Kiwi team THE ITALIAN JOB win 2016 Villa Challenge


The “Italian Job” Take Gold

On a evening when many Fijians were celebrating Fiji’s first gold medal at the Olympics, the team known as The Italian Job, were receiving their ‘gold’, winning the 2016 Sheraton Villa Teams Golf Challenge at the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club yesterday. 

While regular travellers with the tournament organisers, Auckland based PaR nz Golfing Holidays, the team of Margot Lupton, Ross Pratt, Carl Mitchell and Betty Tocker were playing in their first Villa Challenge.  Their decisive win, of 871 points was 24 shots clear of the field. 

The Sheraton Fiji Villa Teams Golf Challenge combines the points of all four team members over four rounds, in a modified ‘stableford’ scoring system that adjusts handicaps after each round. 

This years Villa Challenge turned out to be a ‘war of determination’ when due to the heavy rains earlier in the week, 72 holes were played over three days, instead of spread over four, with a break in-between.  It mattered not to The Italian Job

Their opening round of 209 put them in the top eight, out of the 31 teams competing.  It was however their 3rd round of 231 points that set them apart from the field, coupled with a last round of 225 points that gave them the 2016 title. 

All team members of The Italian Job were from New Zealand, as were the 2nd place team AC: Tee C made up of Trish Corbett, Jack Allan, Marilyn Cross and Steve Cross.  AC: Tee C finished with 847 points, 10 shots ahead of The Fore Amigo’s, another New Zealand team.   Julie Gee, Trish McBride, Max Allen and Debbie Adgo took the chance to name their team in keeping with the lavish Mexican themed final awards ceremony held at the Westin Hotel in Denarau last night. 

There were 124 players from New Zealand, Australia and Fiji entered, a record turnout, representing 48 clubs.  The best-placed Australian team was Divot Dodgers made up Wayne Raison, Valerie Stevens and Kiwis, Marina Davies and Derek Larsen, in 4th place. 

Fijian representation was spread over several teams, the best placed being the Lokols with Denarau members Alf Bowerman, Mohammed Faiyaz, and Tom Fox teamed up with Kiwi Jenny Cartwright. They finished in 12th place. 

The Sheraton Villa Teams Golf Challenge ran back to back with The Sheraton Fiji Denarau Women’s Golf Classic held last week at the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club.   Both tournaments were promoted by PaR nz Golfing Holidays with over 280 players, friends and supporters brought to the Denarau Island.   

An estimated FJD $630,000 (excluding airfares) was contributed to the local economy by the visitors.  Many also brought donations and clothing for the Reef for Life Charity, supporting those Fijian families affected by the cyclones and floods earlier in the year. 

The tournament was supported by Victoria Wines, TaylorMade Adidas, Pure Fiji, Sheridan and TOMTOM Watches, along with Jacks of Nadi, and their many local restaurants.   

The Sheraton Group comprising of the Sheraton Fiji, Denarau Golf & Racquet Club, Sheraton Villas and Westin Hotel have been the naming sponsor for many years, and with PaR nz Golfing Holidays, have set dates for the 2017 Sheraton Villa Team’s Challenge.  

The 2017 tournament opening and registration will be held on Sunday 3 September with the week-long tournament play starting on Monday 4 September, finishing on Friday 8 September. 

For more information contact

Denise Langdon

Phone +64 275 662 385


Final Team Placings

1 - 871 The Italian Job: Margot Lupton, Ross Pratt, Carl Mitchell, Betty Tocker

2 - 847 AC Tee C: Trish Corbett, Jack Allan, Marilyn Cross, Steve Cross

3 - 837 The Fore Amigos: Max Allen, Julie Gee, Trish McBride, Debbie Adgo

4 - 836 Divot Dodgers: Valerie Stevens, Wayne Raison, Derek Larson, Marina Davies

5 - 835 Island Time Wacka’s: Sherrill Jeeves, Kelvin Jeeves, Chris Mackenzie, Paul Mackenzie

6 - 830 Wack-A-Palm: Brian Naylor, Marg Naylor, Col Nicholson, Sandy Nicholson

7 - 829 Guys n Dolls: Denise Barnes, Mark Barnes, Gordon Smith, Gillian Martin; Hunks & Hussey’s: Janne Hosken, Steve Hosken, Robin Hale, Ray Snooks

9 - 827 Chicks With Sticks: Barbie Cook, Mary Wotherspoon, Clare Swann, Jenny Loveridge

10 - 824 ANZACS: Lorraine Christensen, Derek Christensen, Colleen Roberts, Noel Roberts

11 - 819 3 Cane Toads 1 Tuatara: Fred Hill, Janine Walker, Dan Williams, Dale Malaghan

12 - 817 Lokols: Alf Bowerman, Mohammed Faiyez, Jenny Cartwright, Tom Fox

13 - 814 Team Westie: Frank Ruka, Wendy Ruka, Trudy Morrison, David Morrison

14 - 810 Bula Va: Ken Magill, Elaine Magill, Lindsay Sutton, Raewyn Sutton

15 - 808 First Timers: Bryan Ferguson, Heather Gifkins, Sonny Te Kanawa, Pam Johnston

16 - 807 The 4 Bandito’s: Kevin Sadgrove, Barbara Sadgrove, Jim Braidford, Maureen Trinder

17 - 805 PGA Tour: Paula Greenville, Tracey Duncan, David Moir, Gary Felton

18 - 798 Riverlanders: Josie Ladbrook, Ross Ladbrook, Diane Forrest, Dennis Green

19 - 797 Bunker Beauties: Sandra Lane, Jan MacDonald, Karin MacDonald, Patricia Pashley

20 - 796 Leva Toros:  Peter Payne, Helen Payne, Ivan Johnston, Julie Johnston

21 - 795 Novas: Teresa Christen, Frederic Christen, Lesley Peek, Pamela Staff;  Senior Circus: Bill Roan, Raewyn Roan, Jim Senior, Sue Senior

23 - 793 4 Uro: Karen Cater, Susan Binks, Trish Lategan, Karen Purdy

24 - 792 No Idea: Sandra Ellis, Wendy Young, Tiri Naylor, Jay Keenan

25 - 790 Grey Wackies: Richard Gibbs, Sue Gibbs, Warwick Copeland, Jennifer Wakeham

26 - 789 Los Chucos Suaves: Michael Tickle, Annette Tickle, Belinda Bridle, Leah Esler

27 - 787 S.A.G.S: Andrew Roberston, Sue Campbell, Grant Campbell, Sue Robertson

28 - 783 The Black Socks: Kathy Sayers, Raewyn Rainsford, Heather Myers, Estelle Martin

29 - 757 Bent Anzacs: Sue Cox, Simon Cox, Di Crook, Johnny Crook

30 - 747 Undulating Greens: Bev Green, Warren Davis, Janet Holland, Ian Holland

31 - WD Fore Play: Bill Platt, Marie Platt, Judy Morten, Ross Morten