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Champions suffer early exit from 2013 Competition

Daily Mail
09 Apr 2013

ANOTHER season of epic struggle in the Daily Mail Foursomes has begun with the early demise of the reigning champions.
Martyn Walker and Paul Williams took the men’s trophy back to the Forest of Dean club in Gloucestershire after triumphing in the finals at the Marriott Forest of Arden in October.
But they have fallen at the first hurdle this time around, beaten by two holes by Paul Gibson and Gavin Butcher, from the nearby Forest Hills club.
Their exit mirrored the fate of Matthew Burge and Craig Birch 12 months earlier. The Fulford Heath pair also lifted the men’s trophy, only to fall months later in the first match in defence of their title.
However, the record of early exits for the foursomes’ female champions is even more striking. Four successive pairs of reigning champions went on in the first round in the years until 2009, and Liana O’Sullivan has joined that list this year.
Liana lifted the women’s trophy with her mother, Hilja, in October. But the 23-year-old, from the Stocksbridge & District in Sheffield, was soundly beaten 4&3 by Jane Bramwell and Alison Nichol, from Sickleholme, when she team up with Eunice Turner in this year’s first round.
The largest golf tournament in the world saw over 3,000 pairings set out in the first round - 1,622 in the women’s tournament and 1,452 in the men’s - from an estimated entry of around a quarter of a million in clubs’ various qualifying competitions.
The last 16 pairings in both the men’s and women’s events will fight it out for the two trophies at finals week in October.
This year’s finals will take place at Marriott St Pierre, which has hosted the Solheim Cup and British Masters, in Chepstow, South Wales.
Five of the eight winners of the British Masters at St Pierre are former Ryder Cup captains - Tony Jacklin, Bernard Gallacher, Bernhard Langer, Severiano Ballesteros and Ian Woosnam - and, if any of our finalists are looking for an extra challenge, Greg Norman found the putting surface of the 362-yard 10th hole with a three-wood on his way to winning the tournament in 1982.
However, Ross McMurray romodelled the course in 2008 with 18 new tee complexes, reconstructed and repositioned bunkers, and four new greens to improve year-round playability.

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