Over the course of the Team Challenge 2016, Mundesley PGA Professional Ryan Pudney – with a few interjections from his teammates Phil Webster, Kevin Taylor & Jon Batten – will be writing a daily blog on his experience.
We did it, we finally won the TGI Golf Team Challenge! After five years of being the bridesmaids we can finally pull on the bride’s dress…not literally obviously.
Having been among the prizes every time we’ve competed but never sitting top of the leaderboard it is a tremendous feeling to finally collect the trophy, it is without doubt the highlight of our golfing lives.
On paper a 10 shot victory looks convincing, but believe me, it did not feel that comfortable walking off the 18th hole having struggled on the final two holes (see pic for reactions on 18).
Whereas in the first round we started poorly and ended strongly it was a total reversal for the final round.
Stepping onto the tee we were once again announced and it was nice to have an audience with the team from Headingly (TGI Partner Oli Hunt) applauding Phil, Jon and Kevin onto the tee then greeting me with a chorus of boos…don’t know what I did to deserve that, they must have read this blog and see the grief I get from my team so thought they’d join in!
We started brilliantly but at 10 we thought the wheels had come off when Phil tried to bounce it over the water and failed, then Kev hit two into the drink, but luckily Jon and I were like the glue that held the team together (Phil: “Where do you get these fantasies? JB held it together for a birdie, you managed a bogey despite being 100 yards from the green with your tee shot!”)
So we managed to walk off with four points and we just kept going (Kevin: “Ryan did turn up at the 11th when he drove the green – he nearly killed the guys in front but they took it on the chin…not literally.”)
We made great use of our shot holes, Phil had six shot holes and had six three pointers (Phil: “That’s got to be mustard?”)
As we got towards the close we knew it was going to be tough as the final stretch on The Dunes had played tough all week. We started to worry about protecting the points we had. Not knowing how everyone else on the course was doing was a killer, no matter how well you’re doing you always think someone is doing better.
We struggled over the finish line and thought we’d thrown it away with just five points from the last two, so it was a tremendous feeling when our names were announced at the awards dinner.
It has been an amazing week once again, cutting out all the bravado it doesn’t matter whether we win or not, the Team Challenge is such a fantastic event to play in.
From the very first event we played in, the magic of it has been amazing and having always been so close to winning ,it became a pilgrimage for us to do so.
The prizes are amazing, but it’s not all about what you win, it’s about the whole experience (Kevin: “We’re hoping that Ryan’s going to give us all an extra prize – probably some PowaKaddy trolleys for carrying him all week.”)
The whole TGI Golf team have been superb all week, every single member of the team has always got a smile on their face despite the early mornings and late nights looking after us all and it is a real joy to be here.
As soon as we get home we’ll be looking to book our flights to come back and defend the title.
Until then, good night, we’ve got to be up at 6am to fly home.
Footnote: Thank you very much for Ryan and his team for providing us with a little bit of insight into the Team Challenge from a competitors point of view and congratulations on your win. See you next year.