Jason McAteer held his nerve to edge out Luis Garcia in a tense finale as golf met Subbuteo on day one of LFC World in Hong Kong.
The third leg of the club’s global roadshow got under way on Wednesday, with the stunning surroundings of the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club playing host to a thrilling contest of ‘Putting Penalties’ between Liverpool Legends McAteer, Garcia, Vladimir Smicer and Patrik Berger.
The challenge? To slot a putt into a Subbuteo net from 12 yards.
And while Garcia admitted to Liverpoolfc.com that McAteer, Smicer and Berger are ‘too good for me’ in regulation golfing play, the little Spaniard more than held his own in this new twist on the game and took McAteer to a dramatic sudden death play-off.
Czech duo Smicer and Berger were eliminated early on, leaving Garcia and McAteer to duke it out for the right to be crowned Liverpool’s ‘Putting Penalties’ champion.
At the fourth time of asking, McAteer snuck into the lead with an unerring effort - only for an ice-cool Garcia to make light of the task of equalising to keep the game alive.
A sequence of misses from both players followed as the pressure of the occasion began to tell, but it was Garcia who blinked first - the former Reds No.10 placing his putt wide after McAteer had converted once more.
“Lunch is on you!” the victorious ex-Republic of Ireland international exclaimed.
Free video: Jason edges Luis at 'Putting Penalties'
McAteer’s moment of glory followed a friendly round of 18 holes between the four Legends, with Sami Hyypia content to stick to the driving range.
“It didn’t go well for me! Jason, Paddy and Vladi are fantastic golfers,” Garcia, a relative golfing novice, told us afterwards.
“I’m trying to get into the world of golf but they’ve been playing for more than 10 years. Between Paddy and Vladi, it’s like a competition every day, they went straight from the Czech Republic to the course when they got here. That shows you how crazy they are about their golf!”
While a defeated Garcia treated his fellow Legends to a bite to eat in the hazy afternoon sunshine at Clearwater Bay, fans flocked to LFC World’s Cityplaza base to partake in the many activities on offer.
Supporters are able to pit their wits against Robokeeper, immerse themselves in a Jürgen Klopp team-talk at Anfield via the realm of Virtual Reality and, of course, meet the club’s official mascot, Mighty Red.
All these activities, plus the chance to meet the Legends at several signing sessions, are available to local fans until the event ends on Sunday.
Photos: Fans enjoy day one of LFC World in Hong Kong
The fun will continue here in Hong Kong on Thursday, so stay tuned to Liverpoolfc.com to keep up to date on all the latest goings-on from LFC World.