Thursday, November 03, 2011


The world famous Colonial Country Club in Texas played host to the grand final of the TGI Golf Nike Oven four-ball championship that saw teams from England, Scotland and Ireland competing for the top prize.
English duo Simon Eaton and Paul Walker took the honours with a narrow victory, seeing off the challengers to lift the trophy during an all-expenses paid trip to the United States.
Eaton, PGA professional at Nelson Golf Club in East Lancashire, and Walker, pro at Knott End Golf Club, Lancs, were two of the eight competitors who made it through to the grand finale following national qualifying events held in the summer.
The Lancashire pairing, pictured above at the statue of Ben Hogan with Paul Walker standing and Simon Eaton crouching, just edged the victory over the pristine fairways of the renowned Colonial Country Club – former US Open and current Crowne Plaza Invitational host – winning the better-ball Stableford competition by just a single point from second placed father and son team of Leonard and Lee Owens of Killiney and Royal Dublin respectively.
Scots Alastair McLean (Duddingston) and Mark Patchett (Broomieknowe) finished third, while the wild-card pairing of James Whitaker (Moor Allerton) and Martyn Huish (North Berwick) came fourth.
It was the icing on the cake for Eaton who has enjoyed a fantastic year on the events circuit of the TGI Golf Partnership – Europe’s leading golf retail services group, owned by PGA professionals – having also represented the group at The Ashworth Cup.
“This was the first time I’ve entered the Nike Oven competition, so to win it is a great feeling and really tops off a memorable season for me,” he said. “It was an amazing opportunity given to us all by Nike and TGI. The trip was first-class and the hospitality was outstanding.
“The Colonial Country Club was, as you’d expect, an incredible golf course. I was told beforehand that it wasn’t the longest course on the US PGA Tour circuit – if that was the case I would dread to play the longest!”
During their week-long trip the TGI group were also treated to a two-day tour of The Oven – Nike Golf’s hi-tech research and development facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where they were given an exclusive preview of the new 20Xi Golf Ball.
“It was a wonderful experience from start to finish,” said former TGI chairman Ian Muir (Elie Sports Club) who accompanied the group. “Nike treated us like kings and they took great care of us. The Oven tour was fascinating and we were able to see and sample new products, including wedges, and have a custom-fitting session for the new Method putters.”
Phil Fox, Nike Golf UK and Ireland Category Sales Manager, added: “Nike Golf is extremely honoured to join forces with the TGI Golf Partnership in the second year of this wonderful competition. By taking six regional winners to The Colonial Country Club to contest the final, we were also able to incorporate a ‘once in a lifetime’ tour of our famous R and D hardware facility – an experience that, I am sure, will not be forgotten.
“It was a fantastic trip and a closely contested final,” Fox continued. “Congratulations to Simon and Paul on their superb performance. I feel encouraged the experience and trip will be discussed throughout the TGI Golf Partnership community for some time, and we look forward to seeing a strong field at the 2012 Nike Golf/TGI competition regional qualifying events.”



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