Ian’s driving ambition for 2012 event

Ian Wharmby presents the trophy to winner Andy Nurse at the resplenent Old Couse in Vilamoura, Portugal.
Ian Wharmby presents the trophy to winner Andy Nurse at the resplenent Old Couse in Vilamoura, Portugal.
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LIFE’S back to normal for Ian Wharmby after the excitement of The Gazette/Blacktax Matchplay Golf finals in Portugal, sponsored by his taxi firm Blacktax.

He cherishes the memories of an event he rates even better than last year’s and is already looking forward to the next one.

Andy Nurse plays on from the edge of the green.

Andy Nurse plays on from the edge of the green.

The only disappointment for Ian since Blacktax became tournament sponsors last year is that he can no longer enter.

A member at Blackpool North Shore for 25 years, Ian has twice reached the finals of The Gazette tournament.

On one of those occasions he got to play on the historic Old Course in Vilamoura and he had no hesitation in choosing that magnificent venue to stage the finals when Blacktax took over.

Ian said: “I do miss not being able to enter but it wouldn’t look good if I were to reach the finals.”

Of course, he gets to accompany the final four to the Algarve anyway as host and match referee for the four-day golfing trip of a lifetime.

He added: “This year’s tournament was great - even better than last year’s - but not competing is something I miss.

“It was always fun to play rounds of the tournament away from home and visit other clubs, and the quarter-final is your biggest game ever because if you win that you’re in Portugal.

“And to top that by actually winning the final, like Andy Nurse from the Fleetwood club did this year, must be a great feeling. It went so smoothly this year and they were a special group of people.

“Hopefully, even more will enter next year. We’ll start advertising in March and people will be able to enter through The Gazette or online. Any member of a Fylde coast golf club with an active handicap can enter and hopefully we can get all of the local clubs involved next year.

“It’s a great event, besides being great publicity for Blacktax.”