The Annesley Williams Skoda Nine Hole Matchplay makes a welcome return to the PGA Ireland schedule this weekend at Sutton Golf Club as the tournament takes place for the second time after Tim Rice won the inaugural edition in 2019.
After a two-year Covid enforced hiatus the pro-am got underway today and club professional Paddy Devine who proposed the idea is delighted to welcome everyone back to a tournament that he devised.
“I was in the shop one day and I was thinking of an event that we could hold here being a nine hole course I was trying to think of something different. The idea of a matchplay event was big on my mind because we play strokeplay all year and it was something we hadn’t played since we were all amateurs.
“So I thought about a nine hole pro-am preceding the matchplay event and the more I thought about it and gave it to people in the golf club it grew legs from there.”
The competition will become one of the most prestigious on the region over the next few years with a qualifying process in place for players to secure their entry with an elite field expected to gather every year.
“It’s great. It’s an end of season tournament so all the players have to qualify for it. The top-27 in the order of merit after the Connemara Pro-Am automatically get in and then we have five invitations.
“It’s a big feather in our cap to get the best field you can get and our members are so appreciative of all the pros coming to play the course.
“We have 32 teams in the pro-am, three shotgun starts and nine-hole pro-am. 10am, 12.30 and 15.30 so we have 32 teams out there all day. The members are fantastic, they love their golf so anything that has to do with golf and professionals they get on board and support it. All summer they have been looking forward to it and the amount of volunteers who put their hands up to help has been fantastic but that’s what they’re about, they’re great here.
“Cian Bennis (sponsor) is a member here and he is a great supporter of the golf club and loves his golf. He has been a big supporter of the event since it came on board three years ago, he’s a perfect sponsor and has decorated the course beautifully with all the signage and cars it looks very professional.”
The motto of the Skoda brand is ‘simply clever’ and Annesley Williams Skoda sponsor Cian Bennis feels that slogan runs true with this event and he is delighted to be able to support his local golf club.
“It’s a huge deal, Paddy asked me in 2019 to sponsor it. I said we would get behind it and see what happens. It’s like organising a party, you want to see what happens. The cars have gone down well and the matchplay has been great it’s something different. The Skoda punchline is simply clever and this is a simply clever golf tournament,” explained Bennis who participated in the pro-am.
“We were meant to do it the following year (after 2019) but Covid struck and here we are again and we are enjoying the day and the week.
“As a business we try to get behind local clubs so we sponsor local rugby and GAA clubs. Golf has rewarded me very well over the years and I am delighted to give back there’s a great buzz around the place the pros are great fun we played with Tim Rice who is a pure gent.
The Team Pro-Am was won by Eoin Connor and his team with 53 points, just one ahead of Brian O’Reilly of Glenlo Abbey and his team.
Waterville man David Higgins and his side took third place on 51with a better back nine ahead of PGA Championship runner-up Brian McElhinney’s team.
Leave a comment