Philip Golding (Getty Images)
The successful staging of the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club saw the classic links venue pass the sternest possible examination of its Major Championship-hosting credentials.
With the Senior Open presented by Rolex set to arrive in Porthcawl in 2014, the golf course and surrounding area was put through its paces at last week’s Senior Tour event, where England’s Phil Golding produced a stunning final round to pip home favourite Ian Woosnam to the title.
Golding may have driven home with the trophy and top prize of £37,500 last week, but having survived the most severe weather conditions possible over the weekend, the famous old links was the true winner.
Any doubts as to whether or not Porthcawl could stand up to the test of many of the game’s most legendary names were answered emphatically as she bore her teeth amidst some terrible conditions.
Golding’s winning score of two under – he was the only player in the 72-man field to finish under par over three rounds – told its own story.
His first round 66 was a fine score in blustery conditions but Porthcawl wreaked her revenge on Saturday. With winds gusting to almost 40mph and rain coming in sideways from the Atlantic, Golding stumbled to an eight over par 79.
Conditions for the final round improved, allowing Golding the opportunity to play some exquisite golf en route to the final round 66 that secured him the title. The Englishman is in no doubt as to Porthcawl’s ability to host the Senior Open presented by Rolex.
“I no doubt am a little biased but I think this is a great venue to hold the Senior Open,” said Golding. “It is a real and true test of links golf and because of the variable conditions here you are never going to play the same golf course twice at Porthcawl.
“That is part of the beauty of the links game and I think it will be a great venue to host some of the greatest players to have ever played the game.”
Outside the ropes, the people of Porthcawl and its surrounding areas are gearing up for an international showcase in a little over 12 months. After the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open, they can rest assured that Porthcawl can handle the logistical and infrastructure demands of Major Championship golf.
Councillor Melvyn E. J. Nott OBE of the Bridgend County Borough Council, is certain that The Senior Open presented by Rolex and the local community can have a mutually beneficial relationship.
He said: “Bridgend County Borough Council is committed to the regeneration of Porthcawl as a high quality tourist destination and The 2014 Senior Open presented by Rolex is a high quality event that can help put Porthcawl on the world map.
“Bridgend is known as a business hub in South Wales and events of the size and quality of The Senior Open enable local businesses to benefit from direct involvement and indirectly. With so many international visitors from all over the world coming to The Senior Open, it gives local business a great opportunity to enhance our area.
“Porthcawl and Bridgend are developing into great venues to stay and play a great selection of world class golf courses in South Wales. The Senior Open gives us further opportunity to attract even more golf tourism to Wales following the huge success of The 2010 Ryder Cup.”