Guernsey Press

Intriguing Foursomes Championship final will be a generation game

YOUTH is pitted against experience today in an intriguing final of the Guernsey Press Elite Men’s Foursomes Championship.

Jamie Blondel putting from the back of the fourth green. Picture by Gareth Le Prevost, 04-05-23 (32079192)

Teenage brothers Rory and Conor McKenna will bring a no-fear attitude as well as their obvious talent to the showpiece occasion at L’Ancresse while the long-established Guernsey pairing of reigning Channel Islands champion Jamie Blondel and former Island champion Steve Mahy have been there, done it and got several proverbial T-shirts to prove it.

It makes for a fascinating contrast and, hopefully, a cracking title decider.

Both pairings had to work hard to make it there yesterday evening, though.

Everyone was expecting that to be the case in the top half of the draw as Blondel and Mahy faced their L’Ancresse clubmates and top seeds Danny Bisson and Tom Pattimore in the last four, but the other semi-final was a much more unpredictable affair as the siblings came up against the surprise package of the knockout stages in the duo of Tim Halden and Wayne Harwood.

It proved to be a riveting see-saw battle that went the full distance.

The McKennas quickly established a 2 up lead after four holes and they maintained that advantage through seven, but the momentum begun to swing as the match approached the turn and by the time they reached the 12th tee, Halden and Harwood had levelled the match.

Conor McKenna hits his drive on the fifth. Picture by Gareth Le Prevost, 04-05-23 (32079194)

They then edged ahead for the first time on that tough par-three in a typical match-play scenario.

With the hole playing into the south-westerly with the pin located on the front left-hand quadrant of the green, the McKennas were definite favourites to regain the lead after the tee shots, but while they three-putted from just short and right of the putting surface, Halden rolled in a lengthy par putt after Harwood had chipped up from the left-hand side and they went 1 up.

That lead quickly doubled on the 13th where, after a fine drive from Harwood, Halden played arguably the shot of the night, managing to stop his downwind wedge approach off a down slope 3ft from the cup for a brilliant birdie.

Suddenly the McKennas were up against it, but they responded impressively to win back-to-back holes on 14 and 15 to draw level once more.

A half followed on the 16th, but an excellent approach from Rory on 17 and a mature putt from Conor with their opponents struggling to save par on 17 gave the youngsters the lead going to the last.

The older sibling then turned the screw by safely finding the green on 18 while Halden was unfortunate to see his tee shot land on the down slope and run through the back of the green.

Realistically, Harwood had to hole his chip shot to force extra holes and after his attempt had run past the cup, Conor rolled his putt up to hole side to seal their place in the final.

Blondel and Mahy had already won by that stage, having held the upper hand against Bisson and Pattimore for the majority of their semi-final.

They were 3 up at one point on the front nine and although the top seeds won three holes in a row around the turn, once Blondel and Mahy forged ahead once more, they would not be caught again and they clinched victory on the 17th green.

Guernsey Press Elite Men’s Foursomes Championship

Semi-final results

J Blondel & S Mahy beat D Bisson & T Pattimore 3 & 1; R McKenna & C McKenna beat T Halden & W Harwood 2 up.

The final tees off at 4.45pm on Friday.