Posted on behalf of Mr Graham Loveless
Following a morning of ‘fun’ swindle golf and a quickly scoffed down lunch of Mediterranean pasta I was ready to team up again with the wonderful Carol Newman for our mixed pairs quarter-finals match. Could we recreate some of the magic where we won at Sutton Green last summer (have I mentioned this before…I’m sure I have).
Again, Carol and I were playing with the big hitting duo of Hew ‘Huge’ Whitefoord and Caroline ‘Awesome’ Wells but this time it was a direct head to head. I knew that if we were to win this match it wouldn’t be taken from off the tees but would have to be won or lost around the greens and exploiting every shot we got from our handicaps.
From the off we faced a barrage of solid driving that left us at least 50 to 80 yards behind and always playing the second shots first. After 7 we were 1 down having only lost the 3rd. We won the 8th with a bogey as the hole was gifted to us. Going into 9 my second shot bounced forward off the top of the left bunkers to roll to 10 feet from the pin. Hew made a good par but with a shot we made net birdie and were in the unexpected position of one up on the turn.
On 10 my drive disappeared into the plantation to the right of the fairway (and never to be seen again!). Carol played a good tee shot down the middle. Team “HugeSome” launched their drives down the fairway to seemingly chipping distance to the green. Carol came through with a lovely par and we managed to keep our one hole lead. The 11th was won with net pars but the 12th & 13th was lost to a Caroline’s par and Hew’s birdie. 14th was halved (Hew & Caroline made par to our net pars) and the 15th was lost as Hew made another birdie. At one down the 16th beckoned with shots all round.
After a pulled drive from Hew requiring a chip out from the trees we were all on the green in 3 with Caroline nearest to the hole also getting a shot. Hew putted first just missing the hole and possibly giving me an idea on the line from about 20 feet. Suffice to say it dropped, Caroline missed and we won the hole…all square!
17: good drives all round but the ladies were soon in the bunkers. My second found the back of green and rolled into the under growth. Hew’s also found the back of the green but clung on to the fringe (probably something to do with back spin!). My ball was buried under the trees with just enough room to hit down on it and hope for the best. The ball flew out hit the middle of the green and stopped about two foot off the front of the green. Hew chipped to 3 feet from the hole.
The ladies had picked up and all I could do was hope for a good lag and hope Hew might miss for the half.
As my putt moved towards the hole 20 feet away it all went (in my head!) ‘all matrix’ as my world spun on its axis as the ball slowly swerved towards the hole and finally dipped in at the back sticking half in half out of the hole. Hew gifted us 17 as he missed his 3 footer and we were somehow one up, one to play with both getting shots…
Probably my best drive of the afternoon settled on the fairway leaving 180yds to the front green to then be humbled by another boomer from Mr Whitefoord. Carol hit a good drive which was followed up by another big ‘Awesome’ Wells drive slightly pulled to the left and losing some distance.
Carol sent a solid second down the fairway and Caroline sent hers to the right of the pond. After some conferring with my partner I decided to go for the green. My second shot finished 8′ from the pin. Huge sent his second onto the green finishing inside mine by a foot or so.
Caroline made bogey as did Carol for net par. Hew had his birdie putt from 6′ so far from over…I tapped the putt down and it missed to the left settling a foot from the hole.
“That’ll do”, said Hew offering his hand. With handshakes all round we made for the bar and I reflected on what was one of the best rounds of mixed pairs match play I have had the fortune to play.