Brace brace brace…. its a Graham Loveless Match Report
Posted on behalf of “CC”
An extremely late match report I know but on this year’s Swashbucklers Portugal tour a lack of match report was mentioned…so here it is…sit back, relax and join me on the first tee at Surrey National as I relive our semi-final match with my partner Jim Doran as we faced Sean Savedra and Richie Blake for a place in this year’s Caterham cup final.
This was a match I think we were all really looking forward to and I knew it was going to be tough for myself and Jim to get passed them; I had recently witnessed first-hand how good Sean’s putting was and Richie was playing way…no…way way…no…way Way WAY better than an 18 handicapper.
Strokes were taken off Jim with myself and Sean getting 5 and Richie getting 7.
Sean and Richie won the toss and we were off. The first three holes were halved with par, birdie (Jim making birdie first then Richie rolling in the save) and par. Sean made birdie on the 4th (my birdie putt lipped out) to take the advantage. Special mention of Richie’s par on 4 though – drive across the 5th fairway…2nd shot to downslope of the 5th hole’s blue tee – 3rd with his new shiny chipper leaving a gimme 4.
1 up – Sean/Richie
5th hole was won by a second birdie from Sean.
2 up – Sean/Richie
6th hole – Jim had a ‘mare in the trees and despite being 35 yards (if that!) off the green in 2 I couldn’t progress the ball from the rough and lost the hole to Sean’s double. I was probably the most angry (with myself) I have been on the golf course in years.
3 up – Sean/Richie
7th halved with pars.
8th was halved with bogeys (had Sean’s putt dropped rather than lipping out we would have gone 4 down!).
The 9th gave Jim and I our first win and we were at least back to 2 down.
We then nicked the 10th with Jim making birdie from long range and back to 1 down.
Richie came back in on the 11th and got him and Sean back to 2 up.
12th was ours (another quality Doran birdie – my birdie chance was not needed!) – back to 1 down.
13th halved in pars.
14th won by Richie in par. 2 up Sean/Richie.
15th won by Jim with a birdie. 1 up Sean/Richie
It is at this point I would like to point out that I was actually on the course as to the casual reader it would appear I was enjoying a pint in the bar whilst reading a newspaper.
16th won by Richie with a bogey/net par – dormie 2 up Sean/Richie.
17th conceded to my 8’ birdie chance – dormie 1 up Sean/Richie.
At dormie 1 down Richie was also getting a shot on 18 so we knew we were in big trouble.
To the 18th…
Jim hit a good tee shot down the middle.
Mine veered away to the right over the trees to land in the land off from the 17th.
Sean’s tee shot disappeared into the trees on the right (not to be seen again) but Richie’s was okay and found the rough to the right of the fairway. The best I could do was hit my ball out onto the fairway into a fairly good position.
Richie progressed his ball out of the rough just in front of mine in terms of distance but away to the left.
Jim had a poor lie and laid up leaving himself around 100 yards to the pin.
My 3rd shot was probably one of the best 6 irons I have hit all year and the ball finished around 12’ from the pin. Apparently my face was a picture!
Richie’s 3rd was heavy and found the water.
Jim’s 3rd found the green and finished comfortably inside mine giving him a great par chance.
With Richie finding the greenside bunker in 5 the whole was eventually conceded and we were off up the 1st again.
So yes, poor reader, you have spent the last few minutes reading this match report to find yourself back on the 1st tee. The mood in the Doran/Loveless camp was definitely more upbeat than in the Savedra/Blake camp. The momentum was definitely with us.
After good tee shots both Jim and I played good 2nd shots towards the pin that was on the back left of the green but didn’t quite make it on. Richie’s drive set him up well and he was at the front of the green with a long two putt for par. Sean was on the green for three after a dodgy drive.
Being furthest away, Richie putted first and left himself a nice and very makeable 3’ to 4’ par putt.
Jim played up and overcooked it slightly and missed the return putt and was in for a bogey 5 as was Sean.
I was off the green and would need to putt through a lot of heavy fringe. Unfortunately, I had also left so many putts short all day…
Ball hit…hard…flew at the hole…hit the back of it (thankfully) and jumped on a further 4’ to 5’.
Richie was clearly going to make his putt so I lined up the putt…kept the putter head square and putted…best short putt I had made a day and the ball dropped for par. As I picked the ball from the hole I stole a look at Jim and then we stood together to watch Richie make the half.
I am sure the hole looked significantly smaller now to Mr Blake and I certainly didn’t envy him. It was not the firmest of putts and as cruel as golf can be as the ball approached the hole it dribbled to the left and stayed up…
The match was over and Jim and I were in our first final.
Both Sean and Richie were magnanimous in defeat, beers were shared and I am sure Jim would like to join me in thanking them for a really memorable match…but I fully appreciate it is one that they may wish to forget and wonder from time to time how they came to lose it.
Bad luck boys!!!