A team of golfers from Staffordshire are out to make history for their club after winning through to the finals of one of the world’s biggest amateur golfing competitions.

The team from St Thomas’s Priory Golf Club, near Rugeley, will travel to Spain in November to play in the finals of the Mail on Sunday Classic, after winning a tense match in UK finals of the competition.
 
More than 1,400 golf clubs across the UK entered the competition, with more than 11,500 golfers taking part. Organisers claim it is the biggest five-man team match play golf competition in the world.

The St Thomas’s team of James Burns (St Thomas’s club captain), Paul McHale, Harry Foley, Pally McGahan, John Woodward, Tony Wilby and Adam Ward will join The Ridge Golf Club near Maidstone, Kent, St Neots Golf Club in Cambridgeshire, and the Vale of Glamorgan Golf Club in Bridgend in the finals.

“All the players are just over the moon at having managed to win through the UK finals to get to Spain. The final will be like the Ryder Cup, the biggest thing any of us will ever do in golf, we’re just all thrilled,” said non-playing team captain Shaun Barlow.

The team of seven have pulled off some major victories and had some very tight matches to win through nine rounds of the best of five singles competition, which has been running for nearly 20 years.

The St Thomas’s Priory men managed to see off one of the biggest clubs in the country in the last round to win the UK finals on Monday, beating Edinburgh team Marriott Dalmahoy Golf Club 3½ to 1½, at Worsley Park golf course, near Manchester.

Earlier in the competition the team just got the better of Oxley Park Golf Club, near Wolverhampton, with John Woodward winning the first extra hole of a sudden death play-off after the scores were tied after five matches.

“Several of the games in the match against Marriott Dalmahoy came down to the final couple of holes, it was the most nervous any of the players have been playing golf. But they managed to hold their nerve and we came through comfortable winners in the end,” said Shaun.

The team will travel to El Rompido Golf Club in southern Spain to play in the semi-final on Tuesday, November 23, with the final being played on the following day.

Phil Gibson, director of golf at St Thomas’s Priory Golf Club, part of the Hawkesyard Estate, in Armitage, said: “This is a fantastic achievement by the team having won through against far bigger clubs across the country."