David Wallace’s Munster Team claimed the inaugral Golf Voyager Algarve Golf Challenge after a playoff.
Former rugby rivals, David Wallace and Luke Fitzgerald headed up the Munster and Leinster teams that took to the fairways in the Algarve last weekend.
After two days of competitive play, it came down to a playoff to decide both the four-ball and overall team event. Ennis natives Paul Coote and Adrian Kearney showed consistency with two rounds of 39 points to jump from 4th place into top spot on the leaderboard at the challenging Vila Sol course in Vilamoura.
Former Leinster and Ireland rugby star Luke Fitzgerald and his partner Eamonn Cormican showed their competitive edge to tie the clubhouse lead on 78 points. With the best Leinster team tied with the best Munster team on 78 points and with the scores tied 16-16 in the overall team event, the tournament organisers Golf Voyager, decided that it would be a case of ‘everything on the line’ as a sudden death playoff would be required much to the delight of the other 60 golfers cheering on their respective provinces and gathered on the balcony overlooking the majestic 18th hole at Pestanas flagship golf resort.
After a brief negotiation with the course manager, the golf shoes needed to be laced up again as the pairs Fitzgerald & Cormican Coote & Kearney headed back to the 18th tee box. The onlooking gallery were not disappointed as all 4 players showed no signs of nervousness when all hitting stunning approach shots that were greeted by rapturous applause by the swelling crowd.
Luke Fitzgerald had the first effort for birdie and decided to chip rather than putt from just off the green. His aggressive play nearly played off as the ball checked and threatened the hole briefly before running out 8 feet past. Next up was the powerful Eamonn Cormican whose birdie putt was hit on a perfect line but lacked an ounce of pace and stopped in the jaws. His tap-in for par was matched by Adrian Kearney when his birdie putt also grazed the hole.
It came down to Luke Fitzgerald to hole out for par as Paul Coote, who had produced the best approach to just 5 feet, would have 2 putts for victory should the former British and Ireland Lions star miss. Unfortunately for Fitzgerald, his putt was offline and Coote duly putted stone dead to claim a memorable triumph for the dynamic Clare duo who play out of Woodstock Golf club.
Edward Charnock, Director of Golf at Pestana Vila Sol was on hand to present another rugby legend David Wallace with the Golf Voyager Algarve Golf Challenge Cup on behalf of a jubilant Munster team.