wood, you believe it! Ashley Wood wins the showdown in Dorset at the Daily Mail Foursomes
Ashley Wood’s Helen Cloney made a memorable debut on the Daily Mail Foursomes when she and partner Ann Morris needed five extra holes to knock out Dorset rival Sherborne in a first round thriller.
The seventy-year-old friends needed four and a half hours to settle the nerve-wracking marathon draw.
A delighted Cloney, 70, told Mail+ with a laugh: “People thought we were lost. We were all exhausted, mentally and physically.
“I’ve never played anything like this before. I’ve been to the 19th before, but not five extra holes. I will always remember it and I think it has gone down in Ashley Wood history too!’
Cloney and Morris, 76, played back on their home course after dropping two downs on the turn, but bounced back to two downs after 14. However, they couldn’t stop a comeback from Patricia Rawlins and Sian Waring, who won the 18th to put the game into overtime.
It was a marathon performance for the winning pair of debutant Helen Cloney (right) and Ann Morris
Cloney emphasized, “It was quite an epic. It was amazing. Neither of us would give in.”
Both pairs showed plenty of fighting spirit and it was the visitors who had the upper hand on the 21st, forcing Ashley Wood to sink a 20-foot uphill putt to stay in the game.
Finally, the break came on the par-4 23, as Cloney and Morris capitalized on a shot and squeezed out a win. They were on the green for four net three and Sherborne couldn’t react.
“We were very tired, but the adrenaline carries you through. We just got started. We couldn’t believe what we had done,” Cloney admitted.
“It was really close. Every hole was contested. It was pretty remarkable. Really and truly, it was one of those games that nobody deserved to lose and Sherborne played really well.’
Cloney, who has been playing for 18 years, enjoys the challenging foursome format and believes a positive partnership is key.
She explained: “We are a good combination. I’m quite competitive, but not overly so. And Ann is the same. I play 18 and Ann’s short game is really good. I take her and she finishes it.
“They both have to play well at the same time and that’s what happened in the last game.”
Next up for the pair is Sturminster Marshall away and they’re hoping for an easier ride, although Cloney joked: ‘We had a giggle and said after the last game we’d probably go out on the 12th. We’ll see how far we get.’
Shades of Arnie in the epic first finale
The Daily Mail Foursomes are in full swing once again and amateur golfers from across the UK are hoping to be crowned this year’s champions.
Thousands of club golfers band together and compete in the world’s largest amateur competition, with the most successful duos traveling to the Marriott St. Pierre in October to compete for the title.
It all started in 1964 when the first winners were Tom Biltcliffe and Jeff Beswick from Preston.
They won a dramatic final, beating Lewes’ Joe King and Mike Zara on the first extra hole at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Reporter Jack Wood wrote at the time it might not have been the best golf ever played over Lytham’s impressive links, but the match blossomed into a glorious climax as King and Zara emerged from a poor spell to take the game on 17 three down with six to play.
Zara sparked the revival with a shot that saw Lytham members recall the bunker shot Arnold Palmer pocketed on the 15th to end his match with Peter Alliss in the 1961 Ryder Cup.
Cheers rang out from the fans as Biltcliffe, an air traffic controller, pocketed for a three-pointer from five feet to claim the win.
The Women’s Prize went to Huyton & Prescot’s Kathy McNeil and Wyn Joseph, who defeated Herne Bay duo Julie Barton and Winifred Harvie 4&3 at Formby Golf Club.
Sportsmail golf reporter Michael McDonnell recorded McNeil tapping in a 20-foot putt to get her side three up on the 14th.
And despite a mighty foursome from Harvie over murderous dunes and rough to the safe 15th green, the pair of Huyton & Prescot didn’t let themselves be shaken and won the hole and match.
Clubs wishing to emulate such successes must win an 11-round marathon. The final 16 men’s and women’s pairs compete at the famous Chepstow course, where they have the chance to follow in the footsteps of five former Ryder Cup captains – Tony Jacklin, Bernard Gallacher, Bernhard Langer, Seve Ballesteros and Ian Woosnam , who have all won the British Masters there.
With nearly 110,000 players taking part in the qualifying competition this year and 2,813 teams taking part, it truly is one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the world.
Ball sports are in the Willow duo’s blood
Former England cricketers Janet Tedstone and Linda Burnley are staunch supporters of the Daily Mail Foursomes as they aim to reach their fourth Grand Final at the Marriott St Pierre.
The Yorkshire duo from Willow Valley have a remarkable record in the tournament, having been semi-finalists in 2010, one of the last 16 in 2019 and quarter-finalists last year.
Small wonder, then, that the competition holds such importance for Tedstone, who played 12 Tests and 38 one-day caps for England, and Burnley, who was wicketkeeper for Yorkshire and also played in an ODI.
“It’s a special competition and means a lot to us,” said Burnley, 60, adding, “It comes from the heart. It’s a competition everyone loves and wants to get ahead in.
“There’s something about it that makes you never want to give up. It awakens the fighting spirit when you need it.
“How many times have we been down maybe two times and had two holes to play and turned it around? This tournament brings out the best in us.”
Linda Burnley (left) and Janet Tedstone have shown they will never give up
Burnley and Tedstone, 63, are clearly specialists in the alternative recording format.
Burnley stressed: “It’s probably the toughest format. It’s a really good test of so many facets of play, teamwork and commitment to one another.
“There is a way to play. I think it takes a certain amount of calm to know when to take a riskier shot and when to play percentages. You do this in a team and work it out together.
“For people like us, who have played a lot of team sports over the years, it’s really appealing that it’s a collaborative effort.”
They’re in pursuit of the Marriott St. Pierre in the world’s largest amateur tournament
However, participating in the world’s largest amateur golf tournament is not just about winning.
Burnley added: “We’ve made a lot of good friends and had some really good times. There seems to be a really good camaraderie in this competition which I think is all about tradition and history.’
The pair meet Huddersfield at home in the second round.
With nearly 110,000 players taking part in their club qualifying competitions this year and 2,813 teams taking part, it really is one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the world – and you can follow it exclusively with Mail+…
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/golf/article-11885233/Wood-believe-Ashley-Wood-win-Dorset-showdown-Daily-Mail-Foursomes.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 wood, you believe it! Ashley Wood wins the showdown in Dorset at the Daily Mail Foursomes