European championship comes to Dagenham pitch and putt
PUBLISHED: 17:06 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 19 August 2019
The cream of Europe's pitch and putt players descended on Dagenham at the weekend for a tournament which is only played every four years.
International Pitch and Putt's European Strokeplay Championship was played at Dagenham Pitch and Putt, next to the borough's Central Park, from August 16 to 18 and more than 100 international athletes compete.
It was the third championship and was the biggest seen so far, with 128 players from countries like Spain and Norway competing. The farthest-flung competitor came from Chile.
Eventually, Ireland's John Cahill came out on top, coming in 18 under par overall.
Esther de Schiffart, from the Netherlands, won the women's with seven under par.
John Deeble, who is president of the British Pitch and Putt Association (and son of Dagenham Pitch and Putt manager, Steve Deeble), came in a close fourth after a third place tie-break.
"John Cahill played some exceptional stuff over the weekend," John Deeble said.
"For us to hold it in Dagenham, it was a lot of hard work, but it was a privilege."
The world body for pitch and putt, the International Pitch and Putt Federation, asked if the Dagenham club would put on the event at a European team event in the Basque Country last year.
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"The standard of play was exceptional," John added. "The course was designed to be tougher than it would usually be."
"[The event] was a great credit to the work that's gone into the club. Now, it's back on the map on a European level."
Another golf spot in the borough, Golf Kingdom, sponsored a £100 hole-in-one prize, which was won by Dagenham native Paul Jones.
Mr Jones won the prize on what's thought to be one of the hardest holes on the course, number 15.
Dagenham Pitch and Putt recovered to put on the championships after vandalism and a devastating fire in February destroyed some of the club's facilities.
The club's manager, Steve Deeble said: "A little club like ours getting a championship like that was unbelievable.
"We've had so much happen over the last few years.
"We picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves down.
"I would just like to thank all the local support from the people."