Day One – 1 – Qualifying
Another June and the club champs weekend was upon us. At the end of a week with some really hot and very sticky weather, the temperature cooled and we had a warm overcast day with a touch of drizzle turning up early afternoon.
Tales of practice rounds during the week, lessons taken, and new clubs ordered with hopes and expectations heaped upon them… whatever it took…. everything was thrown at the weekend. It is the two days of the year when the course is in really top nick and it certainly looked good with some firm bounces around the green to work with given the dry week. Greens were good, certainly not overly quick but I think this was planned rather than build them too fast for the members. They were running well and it was game on.
Day One is all about firstly qualifying for one of the 24 spots for Day Two, and then trying to get into position for the second day.
I was out with Stu Massey and Scottie. We had a good, enjoyable round but none of us really getting going. Some steady golf all round and we went round in 77, 78 and 79 respectively and each made day2. Scottie and I couldn’t buy a birdie, Stu got a couple but we all copped a double bogey or some loose holes to spoil what could have been more respectable rounds. A firm bounce on my last hole thowing my only double bogey my way which was particularly annoying.
By the time I left mid afternoon with some groups still out there, Tom “Beef” Austin was clubhouse leader with a fantastic level par 72. This was a cracking score despite his playing partners The Feez and The Tweed poking fun at some of the shots he played. A later starter, the Pistols’ Dan Donegan was also doing well, 2under after 9 apparently… and returned a very solid two-over 74. Great golf.
So we had Day One ending with Tom in front on 72, Dan two behind on 74, with myself joining them in the final 3ball, and then young Sam, The Mass and Tweedy next.
A day perhaps to forget for other Swindlers I’m afraid, but the beers surely helped to soften some memories. Other Swashies were in the mix and made Day2… Tony, Simon B, Winkle, Scottie, Young Peter, myself and of course TheBeef. And yes, let us again say well done Captain Winkle with a solid round qualifying for day2. No shock but he may mention that a few times… be warned.
The ladies were out on Saturday in their Championship competition – our two ladies’ groups were out all equally grim faced and determined! Well done Jane for leading at the end of the round on Day1 from Bohwon, followed by Janine a few more shots behind.
Day 2 – The Shootout!
Warm again but still a bit overcast, the sun took till early afternoon to make an appearance. Another cool morning probably welcomed by the Pistol’s who were enjoying the clubhouse bar till quite late the night before.
Non-qualifiers were off the 10th tee from 7am to have a roll-up comp off the blue tees. The qualifiers 3balls were off the 1st from half an hour later – with the intention of having the all the matches off the 10th mostly in the clubhouse to help see the final groups in.
I was in the last group with Tom and Dan. We had a good round played in both a competitive and perhaps more importantly a great spirit. We supported each other all the way round till we walked off the 18th green – I thoroughly enjoyed playing a tough round with these guys so thanks to both.
Solid pars off the first from both Tom and Dan, and a hack from the rough saw me cop an early bogey which was made slightly less painful making a birdie on the 2nd (my only one of a frustrating 36holes!). Dan matched my birdie and I think grabbed 3 more on the front nine – the ball striking was very impressive from Mr Donegan… I think now down to a 4 handicap after the weekend, surely heading to 3 and then 2 in no time.
Tom’s Dad Dennis dragged himself away from a bowls match to make a brief appearance on the 5th to see his lad. It was generally steady golf from both Tom and I hoovering up a heap of pars. Dan and I both missed short birdie putts on the 6th for birdies which may have been a key point, only for Tom to bounce back from a bogey on the same hole to then sink a birdie on the 7th from 3 feet. We made the turn with Dan one under gross, me level and Tom one over.
Back nine was equally close. I was a bit too far behind overall to mount any challenge, playing steady if unspectacular golf to come back with another 5over. 3putt on the 11th and a double bogey from a pants drive on the 17th meant I returned another half reasonable 77 ensuring I was cheerleading Tom and Dan round the last few holes.
Tom bogied the 14th and Dan and I could only manage par… the same set of scores on the 15th and it was getting closer between them both. Looking for my ball on the 16th took a while and whilst I skanked a par from an up and down, Dan wasn’t able to convert a stonking drive to apply more pressure to Tom. His huge drive on the 16th from the blue tees left Dan with barely 60 yards or less in.
