MIDDLESEX golfers Sian Whitbread and Paul Dimmer booked a trip to Portugal with the European Tour when they held their nerve to win the English GolfSixes final at St Albans’ Centurion Club.
The pair from Haste Hill Golf Cub triumphed on a tough play-off hole after winning their group and going head-to-head with the victors from the other side of the draw.
They took on the 166-yard challenge which has faced Tour players over the last two years, when GolfSixes was played at the Hertfordshire venue. And, despite a head wind and the intimidating water feature just off the green, they came up trumps in the greensomes event.
Dimmer ignored his nerves to send his tee shot into the heart of the green, Whitbread rolled the putt to within 1ft of the hole, leaving her partner a tap-in.
With their handicap allowance of 0.7 on the hole they pipped their challengers, Dennis Swain and Andy Simon of West Essex. They too parred the hole but received just 0.3.
The win brings Whitbread and Dimmer a luxury trip to Cascais in Portugal to play in the 12-hole pro-am ahead of the European Tour’s 2019 GolfSixes tournament, on June 7-8. They will stay on as the Tour’s guests to watch the championship.
Andy Stubbs, from the European Tour, told competitors: “GolfSixes is something we are very, very proud of and the winners will come to Portugal and join us for a great experience.”
Whitbread and Dimmer took their place in the England Golf final after winning the men’s and women’s qualifiers at Haste Hill, a municipal club in Northwood where Dimmer is the cub captain.
Their outing was their first as a greensomes pairing and they played their six holes in level par 26, nett 22, to top the leaderboard for their loop. On the other loop, Swain and Simon were round in two-under gross, nett 19.9, to win their section and make the deciding play-off.
Afterwards, Dimmer said: “I’m drained, physically, emotionally and mentally, but I’m also exhilarated.
“It’s been a phenomenal event and we’ve enjoyed it immensely. It’s probably the biggest single achievement of our sporting lives and we hope to represent England Golf in a way they will be proud of.”
Whitbread, a retired payroll manager, and Dimmer, who works in the operating theatres at Harefield Hospital, are both board members at their club and keen to introduce more people to the game – and would recommend GolfSixes.
“It’s a way to get more people involved when they haven’t got much time, it’s a perfect format,” added Dimmer.
“I’ve only been playing golf for seven years and this shows you can get into golf and do something phenomenal if you have the right partner and the right circumstances.”
The fun, fast format of GolfSixes has proved a great hit as a European Tour event and has captured the enthusiasm of huge numbers of juniors – and the Golf Foundation’s 2019 GolfSixes League launched at the weekend.
England Golf’s partnership with the European Tour has seen the format rolled out to club members, culminating in this month’s final, which is being replicated in Finland and Denmark, who will also send representatives to the pro-am.