Liverpool and Scotland football legend Kenny Dalglish mounted a final-day charge to win the 2014 Footballers’ Golf Classic at La Manga Club for a third time.
Dalglish’s hopes of completing a hat-trick of wins in the prestigious event hung in the balance with just one round remaining as he lay in joint-third place with ex-Everton defender Derek Mountfield on 68 Stableford points, two behind leader Luther Blissett (ex Watford striker) and one adrift of defending champion Steve Lovell.
But the 63-year-old, who plays off a handicap of seven, was in no mood to miss out on victory and returned a score of 37 points in his final round – the joint-best of the day – on La Manga Club’s renowned South Course to move ahead of Blissett and Lovell and claim the coveted title with 105 points.
Four-handicapper Lovell was chasing his third win in the last four years in the event and looked well placed after 36 holes before having to settle for a tie for second, one point behind Dalglish, with ex-England striker Steve Bull finishing alongside him after matching the winner’s third-round score.
Blissett, who had set the pace after scores of 31 and 39 in the first two rounds, had a final day to forget and could only manage 29 points to end up level with Mountfield in fifth place on 99 points, one less than former Aston Villa and England midfield Lee Hendrie who impressed on his debut.
Ex-England star Joe Corrigan, Northern Ireland goalkeeper Maik Taylor and past Premier League stars Steve Sedgley and Alan Neilson were also among the players making their debuts in the star-studded event, which was being held for the 18th time this summer.
Former Luton Town, Tottenham and England striker Paul Walsh made his first appearance in the event for many years and he was joined on La Manga Club’s famous fairways by other ex-England internationals including Des Walker, Dave Beasant, Ray Clemence and former Scotland striker Alan McInally, a double winner of the competition.
The golf classic featured four days of competitive golf: the one-day Alan Ball Trophy and the three-day main event, which was sponsored this year by John Griffin, non-executive chairman of Addison Lee, London’s leading minicab company, with competitors playing alongside a different footballer each day.
Entry includes five nights in the five-star Hotel La Manga Club Principe Felipe, breakfast, welcome and gala dinners and prize-giving with entertainment.
Overall team victory went to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Jon Lennox, Laurence Donnelly and David Rookley teaming up to take top prize with 250 points, three points clear of their closest rivals.
The luxurious setting of La Manga Club is the ideal venue for the competition with its three championship golf courses perfectly complemented by the rest of the resort’s wide-ranging facilities, including a 28-court tennis centre and 2,000sqm spa complex.
The Footballers’ Golf Classic is organised by Mancini Events and the event will head back to the award-winning venue again next year when it will take place from June 6-11, 2015.