Two Thanet golfers will be competing against other duos next month in a bid to win the biggest amateur golf competition in the world.
Dave Wheeler and Lee Gillespie, who are representing St Augustine’s Golf Club in Ramsgate, will compete in the Daily Mail Foursomes competition at Slaley Hall in Northumberland after making a place in the final 16 out of some 120,000 golfers.
The journey to the final 16 began when the duo won their own club’s competition in January 2020- and then beat North Foreland in a local derby.
Unfortunately the pandemic then meant a halt in the competition which is entered by some 1,500 clubs across the UK.
When play resumed in April this year Dave and Lee, both 48, chalked up victories against Princes, Chestfield, Ashford and Tudor Park before beating Mardyke Valley from Romford in the last 64 and Chislehurst in the last 32.
The pair will now play at the national finals from October 3-5.
Dave, from Cliffsend has been a golfer for 10 years and Lee from Westgate for 30 years. Both are 9 handicappers.
Dave said:”It’s very exciting, the whole golf club, family and friends are excited and everyone is saying what a big thing this is for us and the club.
“The pressure is on you because your partner’s next shot is reliant on the quality of your shot and you are reliant on your partner.
“We never thought we would get to this stage. You win your club’s competition, which is a life-long ambition for many golfers anyway, but then you go into the competition thinking how far could you get.
“We were thinking a nice few rounds of golf at different courses, meet new people and have a few away games. But then the further you get, you start thinking you could do something quite special here. From round four we started to think we could actually do this!”
Dave, who has played competitively in football and cricket previously, says this is the biggest sporting event he has taken part in.
He said: “Everything you read says this is the biggest amateur golf competition in the world and it has hit home how big it really is. It was our dream to get to the finals and now we are there. It would be lovely to win.”
Dave and Lee say they have had huge support and thank St Augustine’s Golf Club and Dave’s brother-in-law Chris Whitehead for financial backing.
Slaley Hall, which is a European Tour venue, hosts the final four rounds of the event – last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and grand final. It is considered to be one of the best courses in the north of England.
The Daily Mail Foursomes is the oldest national-sponsored event in amateur golf and celebrates its 60th anniversary next year. Since its launch, more than five million golfers have taken part in the club qualifying competitions with more than 100,000 players competing in annual inter-club knockout rounds.