The 13th Ratcliffe College Ryder Cup Golf Tour teed off in North Yorkshire this month, along the beautiful stretch of coastline from Bridlington to Scarborough, taking in Filey and Flamborough Head. The Ryder Cup format was played for the coveted Mir Patel Golf Trophy. The European Captain, Sam Leake, (6 handicap) led a team of Quin Capsticks (17) and Albert Hilton (23), playing in his first Golf Tour. Will Pearce (22) led team USA with Jaiden Heaphy (36), also on tour for the first time, accompanying Mr Reddin (12). Sadly, Dan Grimes, Year 13, was unable to travel following an injury on the recent school cricket tour. Mr Ryce (36), accompanied the tour for the first 2 days, with Mr Michel (18), a stalwart of recent tours, joining for the last 2 days. Between them, messrs Ryce and Michel, would have quite an impact on the overall score.
Day 1 – Bridlington Golf Club
An uneventful mini-bus journey to Yorkshire was followed by a wonderful round at Bridlington Golf Club on a warm Sunday afternoon. Match one featured Ryce and Heaphy who, together, provided a whopping combined handicap of seventy-two shots against the cultured play of Leake playing off six. As match one concluded on the 18th green, Pearce’s faith in his fledging team was repaid in full, as Ryce and Heaphy secured a famous win for the USA. In match two, the US team held their nerve, and a strong finish ensured the win and second point. Nearest the pin was won by Ryce with an excellent iron, but the longest drive was a mighty swipe by Leake which split the fairway in two. Both received prizes from Calloway Golf. Post-match victuals were enjoyed at Buffalos American Steak House, one of Bridlington’s premier eating houses. Europe 0 vs USA 2.
Day 2 – Filey Golf Club
The Filey golf course proved to be a true gem – everyone enjoyed the sterner test of narrow fairways and thicker, rough. Capsticks and Ryce wore Reddin down to win match one, two up. Match two completed Europe’s comeback as Leake and Hilton completed a domineering victory early in the back nine. Despite their best-efforts, Pearce and Heaphy were unable to match the exceptional precision and skill from the European players, who rarely missed a fairway or green between them. Leake peppered the par threes to win nearest the pin and his playing partner was a worthy winner of the longest drive – well done, Albert! A brisk walk into ‘Brid’ led the tourists to Wiseguys, another venerated eatery renowned for its shakes and burgers. A delightful culinary experience, and Michel’s arrival was rewarded with the 12oz double-stack burger and fries! Europe 2 vs USA 2.
Day 3 – Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club
After a keenly contested beach football match on the wonderful Bridlington sands, we headed off for game three. Scarborough South Cliff is a lovely Golf Club, blending the best of links and a parkland play. A bold move by USA Captain, Pearce, paired Reddin with Michel in match two against the much-fancied duo of Leake and Capsticks, both of whom were playing excellent golf. This left Heaphy to partner with his skipper to face Hilton in match one. Sadly, for team USA, Hilton had his eye-in from the first tee, not letting go of his advantage, winning a thrilling contest two up, to complete the European comeback, taking them ahead for the first time in the overall match. Congratulations to Pearce for a fine shot on the par three fourteenth hole, winning the nearest the pin competition. Behind them in match two, Reddin and Michel floundered, sunk five and four by the sheer excellence of their opponent’s golf. Leake and Capsticks showcased a golfing masterclass, with Capsticks taking the lowest net score with a sublime sixty-seven, and longest drive, pipping the rampant Hilton, who scored a worthy net sixty-nine. “All hamburgered out, Sir,” was the cry when the serious business of our evening fare was raised. Considering our options, everyone agreed that a golf tour wouldn’t be a tour at all, without a visit to the local tandoori restaurant! Europe 4 vs USA 2.
Day 4 – Flamborough Head Golf Club
The final day arrived with a mixture of sunshine and showers forecast as we emptied our rooms and loaded the van and trailer, ready to play the windswept links that is Flamborough Head. Just a stone’s throw from the famous lighthouse, this course is as open to the elements as any links course played before. Squally showers and a strong North Westerly breeze ensured that anything off-line was severely punished by the gorse. To give USA the opportunity to win the trophy outright, Leake generously agreed to change the format and use Michel as a secret weapon for both teams, nine holes apiece! This decision certainly kept the game interesting and led to a point for the USA after the first nine holes as Michel, playing spectacular golf from tee to green, won against Capsticks. The score was now 4-3 to Europe, with Reddin ahead against Leake in match three as they made the turn, could Team USA reverse the score line by the end of the afternoon? Michel’s subsequent defection to Team Europe for the back nine dented USA’s spirits as, inexplicably, his run of pars continued, ensuring a comprehensive victory against Pearce, five and four. The overall score was now 5-3 to Europe, but USA was not done just yet. Reddin was holding his nerve against Leake, his experience and straight driving kept his nose in front, finally sealing the win on the 16th green, three and two, reducing the deficit for the USA to 5-4 with one match to go. Heaphy and Hilton had been playing erratically, with the lead passing back and forth between them throughout the round. Finally, Hilton made the decisive move at the 17th, winning the hole to take the match two and one, confirming Europe’s victory for the first time since 2017 at Royal Porthcawl. Final score Europe 6 vs USA 4.
The presentation of the famous Mir Patel Claret Jug in the Club House accompanied awards to Capsticks and Leake, who took the honours for nearest the pin. Reddin for longest drive and Capsticks for lowest net with a fabulous sixty-nine strokes, with Leake being selected as ‘Golfer of the Week.’ Thank you to all the tourists this year, including Mr Ryce and Mr Michel for their support of the boys.