A pair of amateur golfers from Oulton Hall, Leeds, claimed the senior pairs title at the prestigious 2016 Morocco Matchplay, powered by HowDidiDo, when it was played in Marrakech.
Retired police officer Malcolm Crowson, 62, from Leeds, and fork-lift driver Kevin Taylor, 51, from Manchester, lost their first round-robin match to Coventry pair Roger Moran and Chris White, but won their next two to earn the chance to face their conquerors again in the final. And, this time, the Oulton Hall pair gained revenge by winning 3-1.
Taylor said: “It was nip and tuck all the way through, one up, one down. It was a very good match all the way though until about 16 when one of the guys completely lost his swing and struggled a bit. He missed a few fairways while we were straight.”
Crowson laughed: “I lost my swing on the first hole and never really had it at all. Kevin pretty much carried me all the way round – I only came in on three holes. The weather was fantastic; we can’t count on this sort of weather at home.
“We’ve had a great time with the other guys in the seniors group. We let our hair down because we know we haven’t got long left – you’ve got to make use of what you’ve got. You’d need wild horses to drag us away from competing again next year.”
Taylor continued: “The weather was absolutely stunning. I had a text from my girlfriend one morning, just after she scraped and de-iced the car, saying the snow had just started. At home it was about two degrees, there it was about 26-28. It’s been absolutely fabulous.
“It’s the first time we’ve reached the grand final and to be there, well, I couldn’t think of a better way to start the year. I hadn’t hit a ball on a course this year until we got out there. So to do this at the start of the season is fabulous.
“It’s a good event. You meet some great people and go to some fantastic courses. We actually prefer to play away because you get to see new courses, meet new guys, have a bit of banter and, if you win something, all the better. If you don’t, it’s still been brilliant.”
Four competitions culminated at the grand final, sponsored for a third year by the Moroccan National Tourist Office (MNTO): singles, pairs, mixed pairs and senior pairs. Each finalist played up to four qualifying rounds merely to reach the regional final, with the knockout rounds taking place between June and September, and the regional finals in October.
And each of the 32 competitors received complimentary return flights from Gatwick, courtesy of the event’s partner British Airways; five nights’ luxury bed-and-breakfast accommodation in the five-star Palmeraie Palace; four rounds of championship golf on the Robert Trent Jones-designed championship golf course, the PalmGolf Marrakech, Palmeraie; a welcome cocktail reception; and a gala dinner and prize presentation.
Palmeraie Resorts, spread out across almost 570 acres in the heart of the palm grove of Marrakech, includes hotels, a conference centre, a 5,000m² spa, more than a dozen restaurants, and 27 holes of golf.
The stunning PalmGolf Marrakech, Palmeraie offers beautiful scenery – with views of the Atlas mountains and 11 lakes – while still demanding technical prowess. Just 25 minutes from the international airport, the Troon Golf-managed course was voted Africa’s best, in the World Travel Awards, for 10 consecutive years from 2006 to 2015.
The elegant, yet contemporary, five-star Palmeraie Palace offers 314 rooms and suites, each with a terrace or balcony overlooking the swimming pool, golf course or gardens. It also has four restaurants and bars for relaxing ‘off course’.
The burgeoning Kingdom of Morocco has 37 golf courses to be enjoyed in year-round sunshine – plus eight more under construction – and, with flight times of less than three-and-a-half hours from the UK and Ireland, it is a hugely attractive alternative to the more traditional golf destinations of Europe.
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