The European Deaf Golf Championship is a 36 hole strokeplay event (2 rounds) including one practice round over 3 days at a challenging and hilly championship golf course at Hauger Golf Klubb which had large undulating greens that made putting more difficult than the England players where normally accustomed to.
The event was played in very warm and sunny weather which made the playing conditions testing from a mental and physical standpoint.
It was also the first time that 2 England lady deaf golfers took part at the European Deaf Golf Open Championship. 19 year old Lydia Ingman (England) on her international deaf golf debut came 2nd in the ladies scratch event after battling from 9 shots behind after the first round to enforce a playoff with a stunning bunker shot at the last hole. Lydia was beaten on the 1st extra hole in the playoff by Andrea Hjellegjerde of Norway. Donna Cross (England) came 4th in what would put her in good stead for future international deaf golf events.
In the mens event Paul Waring (England) had a fabulous first round up to 17 holes where he was 2 under par gross overall to be wrecked by an 8 on the last hole but still was 4 shots ahead of Jay Stally (England) who shot 78 and five shots ahead of Steven Cafferty (Scotland). One of the pre-tournament favourites Hans Elgaard of Denmark shot 80.
The second round was played in more windy conditions than the first Paul, Jay and Steven played in the final group which is probably a first that deaf golfers from the UK played in the last group of a final round. Low rounds of 77 from Hans Elgaard and David Barber (Finland) threatened podium place chances but Paul battled on after struggling with a few putts as the pin positions were more testing on the final day to win the individual event by 5 shots from Hans Elgaard and 7 shots from Jay Stally. This is Paul’s second European Deaf Golf Open Championship title in a row after winning it for the first time in Finland 2013.
In the team event thanks to Paul Waring and Jay Stally’s fast start in the first round the England Team A also supported by Michael Burris and Martin Anderson were 9 shots ahead of Denmark after the best 3 scores were counted towards the team score in round 1.
Denmark improved their scores in the second round but it was not enough for them to overtake England who won the team event for the second time in a row by 9 shots.
England B and England C teams also took part and finished in respective 6th and 7th places out of 8 teams. This is valuable experience for the squad members to put them in better stead for future international events which makes England Deaf Golf much stronger in depth.
The England Deaf Golf squad members:
England Team A
· Michael Burris, captain (Forest Hills GC, Glos)
· Martin Anderson (Kilnwick Percy GC, Yorks)
· Jay Stally (Seaford GC, East Sussex)
· Paul Waring (Felixstowe Ferry GC, Suffolk)
England Team B
· Marc Murphy, captain (Birchwood Park GC, Essex)
· Richard Le Page (Brocton Hall GC, Staffs)
· Michael Roberts (Knole Park GC, Kent)
· Ben Stephens (Rutland Water GC, Rutland)
England Team C
· Peter Baker, captain (Ellesmere Port GC, Merseyside)
· Spencer Neal (Hinckley GC, Leics)
· Paul Whitehouse (Billingham GC, Teesside)
· Keith Wilkinson (Droitwich GC, Worcs)
· Donna Cross (Bradley Park GC, Yorks)
· Lydia Ingman (Bondhay GC, Notts)
Ben Stephens, Chairman, England Deaf Golf added “This has been overall a fantastic trip from England Deaf Golf standpoint with 3 podium finishes overall for England which is a first. I would also like to thank our supporters who travelled to Norway to support us as they are just as important as the players. I hope this experience will put England Deaf Golf Team in good stead for next year’s World Deaf Golf Championships in Copenhagen Denmark where we aim to improve on our runners up position in the team event.