Season Five Final - 12-14 September 2008
California dreaming becomes a reality for Team Europe
The Season Five Final will undoubtedly be remembered as the most exciting yet as our new team format provided a fitting end to our most popular season yet. The St Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Southern California was a stunning setting for the final with superb views across the golf course and out to the Pacific Ocean. Everything about the hotel was five star from the quality of the rooms to the service provided by the staff, and it was much appreciated by all the finalists.
After a long flight from Heathrow to LAX, the European team arrived at the St Regis Monarch Beach Resort tired but delighted to finally meet their US counterparts at the Welcome Dinner. After the presentation of each team, it was time for the all important team meetings to decide the first day's pairings for the betterball Matchplay.
Saturday morning brought a few nerves on the first tee as each player was officially announced, but soon everyone settled down to produce some excellent golf. Europe got off to a flier with victory in the first two pairings as Iain Clark and Jon Dymock beat Gary and Martha Rhine 7&6, whilst George Copley and Darren Barlow beat Andrew Lyth and Bill Wilson 4&2.
However, there was little else for Europe to cheer about as the pairings of Alan Brainerd and Joan Heeter, Alistair Steele and Dhruv Chopra, John Mercer and Andrew Davies and finally Ryan Cornish and Mukesh Mehta all recorded convincing victories to give Team US a 4-2 lead over Team Europe after Day One.
Saturday afternoon saw team rivalries put to one side as we drove a short distance up the coast to stunning Laguna Beach, where everyone enjoyed kayaking across the bay in the company of seals and dolphins. As the sun set we enjoyed a fantastic BBQ on the cliff whilst the captains set to work deciding the all important Singles order for Sunday.
As the sun rose on Sunday morning, no one could predict the drama that the day would bring. The quality of golf was superb and fitting for a final of this stature. Andrew Lyth and Nigel Cutting contested a very even match, which was halved, whilst South African Alistair Steele, representing the US, pipped Iain Clark by 1 hole. Europe's George Copley beat Ryan Cornish 3&2 after being 2 down on the front 9, whilst Andrew Davies of Team US beat Darren Barlow 6&4. Keith Eustace-Pedlar, Richard Lomax, Andy McKenzie, Ken Daly and Jon Crickmore all earned points for Europe with only Dhruv Chopra breaking the sequence.
With the score now at US 7 1/2 Europe 8 1/2, the final two live matches arrived at the 18th green. Alan Brainerd and James Gear shared the spoils to make the score 8-9. Nick Jameson then needed to win the hole to take the Final for Europe with a half but John Mercer held firm to win his match by 1 hole to tie the contest at 9-9.
After providing verbal encouragement to their teams over two days, it was now down to team captains Chris Rossi (US) and Hamish Rickman (Europe) to contest a nearest the pin competition from the 18th fairway to decide the winning team! With all players, staff and other spectators gathered around the green, each player had three shots each. The first two shots saw Chris and Hamish both put their balls to the back right of the green. Chris' second shot ricocheted off a tree to land just off the green whilst Hamish's second shot hit Martha Rhine's buggy! It all came down to the last two shots. Chris hit his 3rd ball right. Hamish however with his last shot hit his ball to the back right of the green to take the Flying Club Swingers Season Five Final for Europe! The final shot was met by scenes of jubilations as both sides congratulated each other on a fantastic final. Hamish arrived back at the green to a hero's welcome before both teams posed for celebratory pictures together.
After a relaxing lunch and the prize giving which saw all finalists leave with a generous array of prizes from our sponsors, guests had time to relax in the Spa before their journey back to the airport and home.
The final will be remembered for many things - the fabulous setting, the sun set over Laguna Beach, Alistair Steele's dramatic coach exit and Nigel Cutting's rugby tackle on a cabin crew member, but of course we were all essentially here for the golf and no one could beat the drama which that provided.
The Flying Club Swingers team would like to thank everyone for a fabulous final and a memorable season. Thank you to our fabulous sponsors Callaway Golf who provided a dozen Tour i balls for each finalist together with pencil bags, brollies and clubs as prizes, Greg Norman Clothing who provided team shirts and headwear as prizes, Golfbidder who provided fun character head covers as gifts for each finalist and a superb range of luggage as prizes, and Volvo who provided a hole in one competition at the final. A special thank you goes to the many Swingers who of course did not make this year's final but without whom Swingers would not be the great success it is. We hope that this year's incredible final will inspire you all to keep on Swinging!
DAY ONE - BETTERBALL MATCHPLAY
Iain Clark & Jon Dymock (Europe) bt Gary Rhine & Martha Rhine (US) 7&6
George Copley & Darren Barlow (Europe) bt Andrew Lyth & Bill Wilson (US) 4&2
Alan Brainerd & Joan Heeter (US) bt Andy McKenzie & Richard Lomax (Europe) 5&4
Alistair Steele & Dhruv Chopra (US) bt Nick Jameson & James Gear (Europe) 6&4
John Mercer & Andrew Davies (US) bt Ken Daly & Keith Eustace-Pedlar (Europe) 3&2
Ryan Cornish & Mukesh Mehta (US) bt Nigel Cutting & Jonathan Crickmore (Europe) 3&2
DAY ONE MATCH POSITION: US 4 EUROPE 2
DAY TWO - SINGLES MATCHPLAY
Andrew Lyth (US) v Nigel Cutting (Europe) - Match halved
Alistair Steele (US) bt Iain Clark (Europe) by 1 hole
George Copley (Europe) bt Ryan Cornish (US) 3&2
Andrew Davies (US) bt Darren Barlow (Europe) 6&4
Keith Eustace-Pedlar (Europe) bt Bill Wilson (US) 5&4
Richard Lomax (Europe) bt Mukesh Mehta (US) 4&2
Dhruv Chopra (US) bt Jon Dymock (Europe) 5&4
Andy McKenzie (Europe) bt Joan Heeter (US) 5&4
John Mercer (US) bt Nick Jameson (Europe) by 1 hole
Alan Brainerd (US) v James Gear (Europe) - Match halved
Ken Daly (Europe) bt Martha Rhine (US) 5&4
Jon Crickmore (Europe) bt Gary Rhine (US) 2&1
FINAL MATCH SCORE: US 9 EUROPE 9
PLAY OFF (NEAREST THE PIN)
Hamish Rickman (Europe) bt Chris Rossi (US)
MATCH RESULT: EUROPE WIN FLYING CLUB SWINGERS SEASON FIVE FINAL
Nearest the Pin (Day 1) Nick Jameson
Longest Drive (Day 1) Joan Heeter
Nearest the Pin (Day 2) Alistair Steele
Longest Drive (Day 2) Joan Heeter
Additional Nearest the Pin Prize Jon Crickmore