Rochford Hundred PGA Professional Michael Vandenberg clinched the Partnership Trophy, in association with Callaway & Callaway Apparel, for England & Wales in dramatic fashion at The Belfry.
The host nation won the inaugural event – contested by TGI Golf Partners representing Scotland, England & Wales and Ireland – following a sudden death play off after adverse weather called an early halt to the event.
The format of the event saw six matches playing foursomes in the morning over the PGA National Course with two points available to the winning pair. This was followed in the afternoon by a player from each nation contesting a three ball strokeplay medal singles match on The Brabazon Course, with three points to the winner, two to second place and one for third.
After the morning foursomes finished with England & Wales on eight points, and Scotland and Ireland both on two points each, the teams went into the singles with plenty to play for.
With the singles in full flow the hooters sounded to halt play as heavy thunderstorms closed in around the four-time Ryder Cup host venue. The stoppage halted a remarkable march from Ireland, who were leading in five of the eight matches.
With no let up in the weather it was decided to call a result from the final completed hole of each group, resulting in a tie between Ireland and England & Wales who were both on 21 points.
Once the weather cleared there was time for a dramatic play off with each team selecting one player – Vandenberg for England & Wales and David Ryan of Cahir Park for Ireland – to play the famous 18th hole of The Brabazon, which Vandenberg won.
Each nation was made up of eight TGI Golf Partners, who qualified via two events in each country where the top two made it through to the team.
Vandenberg, said: “I felt very confident going into the play-off and felt great standing over that shot into the green. It has been an awesome event, thank you to Callaway, Callaway Apparel and TGI Golf for putting this all together.”
Victorious captain, Ian Martin, TGI Golf Senior Retail Consultant, added: “When we devised this event we hoped it would bring Partners together for an exciting team event that would create some friendly rivalry and camaraderie. We achieved that and some. It was an amazing experience, even more so to get the win, but everyone involved whether English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish had an incredible few days.”
Neil Howie, Callaway Golf President & Managing Director, said: “The inaugural Partnership Trophy was a great success and so thanks go to the entire TGI team. Congratulations go to Ian Martin’s victorious England and Wales team who played some outstanding golf but the real win for Callaway was getting to spend valuable time with the partners. With this in mind we are delighted to confirm our participation in 2017 and hope that even more TGI Golf Partners look to qualify for what will undoubtedly become one of the best events of the year.”