Apparently it was down to me to write the match report today. Sorry, but you’ve been spared a Mr Loveless report.
Today Phil and I squared up against the might of Graham Loveless and Jim Doran, stalwarts of pairs competitions at Surrey National. Weather cheered up after a grey start and we finished in fantastic early summer sun.
Graham and Jim had their shiny new team shirts ready as they tucked into their usual full English before a pairs match. Their shirts were from Dom’s charity, Prostate Cancer UK… a great cause… and so with these boys decked out in shiny blue, sated with a full English, it was game time.
Halving the first, we won the 2nd only for Jim to sink a long downhill putt on the 3rd for two. An excellent birdie but we won’t mention how the ball skinned and bounced its way onto the green. It was the first of 5 or 6 birdies between the four of us. It was birdies or nett birdies winning all the holes I think. Nip and tuck all the way round I think there was only 1 in it until the end. Phil and I dovetailed well, but if we sneaked a hole, we’d only be losing the next.
Graham drove very well all day barring one drive I think. Jim was hitting the ball a mile and I think only missed one really on the 12th. I think as a better-ball they returned just two over gross, Graham himself coming back in level par or just over on the back 9.
So Phil and I had to be on our game despite not hitting the ball that well off the tee, and we came in as a team when needed. I chipped in from beside the green on the 13th, only to be matched with Mr Lovely putting in from off the green. Phil’s up and down from a chip on the 15th to match Graham’s par for a half was probably a turning point. Phil then followed it up with a par on the 16th from a 100yard pitch, to win the hole which saw us go dormie2.
17th wasn’t dull, Phil catching right trees, Graham and Jim down the left of the fairway and I knocked a good ball down the middle but found a bunker near the green. After our approaches there were 3 balls on the the green – Graham through the back, and I was in a decent position about 12 feet past, Jim a foot or two behind me. Up stepped Mr Lovely, ol “CC” himself, and sunk a long twisting 25footer for a birdie, cue loud squeals and celebrations from the former captain in his XL shirt… and inevitably my putt for the win came up an inch short.
So down the 18th and we were one-up needing just a half. Graham cut his drive into the right trees/rubbish and could only chip out. Phil and Jim laying up, my rescue wood found the semi-path on the right of the green. After decent pitches and chips, Phil had a shot on the hole and rolled his putt within gimmie range and we were shaking hands.
Thanks to Jim and Graham – a cracking match, close all the way and played as expected in great spirit.