For the first time in 20 years Castle Eden Golf Club will be represented in the finals of the Mail on Sunday Classic.
Mark Pope and Michael Cook will be duelling it out with 15 other pairs in this national foursomes competition played over two days in early October.
Mark and Michael began their campaign early in the year, travelling across the north of England, up into the Borders of Scotland in pursuit of qualifying for the chance to take this coveted trophy.
A former host to the Curtis, the British Masters and the Solheim Cup the course they will be competing over offers both exemplary facilities and a stern test of determination and ability for all golfers.
Built around a 14th century manor and a beautiful 11th century church, The St Pierre, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club, is renowned as one of the UK’s finest golf courses.
Played over two days, in a knockout format, the foursomes matchplay requires a perfect bonding of both players games to ensure success in this alternate shot game.
Both Mark, a teacher and Michael the proprietor of a roofing business, are from Peterlee, having been members at Castle Eden for five years.
They have enjoyed success in the club competitions and regularly feature in the Club team.
Mark, an eight handicap player, introduced Michael to the game some years ago and such has been his natural aptitude, he is now the lower handicapper of the pair, with a five stroke allowance.
Michael said: “We have put in many hours of practice to reach the finals and it’s really paid off. We are confident we can put in a good performance and there’s no reason we can’t go all the way and win”.
Both players are very competitive and have adopted a strategy to their foursome play complimenting their individual strengths, which has paid off handsomely to date.
Mark said, “Michael is the straight hitter and I try to plot or way around the course, making sure we are in the right position each time.
“We both have a good short game, which has worked well and this is the part of the game we constantly work at. We’re not just going out playing round after round at the moment, we sticking to a plan of perfecting the parts of the game we’re going to need around the St Pierre course.”
With confidence high and a well honed game in each bag, we could be looking at national champions in a few short weeks. We wish them both all the best of luck.