St Neots Golf Club’s Michael Devaney is off to warmer climes for the HowDidiDo finals

BUG HITTER: Michael Devaney of St Neots Golf Club is off to Portugal this week.

BUG HITTER: Michael Devaney of St Neots Golf Club is off to Portugal this week. - Credit: Archant

AMATEUR golfer Michael Davaney from St Neots is heading off to Portugal on Sunday after winning a place in the prestigious grand final of the HowDidiDo National Matchplay Championship.

The all-expenses-paid trip to the world-class Vilamoura resort, on the Algarve, is the reward for the 31-year-old’s efforts in battling his way through several rounds and a regional final at Macdonald Hill Valley in Shropshire in 2012 in a competition open to any golfer who is a member of an affiliated club with an officially recognised handicap.

“It’s a great chance to get out of the cold weather,” said the Scotsman, who has lived in Eaton Ford for eight years. “The trip to Portugal and the hotel and golf is more valuable than winning the actual tournament itself.

“My wife Lesley is jealous…”

Devaney won through rounds against golfers from St Ives and Brampton Park before beating 16 other other qualifiers in the regional final with a Stableford score of 31.

But he was an eight-handicapper then – now that has changed. “The only downside is that I am now a six-handicapper,” he told The Hunts Post. “So I will have fewer shots to play with.”

Devaney and the winners of the Scottish, South of England, and North of England finals will enjoy complimentary return flights with Monarch Airlines, seven days of bed and breakfast at the four-star Dom Pedro Golf Hotel, five rounds of golf on the renowned Laguna, Millennium, Old, Faldo and Victoria courses, and a presentation gala dinner.

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Four competitions culminate in the grand final at Vilamoura – singles, pairs, mixed pairs and senior pairs, for those aged 50 or more – with a total of 32 golfers, from across the UK, fighting it out for the titles.

HowDidiDo is Europe’s largest online golfing community, holding in excess of 21 million rounds of golf along with the handicaps, results and scores of more than 1.3m UK golf club members.