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Donaldson's Final Glory

2009 winners, Beacon Park
Daily Mail
21 Oct 2009

IAN DONALDSON replaced the disappointment of 12 months earlier with delight as he and Stephen Smith lifted the Daily Mail Foursomes trophy at the Marriott Forest of Arden.

The pair from Beacon Park, near Liverpool, triumphed 8&6 in a one-sided final against West Bradford's Steve Hollis and Iain Thacker a year after Ian had also made finals week, only to be eliminated in the last 16. Ian, 44, said: 'It feels great. We never really got into the competition last year the way the weather was at the finals. But everything has been superb this week. 'It is just a really nice way to end a year which has not been very good for either of us from a family point of view. Steve lost his mother, Rose, and I lost my father, Joseph, so it would be nice to think they have been looking down on us over the last two days.'

Ian played with Eddie Agar 12 months ago. But Eddie suggested Stephen as a replacement when family commitments meant he could not compete, and the choice proved inspired. Ian said: 'Steve is consistent off the tee and longer than Eddie. But Eddie has a fantastic short game. But when it comes to the bigger courses like this, then Steve's length is a definite advantage.' Steve, 43, played baseball for Great Britain and Northern Premier League football for Southport in his younger days, but he said: 'We never won the European Championships in baseball, so I am just over the moon about this.'

The unassuming Yorkshireman from West Bradford had breezed through their previous three games over two days at the Marriott Forest of Arden, but they never recovered after losing six successive holes from the second in the final. Once the rollercoaster began its downward spiral, they simply could not find a way to get off. They never found the pace of the immaculate greens on the front nine, which rain had slowed slightly from the European Tour-pace of the previous day. Iain, 48, quipped: 'We wanted to make a spectacle of it, but this was not quite what we had in mind. 'To be honest, we thought we had been punching above our weight, and so it proved.'

Muckhart's Neil Hill and Chris Cole had also made the last 16 a year earlier, but their challenge ended in the semi-finals when they were beaten by the West Bradford pairing. It was the Muckhart men's first foursomes defeat in three years, having gone out in the stableford format adopted for the previous year's finals, but they will be looking to continue their improvement next year, having already qualified to represent their club again in the competition's 50th anniversary year. Men's semi-finals: West Bradford (Steve Hollis, Iain Thacker bt Muckhart (Neil Hill, Chris Cole) 3&2; Beacon Park (Ian Donaldson, Stephen Smith) bt West Sussex Artisans (Mick Fisher, Martin Suter) 5&3. Final: Beacon Park bt West Bradford 8&6.

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