First ever P&P Open in Africa!
by John Hudson – 05.11.2018
Three days of rain, wind and thunder, yet one of the best Opens ever held!
For the first edition of an International P&P Open on African soil, everything was perfect – apart from the weather. The 18 hole course was in tip-top condition, the greens were receptive and true, the lay-out well signposted, the players on time and motivated, and for the first, and we hope not last, time the field included the president of the national Golf Federation! He had no bag, no umbrella and as he set off with his two rented clubs and a putter, he could easily have passed for a seasoned Irish player!
Given the conditions, Maher Bouchamaoui played remarkably well as he won the Seniors’ 2nd place prize.
On Monday he was back in Tunis to represent the Tunisian Olympic committee at a major canoe/kayak event but on his return to the Golf Federation office he will start prospecting the possibilities of developing Pitch & Putt throughout the country and more especially in the interior where golf is totally absent. A good example of P&P working with golf!
Another first at this event was a 4 player sudden death finish as two Tunisians and two Frenchmen tied for first place on one under par after 54 holes. Jean-Luc, French Federation champion this year, putted first and it looked centre-cut all the way until it finished as a « gimme » just left of the hole. Aziz than had a tricky left to right downhill break which suffered exactly the same fate. His sister Amira had a similar putt but from the other side of the green and the assembled spectators roared their appreciation as the perfect speed and line put her in contention for the title. Super Senior, Jean-Claude, now had no choice but to birdy the hole too and once again, it looked in all the way before shaving the hole to the left. For the first time in the history of this great little sport, we had a lady champion!
Here is the complete list of winners: 1st – Amira Ben Ouirane on 161; 2nd – Jean-Luc Pannetier; 3rd – Aziz Ben Ouirane; 4th – Jean-Claude Laperna, all on 161; 5th – Adel Bessaoud on 162.
Same score for the first Junior, Zied Belkhir, with the second Junior, Rayen Ben Belgacem 7 shots behind.
First Lady, (after Amira), Amel Labidi on 164; 2nd Lady, Abir Fellah – 176.
1st Senior – Luc Diaz on 168, with Maher 2nd, ten shots behind.
First Super Senior, (yes, we had a 60 year age spread in the field!) Michel Montagnon on 189, followed by ASGD vice-president with 198.
Sincere thanks to all concerned as the future of Pitch & Putt looks a lot brighter than the weather for the three days of the Open!