A sunny day at the Foursomes

An eventful and entertaining day among the army of pines at Sunningdale

A sunny day at the Foursomes

It doesn't come much better than walking around one of the top courses in the world, watching some of Britain's aspiring amateurs and seasoned Professionals slog it out in good old fashioned foursomes matchplay.

Add to that a warm sun toasting your shoulders between the army of pines at Sunningdale, gorse in bloom and an abundance of heather just waiting to burst into flower and you have the first real day of spring announcing the 2000 golf season in the same breath.

In it's Centenary year, Sunningdale could not have asked for better weather for the annual foursomes competition and after half an hour's delay for the fog that swept over the South of England, a veritable golfing feast was proffered to those who stayed and watched.

The throng gathered early on the putting green, underneath the famous clock adorning the clubhouse. Just after nine o'clock, Luke Rusher and Lewis Atkinson of the BB&O County started the proceedings of an eventful day with 64 teams heading out for battle over the two historical and immaculate courses in the heart of sleepy Surrey.

Among the top players attending were South African Tony Johnstone, Irishman Paul McGinley, Samantha and Johanna Head, Walker Cup hero Gary Wolstenholme and Sky Sports commentator Jeff Hawkes.

Tony Johnstone and Kevin Maxwell lead the Professionals with two comfortable wins in 36 holes to set up a mouth-watering third round tie with the Head Twins, Sam and Jo.

The twins breezed through the first round with a 2&1 victory over Kelsall/ Potter, but were up against it with BB&O County Champion Luke Rusher and Ernie Els' house sitter, Lewis Atkinson.

In a ding-dong match, the boys were up against it from the start, losing two out of the first three holes. But credit to them for turning the match around to lead by one hole at the halfway point.

However, the twins from Goodwood, Sussex, showed some course management class to level the match with a birdie two at the tenth hole, going on to win 3&2 over formidable opposition, even though they received four shots from the big hitting county players.

Paul McGinley is making use of a week off from the European Tour, playing with his friend, the Vice-Captain of St George's Hill, Steve Flanagan.
"I have to give all the credit to Steve" Said McGinley, who by his own admission, said his game was not quite there today. "Steve played very well, very steady and he got us through the day".

Gary Wolstenholme partnered Claire Lipscombe and sauntered into Wednesday's third round with a 6&5 destruction of Ladies European Tour player Regine Lautens and partner Sue Hodge.
Jeff Hawkes suffered at the hands of an in form Joanne Oliver and Sofia Grönberg Whitmore. The ladies European Tour getting one over on Sky Sports, for the time being.

And in probably the match of the day for the small band of spectators was between two England boy's caps, David Skins, 17, and Steve Lewton, 16. Skins and Lewton found themselves two down on the 17th hole, only to finish with two birdies and lipped out for eagle at the first playoff hole. Sadly, the two youngsters lost on the 20th hole to Mark Plummer and Ian Harrisson an experienced pair of mini tour professionals. Good experience for the youngsters and names to watch out for in the very near future. And to cap their day, a long practice session next to Gordon Sherry, the former Walker Cup player, who is desperately struggling to find his form to return to the heights he once knew.

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