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Torrington not so Great

Daily Mail
07 Jul 2009

TONY GOOCH and Mark Hill saw their hopes of retaining their Daily Mail Foursomes title finally ended on the last green of their Great Torrington club where their journey began 16 months earlier.

The Devon pairing, who went into last year's tournament as the county's handicap foursomes champions, had won their previous 10 matches in the competition as well as triumphing over two stableford rounds at last year's rain-affected finals week.

But their run of success came to an end in this year's fourth round as they were beaten two up, despite home advantage, by St Enodoc's Kevin Francis and John Paul.

Tony, 48, said: 'We were really disappointed when we finished, but the next day, when we had had time to reflect, we were able to think about how much we had enjoyed the experience. The Daily Mail must be one of the best competitions of its type in amateur golf, the most prestigious and certainly one of the hardest to win.'

Tony and Mark always achieved their Daily Mail successes the hard way – coming from behind or pulling off last-gasp victories – and it looked like being a similar story in this year's fourth round as they fought back to all square at the turn, having gone three down after five holes. But John holed an 18-foot putt for a birdie two at the 16th to put St Enodoc one-up again, and a par was enough for the pairing from the Cornish club to seal victory at the last.

Kevin, 47, said: 'We arrived at the club and saw the trophy in the cabinet there, so they were quite a scalp to take, especially playing on their home turf.'

Now Tony is predicting a rosy future for the victors. He said: 'I think we were carrying a lot of weight of expectation from a lot of people because everyone seemed to know who we were as reigning champions. We probably did not play quite as well as we can, but they played well and deserved to win. 'They are a good combination at seven and 11 handicaps, and they could go a long way.'

Tony and Mark, meanwhile, will be concentrating on Great Torrington's qualifying competition in a bid to represent the club in next year's foursomes event.

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