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Robbery in the Park


Daily Mail
28 Jul 2009

IAN DONALDSON helped pull off a piece of ‘daylight robbery’ to keep alive his hopes of a quick return to the Daily Mail Foursomes finals week.

Ian and Beacon Park partner Stephen Smith had never led before the final putt of their 22-hole fifth-round marathon at Bolton’s Regent Park. In fact, they trailed Mark Latham and John Knowles by three holes with four to play. Then a brilliant birdie-net birdie-birdie run forced the game into extra holes, and, after the par-five 19th was halved in birdie and the 20th and 21st were halved in par, a par at the 22nd was enough to take the Beacon Park pair through. But even then Mark lipped out with a chip that would have taken the match on even further.

Stephen, 42, said: ‘It was daylight robbery, to be fair. They were in control all the way through and even missed two 10-foot putts to take the match in extra holes.’ Both pairs shot rounds lower than their combined handicaps, and Stephen added: ‘It was a brilliant match, actually. I can hardly remember a bogey all the way round.’

It was the second time in three rounds that Ian and Stephen had needed extra holes to go through, having been taken to the 19th at Southport and Ainsdale in the third round. Now Ian, who made it all the way to finals week at Marriott Dalmahoy last October, is just two more wins away from reaching this year’s showpiece at the Marriott Forest of Arden.

Ian, 44, and Eddie Ager went out in the final 16 last year, but Eddie was on holiday in the United States when Beacon Park held their qualifier for this year’s tournament. So Stephen stepped in and has proven a more than capable replacement.

Now Stephen has his sights set on emulating Eddie’s finals week appearance. Stephen said: ‘A home draw would be nice at this stage. There are not many who will give us a run for our money at our place because it is a tough course.’ Muckhart’s Chris Cole and Neil Hill also needed an extra hole in the fifth round to continue their bid for a quick return to finals week, triumphing at the 19th at Dunfermline (Pitfarrane).

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