Fourball kings out to defend their title

feeling confident Reigning champions Mark Treleaven, right, and Jon Barnes are aiming for a repeat success. Picture: Tom Dulat
feeling confident Reigning champions Mark Treleaven, right, and Jon Barnes are aiming for a repeat success. Picture: Tom Dulat
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin

Gregory misses out

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Local professionals Mark Treleaven and Jon Barnes will attempt to roll the calendar back 12 months as they start the defence of their PGA Fourball Championship title today.

Treleaven, the Hayling pro, will partner his Lee-on-the-Solent colleague for the first time in competitive action since they lifted the crown at St Mellion a year ago.

After being handed an exemption to the finals as holders and avoiding the qualifiers, the duo will compete at Cheshire’s Carden Park course in the £35,000 Skycaddie & BMW-supported event.

And although Treleaven admits last year’s final venue suited their game – he remains confident they can stage another challenge on a course they are not familiar with.

‘As much as we’re looking forward to the Carden Park course, it’s a pity the final’s not at St Mellion again,’ said Treleaven.

‘That really suited our game and we took to it well – not that you’d have guessed from our practice round where I think I lost my ball at each of the first 13 holes!

‘But we’re feeling confident again, even though we’re going to be in the dark a little in terms of the course.

‘Last year, we both had some experience of playing St Mellion, but we haven’t played competitively together since we won the title.

‘Jon has been tied up at Lee on Solent whereas last year he had only just joined them.

‘But we are going for it again and it was nice not to have to qualify for the event.’

Although the combination pits two different types of golfer together, it clearly works well for them in a format which is most-commonly seen in the Ryder Cup.

It’s also a popular format among club golfers with both golfers playing their own ball with the best score taken on each hole.

The big difference, however, is rather than matchplay for each hole against another pair, it is a strokeplay event over 54 holes with a cut made at 36 holes.

The top 24 teams and ties then progress to the final round to battle it out for the honours.

Treleaven believes much of their success last year was down to their contrasting styles of play.

And so much of the succes in fourball is down to being able to dovetail as a pairing and perform at different times during the round.

They certainly managed that a year ago on the famous Cornwall course with a 17-under par total to seal the crown by two strokes from their nearest rivals.

And they showed the importance of firing on different holes in their blistering 11-under par round of 61.

That effort saw Treleaven fire five birdies and an eagle, while Barnes rolled in another four birdies in the lowest round that any team managed through the duration of the competition.

Treleaven said: ‘We’re both very different types of players so we each bring something different to the tournament.

‘We complement each other’s game and that helps.

‘I’ve been playing some decent golf this year and have been consistent.

‘But this is a brilliant format of the game and I think that’s why we both take to it so well.’