“I remember standing on the tee, looking over my shoulder at the back tee and thinking ‘Jack Nicklaus has stood on that tee’. The feeling was almost surreal”, said Craig Carrington after BMW and Golf GameBook had arranged for 22 British golfers to feel like the pros at The Belfry’s legendary Brabazon course last Thursday.

Earlier this spring BMW teamed up with Golf GameBook to offer all British golfers a chance to make their way to Gleneagles, where the 40th edition of The Ryder Cup will be played between 26 and 28 September. The campaign was called BMW Road to Gleneagles 2014 and it started out with an 11-week long mobile tournament, where all rounds played with GameBook any time and anywhere in the country took part.

All rounds resulting in 30 or more Stableford points where entered into a prize draw. Every week one winner was randomly drawn and awarded with a spot to The Belfry Playoff – and a chance to play their way to The Ryder Cup.

Each of the weekly winners got to invite a teammate to come along to The Belfry Playoff that was played as a Better Ball Stableford competition between the teams. The event fulfilled some of the biggest dreams of these 22 participants. Starting with playing in a pro-style event on the famous Brabazon course, followed by some top of the line prizes such as custom fitted clubs from Titleist and topped off with getting to experience The Ryder Cup live.

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Sharon and Ali Simmons registering at BMW tournament office.

”Today was excellent”, said one of the participants, Ali Simmons from Drayton Park Golf Club after a day of great golf was over. ”First class organisation all the way through, it was a great day”, he continued. ”And fun as well, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves”, added his wife Sharon, who had won the spot in the playoff event during the 8th week of the mobile tournament.

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Winners Stephen Woods (r) and Craig Carrington collect their prizes from Golf GameBook’s Emma.

Woods & Carrington will be headed to Gleneagles

At the end of the day it was Stephen Woods and his teammate Craig Carrington who took home the victory, tickets to The Ryder Cup and a custom fitted set of Titleist clubs each. Their final score of 42 Stableford points was 5 more than the next teams were able to achieve. Behind the winning duo the fight for the other great prizes was very tight as a total of three teams ended up with 37 points.

”As we were driving down the 18th, we didn’t know what the situation was as the last 3 holes were hidden from the live scoring. So we had to expect the worst even though we had a couple of shots’ lead going into the last 3 holes. We had a decent 16 and 17 and the last thing you wanted to do on the 18th was loose your ball, not put in a score and loose by one”, Craig explained.

Even though the win might seem easy, this was one of the toughest spots the duo from Whittlebury Park Golf & Country Club has been put on during their 12 years of golf together. ”I’ve never been so nervous! I actually counted and there were about 25 people watching when we teed off, plus a camera pointed at me”, Craig described. ”We’ve played thousands of rounds of golf, and I was just asking myself why are you nervous? You could do this blindfolded any Sunday morning”, Stephen explained. ”I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for Rory or somebody standing over a putt when you could go to world number one or win a Major or win a million pound. I’m shaking in my boots already at this level”, Craig added.

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Stephen Woods teeing off at The Belfry Playoff.

Rooting for Europe

By winning The Belfry Playoff Stephen and Greg earned themselves tickets to watch the action unfold at Gleneagles this September. They will be there for the opening ceremony on Thursday and stay until the winning putt is sunk on Sunday.

They have clear expectations for the week. “It’s probably the biggest ever year for Europe. If you look at their side, they are simply fantastic. The worst thing they could probably do is go in with too high hopes, have a bad day 1 and panic. I think it’s theirs for the taking”, Craig analysed. “It’s going to be great to get to go that close to the professionals and see how easy they make the game look compared to what we do. It is a totally different game”, Stephen concluded.

 

Check out the final results of The Belfry Playoff by visiting the Game Site at www.golfgamebook.com/game/2uq-rfvl.
For more info about BMW Road to Gleneagles, please visit www.bmwroadtogleneagles2014.co.uk.

 

– Johanna
@GolfGameBook on Twitter