Beadlow Manor juniors crowned UK Junior Team Golf champions
Beadlow Manor GC juniors have been crowned UK Junior Team Golf Champions with truly sensational team performances and a dramatic final victory in Portugal.
They triumped in a competition which saw more than 1,000 teams enter from across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Following a qualification process involving county, regional and national finals, this year’s JTG event culminated in eight teams going head to head in the Home Nations Final at Morgado Golf Resort near Portimao.
Junior Organiser, Gary Boyle said: “To get to the Home Nations Final was an amazing achievement but to go over to Portugal and win the whole competition against the quality of opposition was beyond my wildest dreams.
“The team spirit and will to win was tremendous and all the boys were brilliant, both on and off the course, from the start to the finish.”
The event took place over both Morgado and Alamos golf courses and the format was teams of six playing singles matchplay off full handicap (from lowest to highest) over four days.
The same Beadlow Manor team of Luke Charalambous (hcp 4), Conner Penning (hcp 4), Jamie Gibbons (hcp 5), Ben Loveard (hcp 10), Will Murray (hcp 10), Lewis Vereecque (hcp 14) and Jack Munson (hcp 17) who represented the club at the England Final made the trip to Portugal.
The draw was made on the eve of the competition and saw Beadlow grouped with The Vale Resort (defending Home Nations champions), New Club St Andrews (Scottish Champions) and Mold (Welsh Runners up). The other group contained Cuddington, Bothwell Castle, Romsey and Pyle & Kenfig.
The Day 1 fixture saw Beadlow Manor take on the reigning champions with Junior Captain Charalambous playing and beating Oliver Brown (Welsh U21 international and current Welsh Boys champion) by 2&1 which set the standard.
Victories for Penning and Gibbons with a vital half for the youngster of the team, Loveard, saw Beadlow come through 3.5 to 2.5.
Day 2 dawned and New Club St Andrews offered no less of a challenge but a similarly determined approach full of high quality golf saw wins for Charalambous, Gibbons, Loveard, Murray and Munson to earn an impressive 5 to 1 victory.
The match on Day 3 saw arguably the toughest match on paper with the Mold team boasting handicaps from +1 to 9 and so it proved with close matches throughout. Penning’s 3&2 victory against another Welsh international led the charge, along with wins once again for Gibbons and Loveard which saw Beadlow secure the tie they needed, but a great half from Vereecque coming back from three down gave Beadlow another 3.5 to 2.5 win and an unblemished record as they qualified for the Championship match against the other unbeaten team, Romsey from Hampshire.
Beadlow Manor had to make a last minute change due to injury with Munson coming in for Vereecque only half an hour before the first tee in the Championship Final. On this occasion neither Charalambous nor Penning could overcome two very accomplished opponents losing on the 17th and 18th respectively, but Gibbons won his fourth match in a row with Loveard also delivering his third emphatic victory to leave the match finely balanced at 2-2.
When the fifth match went the way of Romsey with Murray losing 3&2, all eyes were on Munson in the last match.
At 2 down after nine holes, the 13-year-old won the 10th, and then on the 200 yd 11th hole he secured a marvellous ‘hole in one’, and when he won the next hole as well the momentum had truly turned and he never gave up the lead eventually winning his match, 3&2 to tie the final at 3-3.
Both Murray and Munson became aware that the number of holes won would decide the title and held their composure as they continued to the 18th each winning their final hole to confirm an incredible Beadlow victory by three holes.
In addition to the team prize both Loveard and Munson received individual recognition for their efforts at the formal evening presentation.
The JTG Home Nations tournament is the only such event to run across the UK and, over the years,the competition has seen many talented juniors take part, a number of whom have gone onto successful professional careers, including Matt Fitzpatrick, Nick Dougherty and Oliver Wilson.