Posted on behalf of Team Captain, Paul Gilbody
We were drawn away in the preliminary round at Surbiton Golf Club in Claygate last Saturday (11th March), a nice course with quick greens with a few hidden burrows. Surbiton GC are currently undergoing quite a lot of upgrading and maintenance on the course with new drainage channels, redesigning and upgrading some of the bunkers (more about this shortly). They told us that they are spending £500k on the improvements the as it gets very wet during the winter. Their 13th hole was not in play so it was agreed that we would play the 1st again if any of the matches were still active.
Our team of Al Savill, Simon Greenwood, Mark Wheddon, Graham Loveless and myself new that this would be difficult task but we were confident of coming up with a victory on a nice warm sunny afternoon, play would be slow as there was a full course ahead of us.
I played their captain Dave, I thought it wasn’t going to be my day when we both hit good drives, he duffed his 2nd shot into one of the bunkers which was under maintenance, hit the lining and bounced onto the green about 35 feet away. I hit my 2nd shot to 20 feet and Dave then sunk his birdie putt, I missed mine so 1 down! Managed to get it back quickly by birdying the 2nd and so our match continued in that vein, it was a very tight match with no more than a hole between us all the way to the 16th where I hit a bad drive into the trees blocking me out from the green I played short and missed the par putt for a bogey whilst Dave got a safe par. 17th, short par 4 and I tried to be too cute and get a birdie but paid the price with a chip which just missed and suddenly left with a 10 footer for a par! 2 down and I could only get a half on the last which meant I lost the match 2 & 1.
Al playing behind me was also having a very close match, again nothing in it. We watched Al drive the 17th green but we knew that his putt wasn’t going to be easy, unfortunately his eagle putt missed on the highside of the hole by less than an inch and off it rolled 20 feet away and ended up with a par and was 2 down. Pressure on meant that it was all or nothing going up the 18th but unfortunately pressure got the better and Al lost 3 and 1.
Simon was playing the youngest member of their team who went out all guns blazing and was quickly 3 up, Simon waited for him to blow up and managed to get back to level and it continued to the 18th all square. They played the 1st 3 times and unfortunately Simon came out 2nd best, unlucky mate, good effort.
Mark had another close match and with a few holes which could have gone either way, we saw Mark coming up the 18th still fighting to get something out of the game but unfortuneately a misshit chip cost him the hole and with it another 3 & 1 loss and the match.
We saw Graham coming up the 18th with a beaming grin on his face which boded well, his playing partner was questioning Graham’s handicap until some of his own teammates in good jest taking the Michael out of him saying it was good to hear that he’d been done by a bandit as he was a bandit! Great result Graham being the only winner from SNGC.
Thanks go to Surbiton GC for their hospitality, they made us feel very welcome, plenty of banter in the bar and with the work they are doing on the course will be a great course to play if anyone fancies a day out.