Telegraph Golf Challenge: Reigning champions 'there to be shot at' in 2013 event
REIGNING men's champions Chris Blow and Ben Mills will be back to defend their title in the 2013 Telegraph Golf Challenge.
The rookie pair from Laceby Manor were surprise winners of last year's competition, having knocked out the 2011 champions in the third qualifying round.
"It was our first year in the competition and we just entered it for fun, we never expected to win it," said 14-handicapper Chris.
"We seemed to gel really well. Whenever Ben had a bad hole, I seemed to play well, and whenever I was struggling it was Ben who played well.
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"That's just what you want in matchplay really.
"I have won things before in golf, but this was by far the best competition I have been involved in.
"It's really enjoyable. You get to meet other people and play on other courses.
"I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of entering for the first time this year."
His partner Mills only took up golf seriously last year, starting the Telegraph Challenge as a 28 handicapper, and now down to 24.
They had a roller-coaster ride to the final, with a bye in the first round and an away tie in the second.
They were away again in round three at Forest Pines against the defending champions Steve Dixon and Richard Storey – winning an epic battle in the twilight zone at the sixth extra hole.
"We were more nervous for that match than we were for the final," Blow recalled.
"But we came through and then won a home tie in round four to reach the finals.
"We did not expect to win the competition. Our aim was simply to try and make sure we scored on every hole.
"But I probably played some of the best golf I have ever played and with the help of Ben we finished as champions.
"It was a surprise to us too – but we will certainly be back to defend our title this year – and hoping to reach the final again.
"But we know that we will be the ones up there to be shot at this year, so we will have to wait and see.
"To be honest, Ben and I have not played much golf together since last year's final but we are looking forward to the 2013 Challenge.
"It's a great competition and I would like to thank all the organisers and sponsors."
Blow also hopes to have a new ace up his sleeve for this summer.
"I was shanking some of my shots last year but I got a new set of irons for Christmas, so hopefully that will help me cure that problem," he added.