Fifers play their part in Phoenix Cup victory

The 2018 Phoenix Cup winning side.The 2018 Phoenix Cup winning side.
The 2018 Phoenix Cup winning side.
North east Fife more than played its part in Team Europe's victory in the '˜disabled Ryder Cup'.

Team Europe’s golfers with disabilities have just returned home from Florida where they beat the American players at Rotonda Golf & Country Club Englewood near Tampa, by 13.5 to 10.5 to lift the Phoenix Cup.

Jim Gales, from Springfield, skippered the side which also included Derek Milne (Upper Largo) and was coached by Cupar’s Norman Ross.

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The traditional match play competition was played over three days at the club’s Long Marsh Course between the US team and Europe’s players from countries including: Germany,, Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

After a few rounds of tough competition, it was the Europeans who took the honours in the same way their counterparts did in Paris a few weeks ago.

The victory was dedicated to Scotsman Billy Cairns who sadly died just before the event started.

Jim Gales said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to promote golf for people with disabilities and although the team got off to a great start the US team fought back to be all-square after day two.

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“We had a slow start in the singles but severl of our guys pulled one out of the bag for the team and took a point back, for us to win.

“We were obviously distraught at losing Billy, but dedicated ourselves to winning the trophy for him and his family back home.”

Amongst those lining up to offer congratulations to the side was area MP Stephen Gethins.

Mr Gethins is Jim’s MP and vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Golf.

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He said: “I am delighted for Jim and his team mates from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Germany.

“This is a fantastic competition and I know it has taken a lot of work to organise.

“To mark this tremendous achievement, I have put down a motion in Parliament, co-signed by my joint-chair Craig Tracey MP, which will put the efforts of Team Europe on the record.”