Burghley Park’s Scott Downie came so close to making the international final of the BMW Golf Cup competition last week.
He finished second in the national finals held at the Castle Course in St Andrews, missing out on a trip to South Africa by just one point.
Downie, playing off seven, had qualified by finishing fourth in the regional final at Woburn earlier in the summer and was accompanied in the national final by another Burghley member, Cathal McHugh (6), who had come second in the same event.
The first day of the competition was a practice round which enabled all the players to get a feel for the challenging course before they took on the course for real the next day.
That evening they attended a pre-event dinner in the Hall of Champions, with BBC commentator Andrew Cotter interviewing Dame Laura Davies as part of the occasion.
Friday saw the competition become real, with all the competitors realising what they could win if they got it together over the next 18 holes – the winning golfer from each handicap category getting the opportunity to represent the UK in the BMW Golf Cup International Final in South Africa later this year.
In tricky conditions, with the wind making the challenging course even tougher, McHugh drew first blood, carding three birdies to finish with 32 points, which was good enough for an outright sixth place finish.
But Downie was playing out of his skin, with a birdie on the last giving him 36 points, to give him outright second place, narrowly missing out on victory by a single point.
The day ended with a celebratory dinner, during which the top three players in each category were awarded their prizes by Dame Laura Davies.
Both Downie and McHugh agreed that this had been the experience of their golfing life.
Downie said: “It was such a great experience for both of us. To have got so far was an amazing achievement and we both really enjoyed the hospitality we’ve had at Woburn and St Andrews.
“We’re so grateful to Sycamore BMW of Peterborough for sponsoring the Order of Merit series at Burghley last year, which gave us the chance to go all this way, and the experience will live in our memory for a long time.”