PREPARE TO PILGRIMAGE TO SIGUEIRO
It hardly seems like four years since Fernando Cano of the Gualta club in Catalonia fired a brilliant bogey free final round of 48 at La Grande Motte near Montpelier.
Cano thus became the inaugural World Pitch and Putt Strokeplay champion. His aggregate of 16 under par 146 over 54 holes in the rain truncated event gave Cano a two shot winning margin. Second was Ireland's Ray Murphy, who had led after the first round with a scintillating course record of 45. Murphy closed with a superb 46 but a second round 57 had left him with too much to do. Ray Murphy's Irish colleague John Walsh carded a closing 48 to place third on -12.
The 1,000 year old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is known in English as the Way of St. James and in Spanish as the Camino de Santiago. Over 100,000 pilgrims travel to the region each year from points all over Europe and other parts of the world. How fitting it will be if Sigueiro, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain is a place of Pitch and Putt pilgrimage for the II World Strokeplay Championships on 4/7 July 2013.
Chrissie Byrne (Ireland) won the ladies championship in France on one under par 161. Dutch player Herma Kleinlugtenbeld was second, six back. Ireland's Tracey McGrath finished third on 168. The landscape of our sport has changed since that April day in 2009 and the II World Strokeplay will take place in Pitch and Putt’s new world.
The Galicia region is considered the wettest in all of Spain but July boasts the lowest average rainfall of any month. Average temperature in July is 23.6 degrees so the probability of another weather-shortened event is low.
A regularly scheduled competition meant to determine the competitor of that cycle is called a championship. A world championship is the top achievement for any sport. It determines the individual in the world in a particular field.
Top level Pitch and Putt, as well as the business of it, is intense and extremely competitive, while it's found enjoyable by many, as well as cathartic. The world championship will permit us to showcase and publicise all that's good in our sport. Through Pitch and Putt, friendship and business can flourish.The World Strokeplay championship, held every four years, is the international pinnacle of Pitch and Putt sports competition. It should inspire players from around the world to take on the challenge of competing at the elite level.It should also encourage domestic administrators to provide an efficient platform for qualification.Our sport will be best served by having the widest possible global representation in Galicia, given the exceptional importance of this championship.
Let'ss begin with eligibility tournaments in territories around the world, where winners from qualifying events book their credentials for Sigueiro. If a qualifier cannot participate, the runner-up or next best ranked must take his/her place.
Domestic associations are currently devising the appropriate procedure to choose their allocated players - with the aim to have some of the best players playing for the title of world champion. Associations will contact chosen players to determine if they can indeed attend the event, and if not, an alternative player must opt to take the place.Our goal is that every Pitch and Putt territory and all players get this fantastic opportunity to experience a world championship!
Eighteen players have already earned automatic slots. Fernando Cano will return to defend his title. He will again face 2012 World Cup winners Ray Murphy and John Walsh.Ian Farrelly will seek the double honour of European and World Strokeplay champion. John Ross Crangle played brilliantly in Norway in 2012 and for Ireland in the World Cup. An interesting qualifier is Australian teenager Jack Kalis from Wagga Wagga.He will join Australian World Cup runners-up Tom Rickit and James Rogerson. In ladies, champion Chrissie Byrne will renew rivalry with Herma Kleinlugtenbeld and the improving Esther de Schiffart.
Here's hoping all domestic associations and players alike grab this once in four year opportunity. Let's see some Americans and Asians tee up in Sigueiro alongside the Aussies and the Europeans. (Originally published in "Forat 18"magazine)