Byeong Hun An and Jamie Redknapp combined to win the inaugural ISPS HANDA Pressure Putt Showdown on the eve of the BMW PGA Championship, but the real star of the show was eight year old Jamie Sach who helped the pair to victory in front of a live TV audience.
Junior golfer Jamie, who plays at Frinton Park Golf Club, was called upon as An and Redknapp’s ‘mulligan’ after the duo each missed from 18ft in the knockout competition involving eight teams consisting of professionals and their celebrity partners.
The youngster showed no nerves as he calmly rolled in the pressure putt to keep defending BMW PGA Champion An and former England footballer Redknapp in the competition, and he celebrated in style by being hoisted in the air by Redknapp, Shane Lowry and the other on-looking players.
With rugby player Keith Wood and his partner Lowry also holing from 18ft, the showdown went to a play-off involving WGC-Bridgestone Invitational champion Lowry and An, with the latter successfully holing from 15ft to claim the £10,000 charity prize for his team. The money will be split equally between the International Golf Federation and official charity of the BMW PGA Championship, Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens.
Redknapp had actually missed the very first putt of the contest, which involved the teams attempting to hole-out from increasing distances starting at three feet, with each team having one mulligan available if they both missed – a putt taken by one of four schoolchildren. After An saved his team from elimination in the opening round, the pair went on to claim a hard-fought victory and they were quick to thank the ‘third team member’, young Jamie.
“I was so nervous taking that first putt,” said Redknapp, who played for Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur and now works as a football pundit on Sky Sports. “The last thing you want to do is miss, and I did that, but I knew I had the main man with me, and also this little guy, my man Jamie, who made a massive clutch putt for us to keep us in it.
“It was brilliant fun and obviously an honour to do it with Ben, who is the reigning champion. It’s great to raise this money for Cancer Research UK Kids &Teens as well. It is a great charity to give it to.”
An said: “Jamie did well to keep us in it, then the other Jamie stepped in, so I didn’t really have much to do until that last one. It was one of the highlights of this week. Everyone seemed to enjoy the competition too, which is great.”
Young Jamie added: “I’ve been playing for six years and I play in competitions at Frinton, so my putting is pretty good. I was nervous at first but then I had my first go in the competition and I knew it wasn’t nerve-racking, so I enjoyed it.”
The other teams competing in the ISPS HANDA Pressure Putt Showdown were: former US Open Champion McDowell and legendary jockey AP McCoy; two-time Major Champion Martin Kaymer and former Ladies European Tour player Henni Zuel, who now a Sky Sports pundit; Ryder Cup star Thomas Bjørn and former England footballer Robbie Fowler; David Howell and Australian cricketer Shane Warne; Seve Benson and ex-England rugby player Mike Tindall; and Ricardo Gouveia, the 2015 Challenge Tour Number One, and his partner, presenter Georgie Bingham.
The ISPS HANDA Pressure Putt Showdown will take place at three more events during the 2016 Race to Dubai.
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