Another four days of thrilling golf came to a close at Nailcote Hall, as the curtain came down on the 2017 Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship. With packed crowds, this year’s tournament was the biggest and best yet, reflected by the stars who graced the prestigious Cromwell Course.
The 2017 Championship got under way with Tuesday’s Celeb-Am, with heavy rain hitting the course early on Tuesday morning, leaving a slick, tricky course for the assembled players. Scottish rugby star Max Evans, did enough to take the Celeb-Am title, birdying the 110-yard sixth hole, and finishing his round with a score of 36 points, on level par. Harry Potter actors James and Oliver Phelps appeared, with Oliver on caddy duty, helping his brother to second place, with a score of 33 points in the process, while ex-England cricketer James Taylor managed 31 points for third spot on his debut at the Championship.
England’s most capped player Peter Shilton OBE, former Wales forward John Hartson and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ star Len Goodman also took to the course, but none could rival Evans’ earlier round. BBC TV presenters Naga Munchetty and Manish Bhasin, Scotland manager Gordon Strachan OBE, former Aston Villa and Bayern Munich striker Alan McInally and Westlife’s Brian McFadden and Boyzone’s Keith Duffy, also entertained the crowd.
The first day of play led to many of the star celebrity names turning out for the Charity Gala Ball at Nailcote Hall that evening, with comedian Dominic Holland hosting proceedings for the evening, and a live charity auction, with proceeds going towards Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People. The audience were then brought to their feet as they were treated to an exclusive live performance from BoyzLife, comprising of McFadden and Duffy, with a medley of tunes such as ‘Uptown Girl’, ‘Mandy’, ‘Words’ and ‘Swear It All Over Again’, providing a fantastic accompaniment to the night.
With Wednesday came the start of the Professional Championship. After a rain delayed morning which resulted in the day’s play being reduced to 9 holes, 2010 champion Richard O’Hanlon was -3 for his nine holes, scoring three birdies at the 3rd, 4th and 8th holes to end Wednesday as the undisputed leader. 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam OBE, Irish star Mark Murphy and local qualifier Ashley Mason closely trailed him, going into Thursday’s decisive day. The likes of women’s golfing legend Dame Laura Davies, Australian Ladies European Tour winner Rebecca Artis and rising stars, Amy Boulden, Annabel Dimmock and Meghan MacLaren were all just a handful of shots back, on level par.
Upon conclusion of the day’s play, the Player’s Banquet took place, with Dominic Holland again on hosting duties. Tournament host Tony Jacklin CBE hosted a Q&A with Dame Laura Davies and Paul Lawrie OBE, before soprano sensation Faith Tucker wowed the audience with her renditions of classic songs. Entertainer Kev Orkian then had everyone in stitches with his award-winning routine going down a storm. Following a three-course meal, guests were invited to take part in a live charity auction, hosted by Team GB’s athletics star Derek Redmond, raising vital funds for Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People.
Come Thursday, O’Hanlon held his nerve across a tense final day to secure the victory and win his second Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, and the accompanying €50,000 prize by two shots on -5, ahead of 2014 British Par 3 champion Eddie Pepperell and qualifier Mason on -3. There was a four-way tie for 4th place, with MacLaren turning in the best performance by a female player in the Championship’s history, alongside the country’s greatest amateur player, Gary Wolstenholme MBE, European Senior Tour star Andre Bossert and European Tour player Steven Tiley, with all finishing on -2.
O’Hanlon said: “I feel unbelievable! It was a rollercoaster and my emotions are still all over the place, to go from second last year to my second win now, I’m delighted.
“I’m a club and teaching pro, and this is European Tour money, this is out of this world!”
O’Hanlon thanked all involved, including title sponsors Farmfoods’ CEO Eric Herd who O’Hanlon described as “having changed his life”.
The Super Senior category was shared by Ian Woosnam and four-time Super Senior winner Carl Mason, with a score of +1. The Norma C Herd Silver Salver prize, awarded to the best ranking amateur, went to Michael Lawrie, son of 1999 Open winner Paul Lawrie OBE, with a score of +5. While the Team prize went to O’Hanlon and his amateur partner Tony Lymn, with a combined score of -13.
An emotional O’Hanlon received the trophy in-front of a packed grandstand, with a capacity crowd showing their appreciation towards the worthy winner, as well as the winners of the other categories.
The final day of the 2017 Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship saw the celeb stars hit the Cromwell Course, concluding with former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler winning the final Celeb-Am. He claimed victory with a score of +3, clinching the title with a fantastic round which saw him hit three birdies.
Former 1992 F1 champion Nigel Mansell CBE, BBC news and sports host Dan Walker, Strictly Come Dancing star James Jordan, and Coronation Street star William Roache MBE all took to the Cromwell Course too on a glorious day of sunshine.
The fun of the Grand Finale Ball took place later on Friday night, with Olympic hero Derek Redmond hosting proceedings. Prize giving ceremonies took place, alongside a three-course dinner and quality entertainment.
Highlights of the 2017 Championship will be shown on on Sky Sports Golf during September. Next year's Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship will take place from Tuesday 7th- Friday 10th August 2018 at Nailcote Hall. If you are interested in playing or sponsoring next year’s event, please visit: www.britishpar3.com for more information, and to apply for free spectator tickets.
The Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship would like to thank title sponsor Farmfoods and event partners Nailcote Hall, Champions (UK) plc, Browns Food Group, The Eagle Tour, ITV, The Birmingham Post, Total Motion, Glenmuir, Bentley Leicester, Inspirational Magazine, Finest Catch, Champions Celebrity, VPAR Live Golf, Liberty, Golf Punk and Champions After Dinner Speakers and chosen charity for the event Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People. Returning media partner, Sky Sports have also supported the event with its usual excellent coverage.