Padraig Harrington’s brother amongst winners
Four-handicapper Columb Harrington, 52, and his partner, Kaye Mater, 52, who plays off 28 - both members at Buckingham Golf Club - emerged victorious in the mixed pairs final. They were joined on the winners' rostrum by pairs' winners John Hennessy, 53, a three-handicapper, and nine-handicapper Peter Smart, 49, from Pyrford GC, in Surrey.
Also celebrating was singles winner Peter Jones, 66, a 13-handicapper from Downshire Golf Complex, in Wokingham, Berks, and senior pairs winners Phil Bermingham, 67, and Alan Russell, 58, who both play off 10 at Fulwell GC, in Middlesex.
It was played in a great spirit throughout and culminated, on the final evening, in a gala presentation dinner in which the friendships and camaraderie of all the competitors was plain to see. Competitors mixed together throughout the week to enjoy the historic port city of Essaouira on Morocco's Atlantic coast - its atmosphere, its souks, its flavours and colours, its food, and its restaurants, cafés and bars.
Smart echoed his sentiments and said: "It's been a fabulous experience and we've had a great time. Everybody we've met has been fantastic."
In total, 32 amateur golfers from across the UK and Ireland qualified for the trip of a lifetime to compete in the grand final of four competitions - singles, pairs, mixed pairs and senior pairs. Each finalist - whether in the singles, pairs, mixed pairs or senior pairs' competitions - would have played up to four qualifying rounds merely to reach their regional UK final, from where they earned the right to travel to Morocco.
They enjoyed complimentary return flights to Morocco, five nights' accommodation at the five-star Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa hotel - nestled in the lush surroundings of a wild beach lined with eucalyptus and mimosa, overlooking the Atlantic - and four rounds of golf at the highly rated Gary Player-designed links-style Golf de Mogador.
The burgeoning Kingdom of Morocco has 37 golf courses to be enjoyed in year-round sunshine - plus eight more under construction - and, with flight times of less than three-and-a-half hours from the UK and Ireland, it is a hugely attractive alternative to the more traditional golf destinations of Europe.
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