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Rafa wins Golden Ticket qualifier
August 25, 2011

The larger than life Raphael Roberts was left beaming from ear to ear after winning the coveted Golden Ticket at the Emirates Airline Invitational Golden Ticket UK Qualifier.

The eagerly anticipated event, organized by Worldwide Golf magazine in conjunction with Boom Events, which took place in the stunning surroundings of The Golf Club at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, England on Monday August 22 nd , was hugely over-subscribed with a ballot required to trim down the field to the maximum permitted 120 golfers.

The lucky selected competitors were treated to a day of glorious sunshine with the Melbourne Course - one of Brocket Hall's two world-class layouts - in pristine condition. With a maximum handicap of 18 for men and 28 for ladies the standard of golf on display was tremendous and with a trip to the UAE to compete in the Golden Ticket Grand Final, and a chance to tee it up alongside the stars of The European Tour at the Emirates Airline Invitational Hosted by Abdullah Al Naboodah, up for grabs, competition was fierce.

Among the field in the strokeplay event were celebrities such as radio DJ Spoony and ex Celtic and West Ham goal keeper Allen McKnight while competitors were also treated to a breathtaking and highly entertaining show by renowned trick shot specialist Kevin Carpenter.

With some impressive scores being returned it was going to take a phenomenal performance to take the considerable spoils and 13-handicapper Rafa pulled one out of the bag with a wonderful round of net 69.

"This feels absolutely tremendous," said an ecstatic Rafa who will fly to the UAE on Emirates Airlines to compete in the Golden Ticket Grand Final next January the week before the Invitational and will be invited to Abdullah Al Naboodah's event as a special guest even if he doesn't win the Golden Ticket. "It's quite rare for me to win a tournament - normally I come sixth or seventh so today being first is special and I feel very, very happy. It's great.

"I've been to Dubai before but I've never been to Abu Dhabi so I'm really looking forward to it. I watched the Invitational on TV this year so it'll be great to actually be there and even better if I manage to win the Grand Final so I can play in the event."

Taking second place in the overall net category was Mike Trower (17) who shot a net 70 while last year's winner, Steve Gray (13) finished third with a net 71 and Peter Drew (9) completed the net prizewinners with a net 72.

Brocket Hall member Kay Wardley used her local knowledge to good effect to win the ladies' event with a score of 71, closely followed by fellow member Suzi Hyne on net 72 while the impressive Charlie Clare shot 75 to win the best gross category.

Longest Drive prizes for men and ladies were won by George Gros and Helen Hayward while Nearest the Pin prizes were won by Vijay Raithatha (men) and Vicki Stone (ladies). Nike Golf, online retailer and Million Dollar Hole in One kindly donated some wonderful prizes for all the winners.

The event, which also saw competitors give generously in a charity auction, was in aid of the Invitational's official UK charity, the Jude Brady Foundation which raises funds and awareness to help combat stillbirth and neonatal death.

The Foundation's founder Peter Brady said: " The Jude Brady Foundation is very honoured to be the chosen charity for the  Emirates Airline Invitational UK qualifier I personally feel we could not be associated with a better or more prominent partner. Not only has it been the vehicle to raise in excess of £14,000 in the last two events the profile of our charity has risen significantly as a result too. 

"I would like to thank the Invitational's Tournament Director James Bowring and Worldwide Golf for putting this event together and being kind enough to involve the Jude Brady Foundation in their plans."

Emirates Airline Invitational Tournament Director James Bowring added:

" It was great to see so many golfers playing in the over-subscribed event and a big thanks to Brocket Hall for staging the tournament on the stunning Melbourne course. Raphael played great to qualify for the Grand Final of the Emirates Airline Invitational Golden Ticket to be held in the UAE in January."

With Rafa now confirmed as the UK Golden Ticket qualifier all eyes turn back to the Middle East for the main series of qualifying events, with the Club Member tournaments commencing at the Montgomerie, Dubai on September 23 rd and the non-member tournaments beginning at The Els Club, Dubai on October 19 th .

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