Sir Kenny Dalglish’s loss was Seth Johnson’s gain after the newly-knighted star missed out on the chance of victory in the prestigious Footballers’ Golf Classic at La Manga Club – because he had to leave to prepare for the announcement of his impending knighthood.
The Liverpool, Celtic and Scotland legend was chasing a record fourth success in the popular event – the 22nd time it has taken place at the iconic Spanish sports and leisure resort – and, after two rounds, was joint-leader with former Norwich and England winger Mark Barham with 18 holes to go.
But Dalglish was forced to withdraw from the 54-hole competition before the last round in readiness for the announcement of him being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List – with ex-Derby, Leeds and England midfielder Johnson taking full advantage as he claimed the title for the first time.
Sitting five points off the lead in a three-way tie for third place with one round to go, Johnson scored 38 Stableford points on the final day to finish with a total of 106, one ahead of former Brighton goalkeeper Perry Digweed and Barham, with Digweed taking second place on countback.
Played under sunny skies on La Manga Club’s acclaimed North and South courses in Murcia, south-east Spain, Dalglish fired an opening-round 37 points to lead by two from Barham, with Johnson way down the field at that stage on 30 points.
But the eventual winner fought his way into contention on day two with a joint-best round-of-the-day 38 before repeating the score on the final day to take victory by the narrowest of margins.
The 2018 Footballers’ Golf Classic proved as popular as ever and attracted a stellar line-up from the footballing world, with the likes of record-breaking Northern Ireland goalkeeper Pat Jennings, Andy Morrison, Russell Osman and Kenny Hibbitt among the list of previous winners taking part.
Other illustrious names in action at La Manga Club included Arsenal and Republic of Ireland legend Liam Brady, ex-England internationals Paul Walsh, Gary Shaw, Steve Bull, Ray Clemence and Lee Hendrie, and former Wimbledon striker Dean Holdsworth – making his debut in the event.
The golf classic featured four days of competitive golf: the one-day Alan Ball Trophy and the three-day main event – which was supported for the second year running by The Four Amigos: Michael Dick, Alan Robinson, Martin Archer and Dave Harris – with competitors playing alongside a different footballer each day.
Entry included five nights in the five-star Hotel La Manga Club Principe Felipe, breakfast, welcome and gala dinners and prize-giving with entertainment from comedian Stan Boardman, with ‘Smooth Operators’, whose team consisted of Laurence Donnelly, Charlie Flannegan and Launce Wright, taking victory in the overall team competition on countback from the ‘Time for A Change’ side.
The luxurious setting of La Manga Club is the ideal venue for the competition with its three 18-hole golf courses perfectly complemented by the rest of the resort’s wide-ranging facilities including a rebranded Golf Training Centre, a 28-court tennis centre and 2,000sqm Wellness Centre.
The Footballers’ Golf Classic is organised by Mancini Events and the event will head back to the award-winning venue again next year from June 1-6, 20019. For further information, please visit www.mancinievents.co.uk, call 07918 644900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more details on La Manga Club, please visit www.lamangaclub.com