World Pairs Championship - Darcy and O'Donovan again!
We spoke to Pacelli Darcy about his latest success - victory at the inaugural World Pairs championship alongside Liam O'Donovan. "Six of us travelled over to Galicia from Limerick. We were all in good form and the format suited us, as most of our Winter League at home is doubles based, so we play a lot together."
The Irish delegation was under illusion as to the difficulty of the task at hand. "The players from Galicia have really improved over the years and we were expecting strong opposition from the locals and there were some great pairings travelling from Catalonia as well."
Pacelli likes the World Pairs venue. "The course at Tambre is a fabulous course, longer than the Irish courses, but not as long as the courses in Catalonia so that was in our favour."
Matters went according to plan for O'Donovan and Darcy in the opening round. "Liam and myself started solidly on Friday evening in the Scotch foursomes with a score of 44 and we were ahead by two."
Another of the Limerick teams, Tommy Hanley and Kieran Earls cranked up their challenge on the second day. "Tommy and Kieran made a charge on Saturday morning, carding an exceptional round of 16 under par for the Canadian format," sums up Pacelli.
"We were paired together on Saturday evening for the fourball betterball format. Tommy and Kieran carried on where they left off from the morning session," laughs Pacelli. "Great play and the “rub of the green” on a few occasions meant that we were only clinging on to their shirt tails at the end of the round. Liam holed a couple of good putts to keep us only six behind going into Sunday's final round. We had also put daylight between us and the rest of the field," thereby making it an effective two team match for the final round.
O'Donovan and Darcy are keen Pitch and Putt strategists but conditions for the final round defied most conventional theories. "The weather changed on Sunday. It became windy and together with the tough pin positions the course now played completely different. It was now very difficult to put a game plan together as good scoring was extremely difficult."
Misfortune befell the 2016 Catalan International Pairs winners from the outset. "If everything went right for the Tommy and Kieran on Saturday, there was a complete turnaround on the Sunday. A bogey on the innocuous first hole put them on the back foot from the get go. They never settled at all and after a double bogey on the short eighth hole, we were back to all square."
Destiny dictated that to Pacelli would fall the opportunity to make history. "The wind was swirling which made the pitching very difficult - birdies were now at a premium. Playing the last we were still all square, Liam put in a great pitch to three feet and after Tommy narrowly missed his putt, I unbelievably had a putt to win. I didn’t putt very well throughout the weekend so that final putt was a great challenge. Even though that it was only a three footer, there was a considerable break from left to right on it. The ball just caught the right hand side of the hole and fell in."
In the moment of victory, mixed feelings pervaded. "It was hard to be elated when the putt dropped. I felt for Tommy and Kieran - they must have been devastated."
Of course, by now a deep sense of satisfaction has kicked in. "Looking back on the championship now it is a great privilege for Liam and myself to be the first winners of this competition. We will never forget it. All of us were in agreement that the tournament was brilliantly organised. We would like to thank Victor Rodriguez and his team for all their efforts ensuring a great week for all the players. This championship was played in great spirits and we have to thank all involved. A special thanks to Victor Moscatel, he did some great work over the weekend helping out with the scoring and updating the internet etc."
Pacelli and Liam absolutely love the international element of Pitch and Putt. "We have made some great friends over the years that we have travelled to these tournaments. The welcome that we get from players from all nations is worth coming over for alone. We are very lucky to be involved in this great sport."
Galicia was just another stop on the ever increasing international itinerary "We travelled to Norway in July for the World Strokeplay and we are also booked for the International Doubles in Lleida in October. We have thrown around the idea of going to Slovenia in September, if things work out."