Are you sitting (very) comfortably…. then he’ll begin…
Posted on behalf of Graham CC Loveless
The summer knockouts sometimes present the opportunity to go up against a pair of quality golfers where you know you will have to be on your game just to get through all 18 holes let alone get the result. That was certainly the view that I had of our opponents in the 3rd round match that came in the form of Mick and Barry Sweetman. With shots being taken off of Mick (a very solid 6 handicapper) his brother Barry got 3, while Jim and I got 4 and 8 respectively.
Arriving at the club sometime after 7am both myself and Jim were comparing bad backs following the previous day’s efforts in the Blue Bogey that lead to me going for an uncharacteristic warm up on the practise area (much to the clear amusement of previous Blue Bogey Vice-Captain Wheddon as he briefly stopped by the 10th tee in his BMW).
We won the coin toss and Jim led us out. The first two holes were halved with pars and then the Sweetmans went 1 up with a par on the 3rd. Pars halved the 4th with both Jim and I narrowly missing birdie/net birdie chances. Jim got us back to even on 5th with a 10’ putt for birdie and followed this up with a net par on the 6th to move us to 1 up.
Mick’s par on the 7th got the match back to even following some overly aggressive putting from both myself and Jim.
The 8th hole was halved with pars and Barry made a nice 8 foot putt on the 9th leaving us 1 down on the turn.
My second on 10th finished about 6’ to 8’ behind the pin for a birdie chance and was left looking positively average as Baz stuck his to 4’. Hole lost to Barry’s birdie…2 down.
Both myself and Jim made bogey on 11th for net pars so back to 1 down.
Jim’s drive on 12 headed towards the right hand tree and kicked down onto the 14th fairway. Jim took the scenic route up 14. Mick’s driving had been pretty impressive throughout the round and his drive down 12 was no less so. Despite a poor 2nd shot Mick still stuck his 3rd shot to around 6’ from the pin! My 3rd landed on the right hand green around 25’ from the hole. Jim finally emerged through the trees and was on the green in 4. Taking a bit of advice from Jim on the line I sent my ball across the green to watch it drop into the whole for an unexpected birdie that Mick was unable to equal and the match was level again.
Jim stuck his next shot from the 13th tee to around 5’ to the pin. Mick got inside him by a few inches! Hole halved with birdies!!!
The 14th was a shot hole and I made it to the front of the par 5 green in 3. Mick played two great long range shots to be on the front of the green in two. We both made 5 but with the shot the hole was ours; 1 up
An awesome penetrating drive from Jim sent his ball down the 15th fairway passed the tree that as backed up by a good drive from me as well. However, poor second shots from both of us led to bogeys and Barry got the match back to level with an off the green putt dropping in for par.
Jim smashed another drive down 17 and while Mick unfortunately failed to find his ball Barry got his second shot to the left hand side of the green. Hole halved in 4s – match still level.
To the 18th with a shot.
Mick and Barry’s drives faded right but not into any real trouble. Jim launched his drive up into the heavy rough on the left and my drive was … well… a bit rubbish hooking abound 150 yards (if I am being generous to myself) up the left. My 2nd shot was a poor 5 wood from the rough that managed to plop up into the air and drop down by the two fairway bunkers.
Barry sent his second shot up the fairway.
Jim’s ball was found in the deep rough sitting up very nicely. He was able to get a good 9 iron to it and sent the ball down the fairway just beyond Barry’s. Hitting my 3 wood my 3rd shot sent the ball towards the green and where it could have easily kicked left into the pond it bounded forward and rolled to the back of the green less than 15 feet above the flag. Mick hit a great second but rather than rolling around the green towards the flag it took a straight bounce forward into the right hand bunker above the green.
Barry’s 3rd found the front of the green but Jim’s 3rd shot left him around 15 to 20 feet for par. Mick played a good bunker shot but it was a little strong and rolled through the green and finished in the light rough. Barry had a very tough first putt that came up quite a way short of the hole. I rolled my putt from the fringe down towards the hole leaving a 5 footer for a bogey / net par that ultimately wasn’t needed. Mick chipped up leaving himself a tricky putt for bogey. After some deliberation about who should go first Jim made a solid 2 putt for 5 and unfortunately both Mick and Barry missed their bogey putts and handshakes were exchanged.
I am sure Jim would join me in thanking Mick and Barry for an absolutely brilliant match that went to the last.