Yorkshire golf: Oulton Hall pairing lift Morocco Matchplay seniors title

Oulton Hall's Malcolm Crowson and Kevin Taylor, the new Morocco Matchplay seniors champions.
Oulton Hall's Malcolm Crowson and Kevin Taylor, the new Morocco Matchplay seniors champions.
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OULTON Hall duo Malcolm Crowson and Kevin Taylor have been crowned 2016 Morocco Matchplay seniors champions after victory last week in Marrakech.

Retired police officer Crowson and fork-lift driver Taylor had got off to a shaky start IN THE fourball better ball match play event – baccked by HowDidiDo – when they suffered defeat in their first round-robin match to Coventry pair Roger Moran and Chris White.

But they won their next two to earn the chance to face their conquerors again in the final and the Oulton Hall pair gained revenge, winning 3&1.

Fifty-one-year-old Taylor said: “It was nip and tuck all the way through – one up, one down.

“It was a very good match all the way though until about 16 when one of the guys completely lost his swing and struggled a bit. He missed a few fairways while we were straight.”

Crowson, 62, joked: “I lost my swing on the first hole and never really had it at all. Kevin pretty much carried me all the way round – I only came in on three holes. The weather was fantastic; we can’t count on this sort of weather in February where we live.

“We’ve had a great time with the other guys in the seniors group. We let our hair down because we know we haven’t got long left – you’ve got to make use of what you’ve got. You’d need wild horses to drag us away from competing again next year.”

Taylor continued: “The weather has been absolutely stunning. I had a text from my girlfriend just after she scraped and de-iced the car, saying the snow had just started. At home it was about two degrees, there it was about 26 to 28. It’s been absolutely fabulous.

“It’s the first time we’ve reached the grand final and to be here, well, I can’t think of a better way to start the year. I haven’t hit a ball on a course this year until we got out here. So to do this at the start of the season is fabulous.

“It’s a good event. You meet some great people and go to some fantastic courses. We actually prefer to play away because you get to see new courses, meet new guys, have a bit of banter and, if you win something, all the better. If you don’t, it’s still been brilliant.”

Four competitions culminated at the grand final, sponsored for a third year by the Moroccan National Tourist Office (MNTO): singles, pairs, mixed pairs and senior pairs.

Each finalist played up to four qualifying rounds to reach the regional final, with the knockout rounds taking place between June and September, and the regional finals in October.

All 32 competitors received complimentary return flights from Gatwick, courtesy of the event’s partner British Airways; five nights’ luxury bed-and-breakfast accommodation in the five-star Palmeraie Palace; four rounds of championship golf on the Robert Trent Jones-designed championship golf course, the PalmGolf Marrakech, Palmeraie; a welcome cocktail reception; and a gala dinner and prize presentation.

Morocco has 37 golf courses – plus eight more under construction – and is less than three and a half hours from the UK by air.

Read Chris Stratford’s review of golf in Morocco