now gets very serious.
"So long as I do myself justice and make the most of, what for a weekend club golfer, is more than a once in a lifetime experience, I will be very, very happy."
McLachlan, whose handicap is 19, said: "I entered the Grimsby Audi event in May not believing for one minute that I would progress past the 19th hole.
"At the UK Final in Wiltshire, I had missed the previous day's practice round due to work commitments.
"I'd then planned to leave before the presentations but was somehow convinced by Grimsby Audi's Paul Stenton to stay for the evening event.
"As they announced the top three positions in reverse order and it became apparent we had won, the exhilaration was incredible."
McLachlan and Garton individually finished first and fourth respectively in the Grimsby Audi Cleethorpes Golf Club event, back in May before teaming up together to claim fourth place in a Regional Final at Mere, Cheshire, in July.
Leahy and Welford, meanwhile, netted fifth and sixth positions respectively in the Grimsby Audi event then partnered each other to third position at Mere.
Leahy, who has a handicap of 19 after 25 years playing golf, said: "I was unable to stay for the presentation at the UK Final as I had a flight to catch the next day.
"Glenn telephoned me in the early hours and told me 'you've won a travel bag' then added 'to carry your golf clubs in to South Africa'!
"I thought he was winding me up but went on to explain that both 'pairs' from Grimsby had qualified for the World Final.
"My head was spinning for the rest of the night and I couldn't sleep a wink.
"Rob and I are not going all the way to South Africa to make up the numbers – we are hungry to win it as, not surprisingly, this is my greatest golfing achievement.
"I was in South Africa eight months ago. I have done some more homework on the Arabella course.
"When I was out there I didn't get to play the course but was told it is a fantastic facility so I'm really looking forward to the challenge."
Welford, Cleethorpes Golf Club's course manager, has handicap of two after 21 years of playing golf.
He said: "I'd not met my playing partner, Jim, before the Regional Final but we gelled as a team and both played solidly.
"Jim and I began the UK Final well but faltered on the back nine and believed we'd come up short in terms of finishing in the top-two but in the end we scraped through in what was an incredibly close competition.
"I have looked at the World Final venue on the internet but you cant really gauge anything until your there.
"The thought of winning has crossed my mind but only in my wildest dreams. I want to do Great Britain proud and also Grimsby Audi who, speaking on behalf of all four of us, has supported everyone throughout the competition in many ways."
Paul Stenton, sales manager at Grimsby Audi, said: "We are immensely proud that both of our teams qualified to represent Great Britain in the Audi quattro World Cup Final.
"Who would have thought that a cold, rain swept day at Cleethorpes Golf Club in May would lead to Rob, Jim, Andy and Glenn qualifying for a Regional Final then claiming the top-two positions in the UK Final and book themselves places for South Africa.
"Grimsby Audi wishes each of them the best of luck and hope that one of our two teams can return home as World Champions to further enhance Grimsby Audi's reputation as the hotbed of Audi golf in 2012."