Come the 18th tee we had a quick count up to confirm Tom and Dan were all square (accepting we had no idea of the scores already in the clubhouse). Hands shaken on the 18th tee, Dan punted a massive drive off the tee only to find the fairway bunker on-the-fly. A big shot which given the sunshine we couldn’t confirm where it had landed from the tee. Tom clubbed a solid draw off to find the middle of the fairway. Whilst I punted a pulled drive short for an eventual bogey (standard), Dan was unable to progress the ball too far from the sand and was just short of the water. A deep breath from the Beef and he drew a solid iron into the middle of the green. Dan’s approach came a bit short and was converted in two putts for a 5. Tom’s first putt went slightly long but he stepped up and slotted it in for what turned out to be a one-shot win.
Hope I’ve done a brief review of an exciting 18holes some justice… Dan’s supreme ball striking and Tom’s equally determined scoring… a great final pairing that I’m sure would have been enjoyed by all in the clubhouse if they were able to follow us around.
So Tom won by one from Dan. Stu Mass coming in 3rd, and myself, young Sam and Mr Tweed all on joint 4th.
Cue the certainly ‘entertaining’ prizegiving from Captain Mark, complete with random impressions, general abuse to hecklers and incorrect scoring (we all knew that ‘points’ meant ‘shots’). All good Mr Winks, enjoyed by all I’m sure.
Well done Bohwon
Ladies came in just after our final 3ball, and we weren’t sure of who was in front. A quick book was started on the ladies final total score and as the ladies putted out, Bo’s ball was marked and left 6inches short to then make the very final putt and confirm her win.
Congratulations, there was a very proud husband with us clapping them all in! Well done Jane who came in 2nd and to Janine who impressed with her approach to the 18th, perhaps less so on her first putt but slotted a final 6footer in for more applause. Well done all.
Well done Tom
“It’s taken 11 years of trying…”
I’d like to add a quick note here. Tom’s “speech” did not go on for long, I think his first line said it all…. 11 years of trying. Congrats.
Not only did Tom come so close two years ago (missing out to Jackson after a 3x final hole playoff with Stu) it was a reminder of a recently departed Swindler that may have led things to get a bit emotional for our Beef. Grant Adley passed away earlier this year and was a very good friend of Dennis and Tom. I think when Dennis mentioned that Grant would be so chuffed to have seen Tom take the Club Champs, things could well have gotten to the sturdy Beef. So a few short and sincere words, thanking Dan for running him so close, I have to agree that apart from a extremely proud Dad on hand, Grant would definitely have been very pleased to see Tom with the cup… (and no doubt an inappropriate joke or comment would not have been far behind!)
Our Club Champions 2017
Shot of the weekend
Nearly there, apologies for the long post.
Being lucky enough to play with The Mass, Scottie, Tom and Dan over the weekend, I was fortunate to see some fantastic golf… I just wish I had a sign in my bag to hold up saying “Great shot [INSERT NAME]“, it would have been very useful. However, one shot did stand out on our 9th hole on day one (the 18th).
Scottie’s decent drive down the 18th hole resulted in a well hit – however slightly pulled – 6iron which found the the pond in front of the green. Mass and I on the green I think, we stepped back as Scottie walked out the exact yardage for his penalty drop and then subsequent approach shot. Hitting a wedge, I called out ‘sit’ as it sailed up and landed past the pin and took its generous hop forward onto the fringe… only for the spin to then sharply draw the ball all the way back 12feet or so for a simple putt.
A great shot in the situation, applauded by Stu and myself and a few spectators in the clubhouse. “Proper golf shot that Scottie“, Mr Macve would’ve said.
And some thanks
Finally, some thanks are surely needed to be given on behalf of all the members playing over the weekend.
Firstly, big thanks to the greenkeepers who had clearly worked very, very hard on the course during the week. A number of bunkers have had significant sand added, no easy task by itself, and of course all the work carried out trimming and preparing the course which gave us a great course to play on. I’m sure the boys will accept a pint or two come the Christmas Ball.
With Mark and Dom working on registering and taking cards in over the two days, a special thanks to Matt Stock for helping out over the weekend – answering endless queries and giving everyone a moment of his time when asked. Don’t take your club pro for granted everyone! And please note members that I believe Mr Stock wasn’t even due in over the weekend – he took time out for all of us to come along and show his support so please thank him next time you see him.
And a big thank you to all the folks who played off the 10th today. The non-qualifiers were in force in the clubhouse at the end of the round, making it really very special for the mens and ladies matches leaving the 18th to a generous round of applause. Small things like that make a huge difference on the day. Thanks to all.
And cheers Wayne for the extra photos I’ve popped into a small gallery below….
Last but not least, lovely to see Peter and Liz Hinkson at the clubhouse who are over from Spain, as well as Bobby and Lorraine Axten. Looking forward to playing in the Swindle with you soon.
Well done winners, commiserations to everyone else… roll on next year. Stableford next weekend, the Blue Bogey coming soon!
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