Tadmarton Pair Are First Champions At Carnoustie
OXFORDSHIRE golfers Christopher Cudahy and Andrew Sabin, from Tadmarton Heath, got a bird’s eye view of what it will take to win the Claret Jug this week, when they played nine holes at Carnoustie, on Sunday.
They even got a priceless insight into some of the preparations of two of the biggest stars of the game when they found themselves in front of former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy – winner of the Open in 2014 at Royal Hoylake – and 2012 champion Adam Scott, who became the first Australian to win the Masters in 2013, having watched Ernie Els snatch the Open Championship title from his grasp at Royal Lytham in 2012.
The Banbury pair claimed the prize beating off 20 other pairs in the second-ever staging of The R&A’s 9 Hole Championship Final held on the famous Angus links.
The final was contested over the first four and last five holes of the famous Championship Course before The 147th Open which begins on Thursday.
Christopher and Andrew returned a winning nett aggregate score of 41 to be crowned champions in the stableford competition.
Christopher said: “To play Carnoustie in its best condition just before The Open was a real privilege and it was exciting, thrilling golf.
“It feels brilliant to have won the Final and it was a great experience. We were playing just ahead of Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy, who were practising on the course, so we felt like we were really part of The Open.
“The R&A have done a great job and I am sure the nine-hole event will go from strength to strength.”
Sabin added, “When you stand on the first tee and they call your name out, with all the grandstands around you, it raises the hairs on the back of your neck. It’s a nerve-wracking but fantastic experience. I will remember it for years to come.”
Scotland’s Dunblane New, represented by Gary Aitken and Richard McLuckie, finished runners-up, ahead of 10-year-old Evan Taylor and Andy Drees, from Foxhills, in Surrey.
Paul Lawrie – who famously won the 1999 Open at Carnoustie after Frenchman Jean van de Velde’s spectacular collapse in the Barry Burn – together with Royal & Ancient captain Bruce Mitchell, presented the prizes to the leading teams.
The 42 golfers were the last members of the public, let alone the host club, to play on the 18 holes dubbed some of the toughest on the Open rota – particuarly the closing four-hole stretch which the famous Barry Burn winds its way through.
More than 15,000 golfers entered nine-hole qualifying events held at clubs throughout Great Britain and Ireland – more than double the number who played in 2017.
The R&A 9 Hole Championship is central to the organisation’s drive to promote this form of golf as an ideal way to enjoy playing the sport in less time, either recreationally or competitively for handicap purposes.
R&A executive director Duncan Weir, responsible for golf development, said, “The finalists have had a great experience and they revelled in the challenge of playing one of the world’s most famous courses.
“We are already looking forward to repeating this exercise at Royal Portrush in 2019.”