Stap yourselves in, posted on behalf of Mr Graham Loveless
The date was set for Sunday 28th August and myself and Jim Doran were into the Quarter finals of the 7 day men’s pairs. We were playing against fellow Swashbucklers Graham Adams and Club Vice-Captain Mark Wheddon.
Jim had taken a 3 week break from golf (…something about a pregnant girlfriend and moving houses – I really do find some people’s priorities questionable at times!). Mark had flown in from Cyprus especially for the match the previous night (ok…he was just back from his family holiday but “flying in…” sounds better). And I was sure that Mr Adams would be looking to avenge his wife’s defeat to me the previous day in the Swashbucklers’ internal KO (ok…I don’t think he could give a monkeys I beat Jan).
Shots were agreed against Mr Adams’ 9 handicap with Jim getting 1 shot and myself and Mark getting 5.
So the stage was set.
Following opening good natured(?) mind games on the 1st tee with everyone trying to get into everyone else’s heads (Winkle messing about with his training grip and outrageous comments about getting other teams disqualified, etc.) we won the coin toss and Jim led us off.
After good opening shots on the 1st tee from everyone, both players in the Doran-Love machine both made par to win the 1st. The 2nd was halved by Mark with a scrambling par from some way off the green with a great pitch and a 1 putt, to Jim’s regulation par. The 3rd; despite a good sand shot from the left hand bunker to 7’ to the pin I was only able to make bogey and we lost the hole to Mark’s par.
All square after three holes.
4th was the first shot hole and was halved between Jim and Graham A with gross pars (I made net par and was suitably chastised by Jim for a rather laggy first putt).
5th: won by myself with a par (didn’t want to be told off again!).
6th: won by Jim with a net birdie (I congratulated Jim for his magnificent 3rd shot and 1 putt).
Two up after six!
The 7th proved to be the game changer; Jim’s tee shot was not his best and was thinned forward into the rough. My tee shot disappeared high over the right hand trees. Both Adams’ and Wheddon’s tee shots found the front of the green.
Jim’s 2nd shot found the left hand bunker and he was soon picking up. To my surprise my ball turned up just to the right hand side of the green in the rough – it must have bounced all the way down the hill. As the rain started to come in I chipped onto the green to around 15’ from the pin.
Both Graham A and Mark overcooked their first putts and left themselves 5’-6’ sliders.
My par putt narrowly missed and the bogey was given. First Graham then Mark missed their return putts! Hole halved!
No high 5s for the ‘great escape’ on the 7th hole but I got a resounding acknowledgement from Jim that the bogey half felt like a win and of course kept us at 2 up. Friendly comment thrown to the opposition about how wide they would like the barn door to be left open next time – this got a wry smile from Mark…
As we walked to the 8th tee I had a feeling that the lost opportunity to get back to one down was going to have an impact. I wasn’t far wrong.
On the 8th both Graham A and Mark struggled. Graham’s 2nd left him in the bunker below the green and after failing to get the ball to the green his sand iron was launched at his golf bag. Jim took the hole with a par. Three up after eight!
The 9th was a shot hole and Mark was comfortably on the green in 3 net 2. However, I was on the green for 2 net 1 and Jim was also well placed on the green in 2 as well (no shots for Jim). Mark made 5 net 4. Jim putted first and his ball finished behind the hole by around 4’. He finished up with a gross par. My first putt was slightly overcooked but hit the hole and rolled on to finish again around 4’ from the hole. Graham A bogeyed and Mark made a net par. Yes, my putt found the hole for a net bird.
Four up on the turn!
Recently Jim and I had halved a match in the Surrey Hills league from dormie 4 up so we reminded ourselves of this and there were no thoughts of poultry counting. We reminded ourselves how good Mr Adams could be and Mark’s short game was a constant danger. That all said Jim won the 10th with another par to Graham and Mark’s bogeys.
11th: Graham A lost his ball very unfairly after what was a good drive. Mark was nestled down in the rough and he had to spend some time working his way around a large bush (no smutty double entendres in this match report!) that cost him an extra shot. Jim’s 2nd shot just rolled off the back of the green. My 2nd was pin high but in the right hand bunker. Following some incompetent sand play of the highest degree where I took 3 shots to get the ball on the green it was left to Jim to take the hole with a par to Mark’s double bogey (net bogey).
12th: Jim hit possibly his drive of the day up the par 5 fairway leaving himself around 165 yards to the green. Both myself and Mr Adams hit good drives.
Mark decided to split from his partner and following his tee shot disappeared up the 14th fairway.
After our second shots I was left around 95 yards to the pin, Graham A was around 50 yards and Jim was chipping to the green. After 3 shots we were all on the green with makeable birdies from similar distances (“driving for show, hey Jim?”) except for Mark who was in the bunker.
Jim gave Mark his bogey and it was me to putt. This was possibly take the match!
Rolled it towards the hole – bang on line…pace was good…still on line…rolling well…hit the back of the hole…then popped up and sat an inch behind the hole. Couldn’t really even be called a lip out! To be honest our first bit of real bad luck. Par given.
Mr Adams next and missed his birdie and ball finished around 5-6’ from the hole. No gimme for sure. Jim also made par. Mark looked ready to shake hands but Graham made his par putt!
13th: Flag was on the bottom tier. Jim’s tee shot found the back of the green on the top tier. Mine finished pin high but in the left hand bunker.
Mark hit a great iron shot and also found the back of the green, a similar distance to Jim’s.
Graham punched a good iron at the flag…it did look good. Hit the ground just to the right of the first left hand bunker…but rather than kicking forward onto the green it rolled back into the bunker … this was followed by a few expletives and the offending club was thrown down in disgust. It really wasn’t his day.
My sand shot finished about 4’ from the pin. Mark and Jim played putts to perfection to the top of the ridge…both trickled down to the pin and both nearly made birdie before finishing unbelievably close.
Mark’s par putt was given and it really was a great par from that position. However, it wasn’t enough and my 4 footer found the hole for a sandy par and the match was won 6 and 5.
Handshakes all round with “good luck in the semi’s” comments from our magnanimous opponents.
Graham departed as he was needed at home and we finished the round. Little bit of show boating from Jim as he hit my pitch shot to the 14th pin using his putter like a baseball bat away from the green and we finished out with some £1 bets before returning to the club house (Jim stood to take £8 off me but a double bogey cost him and no money exchanged hands – bad luck Jim).
Of course, myself and Jim would really like to thank Graham and Mark for the match.
We are now both looking for to our semi-final match against Sean Savedra and Richie “Arriba Arriba Andale Andale” Blake on the 10th September. I am sure Hew will come up with a suitable name for this clash.
Certainly with Jim and Sean it will be a flamboyant and stylish affair leaving myself and Richie trying to our bandit each other.
Really really can’t wait!!!