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TRULY AN INTERNATIONAL SPORT - from Forat 18 magazine


Irishman John Walsh and James Rogerson of Australia were the principals in an exciting finish to the II World Strokeplay championship at Tambre Pitch and Putt club.

Walsh shot a final round 48 to snatch the championship by a couple of shots, while the cosmopolitan nature of the leaderboard was reflected in the fact that the next three places were filled by a Briton, a Catalan and a Galician.

John Walsh's win and Chrissie Byrne's retention of the ladies crown reaffirm that Ireland is after all the Home of the Game, where it has been played for nigh on 100 years and where it is better understood than anywhere else on the planet. However, the multinational mix on the podium and the presence of fourteen different associations from three continents at Tambre demonstrates that Pitch and Putt is building a truly international element; a common denominator that crosses social and cultural borders to bond its devotees together as a universal group in a way that other sports could only ever dream of.

For the host Galician Pitch and Putt Association, it allowed them to showcase the territory. Economic benefits of showcasing could include attracting foreign investment. The tourism generated by the event also boosted the economy.

Competitors were afforded the opportunity to pit themselves against the best in the world. Spectators got to see a high level of competition, making it more entertaining and encouraging more participation.

The opening ceremony at Galicia immersed us all briefly in another culture, seeing and hearing traditional Galicia dance and song. International Pitch and Putt competitions afford learning experiences that cannot be underestimated.

The atmosphere at the World Strokeplay was competitive and friendly and whilst the championship was seriously contested, the newer competitors gained much experience from the international nature of the event as well as making many new friends in the world of Pitch and Putt.

Friendships, sometimes lifelong, develop during these championships. Meeting with opponents and their families during and socially after the competitions allow participants to start interactions that often result in exchange visits and Pitch and Putt development. Competition often results in the reducing of cultural and language barriers that impede interaction with others. If you can play against someone on the course, you can almost always socialize with him/her off the course.

Before, during and after the championship, the sense of adventure and accomplishment existed. For some, this may be the one of the greatest adventure of their lifetimes, and an experience that will be remembered and talked about forever. Trophies and mementos of this experience, when displayed, will result in a long-term recognition.

Playing against different styles of play in different climates can only enhance the individual skill levels of the competitors. Another benefit is the prestige of having competed in a world championship that results on the participant's return to their home territory. Families, friends and other competitors will pay attention to this accomplishment.

World Pitch and Putt events will grow the game worldwide, particularly in places where it's not that big. In order to jump-start interest and support of the sport in newer countries, you need money. The best way to get that is through your government. There's no substitute for Pitch and Putt continuing to hold viable international events and championships. If the sport doesn't unite in this effort, it's wasted a golden opportunity.

(Originally published in "Forat 18"magazine) 


John Walsh of the Collins club in Cork has won at Tambre. Walsh fired a final round of 48 for a 72 hole aggregate of 198 (-18). Walsh finished two strokes clear of the ebullient Australian James Rogerson. In a wonderful battle for the ladies championship, holder Chrissie Byrne (Ireland) held off Dutch player Esther De Schiffart (-11 to -10). Britain's John Deeble closed with a 52 to be third overall on 201, one ahead of Josep Martinez of Catalonia. Fifth on 203 was co first round leader Sebastian Franco (Galicia). The local player defeated Irishmen John Ross Crangle, Frank Dineen and 54 hole leader Liam O'Donovan on the tiebreaker. Catalan Amador Rodriguez took the senior championship with a four under 212 total.

John Walsh is one of the most decorated players in Pitch and Putt. Irish Strokeplay champion in 1997 and Irish Matchplay winner in 2002, John was third in the 2009 World Strokeplay and also third two years ago in the European Strokeplay. He is a World Cup winner and a European championship winner with Ireland and previously won in Galicia - the 2012 Galician Open.

Final leaderboard here

Liam Donovan of the Bruff club in Co. Limerick Ireland commenced Sunday's final round two shots clear on 16 under. Liam's closest pursuer was 2011 European Strokeplay runner-up J. R. Crangle (Ireland). Australian James Rogerson was on 13 under, a mark he shared with co first round leaders Frank Dineen (Ireland) and Britain's John Deeble. John Walsh (Ireland) was still in contention on -12. Ladies title holder Chrissie Byrne was completely dominating the ladies championship on 10 under although Dutch player Esther De Schiffart had given herself a chance with a stunning third round 45.

54 hole leaderboard

Final Round pairings

A superb second round 44 gave Liam O'Donovan a two shot halfway lead at Tambre. The Bruff, Ireland player was on 13 under par 95 and Liam was two strokes clear of fellow Irishman Frank Dineen, who added a 49 to his opening 48. Two more Irish players, Eamon Gibney and John Ross Crangle, were tied third on 98 alongside John Deeble (GB). Holder Fernando Cano (Catalonia) and Ireland's John Walsh, who was second in 2009 were poised on 101 and 99 respectively. Chrissie Byrne, the ladies title holder,was on six under par, five clear of Dutch rival Herma Kleinlugtenbeld.

Scoreboard here

Temperatures in the high thirties at Tambre for the first round of the 2013 World Strokeplay championship. Four players are tied for the 18 hole lead on 48 (-6) - the Galicians Marcos Gomez and Sebastian Franco, Irishman Frank Dineen and the Briton, John Deeble. Holder Fernando Cano (Catalonia) is three shots back. 2009 ladies champion Chrissie Byrne (Ireland) shot a 52 to be three clear of Herma Kleinlugtenbeld (Holland). 36 holes will be played tomorrow (Sat.) with the final round on Sunday.

Scoreboard here

The opening ceremony took place in blazing sunshine at Tambre. Following an impressive display of local music and dance, the local mayor addressed the competitors and gallery. Then the II World Strokeplay was declared officially open by FIPPA President Frank Smith.

See the first round pairings here 


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