The PGA of Germany Team added a pinch of coolness under pressure to a cocktail of top class golf and teamwork at Gloria Hotels & Resorts in Turkey to win the International Team Championship for the first time.
Both the PGA of Germany and Scotland teams had gone into the fourth negotiation of the New Course at Gloria Golf Club in the Turkish resort of Belek locked on 18-under-par. And with Teams England and Ireland a stroke adrift of the leading pair, a tension-filled chase to claim the trophy and €6,000.00 first prize looked likely. However, in the manner in which their nation’s footballers more often than not hold their nerve to prevail in penalty shoot-outs, Team Germany’s trio of Dennis Küpper, Christopher Godson and Florian Jahn strolled rather than scrambled to victory.
“This is what it is all about,” said Küpper. “We won the trophy and the European Championship and I love it! Gloria Hotels & Resorts, BMW and the PGAs of Europe gave us a very nice week and we really enjoyed it.”
Godson added: “I felt some pressure when we started but I knew we could improve every day – I really had a good time and Dennis did a great job.” Once again Küpper played a pivotal role. Having gone into the final 18 holes on 13-under for the tournament, the 31-year-old from Krefeld maintained his position as the event’s leading individual with a final round of five-under (67). Add to that Godson replicating his third round of four-under and Team Germany’s final return of nine-under gave them a final score of 27-under (549) and victory by three strokes. All of which looked the probable outcome when both teams reached the turn. At that stage they had opened up a three-stroke advantage over Team Scotland and were two clear of Teams England and Ireland.
Scotland, with Greig Hutcheon posting four-under and Greg McBain completing his round in two-under and an overall total of -24 (552), rallied on the back nine but birdies from Küpper and Godson on the par five 18th averted any 11th hour dramas or the need for a play-off. Whereas Team Scotland threatened to interrupt or even ruin Germany’s potential victory both England and Ireland faded after promising play earlier in the Championship. The former finished on four-under for the day, six adrift of the winners in third place on 21-under (555), and Ireland were a shot further back in fourth after a final round of three-under.
The International Team Shield event, in which PGAs with 100 members or fewer were eligible, was successfully defended by inaugural winners, the PGA of Turkey. PGA Professionals Gencer Özcan, Ulas Karatas and Hakan Yamaç represented the host nation finishing in tie-seventh in the overall Championship but topping the Shield leaderboard for the second year in a row.