Saturday, February 11 saw men’s inter club golf returning to our home course for the 2023 season. It is always good to see our teams playing at home and it was nice to be sharing the course with our Division 9 team as well. We look forward to March 11 when all three of our 18-hole teams host on the same day!
It took some time for the lead-out group to play the first hole. With ball searches, a provisional and some tree trouble all contributing to the delays! Conrad Shanly struggled to get much going on the front nine and trailed at the turn. Hopeful he could turn things around like he did in the previous round, he had a much better back nine but the damage had been done early, resulting in a 4/2 loss. Geoff Masters got ahead in his match but a strong finish from his opponent resulted in back-to-back losses on the last two holes to finish his match all square. As it turns out, this would not be the only match being decided on the last hole. With a 4/3 loss in the four ball, this pairing was only able to bank half a point to the team tally.
Nathan Frew’s heavy loss in round one did not go unnoticed by the “selection panel” who took swift action, dumping him down the order from number two to seven! Getting to three up by the turn, Nathan was feeling comfortable but he couldn’t shake his opponent or the feeling he would be dropped to Division 7 if he didn’t produce a result! With a couple of hiccups through “amen corner” his lead was back to just one up with four to play. David Cook was in a tight tussle all the way. With three to play, he was just one up and the four ball match was all square at the same point. Heading into the final hole, Nathan was one up, David was all square and Shandon was one up in the four ball. The final hole proved just as tight with multiple putts that could have changed the final match results. Unfortunately, a one up victory to Nathan was all we could muster from this pairing. With only one and half points produced from the first two groups, we were on the back foot.
Thankfully, the next pairing of Oliver Vincent and George Deans would produce a clean sweep in their matches to provide a desperately needed three points. Oliver was in control of his match throughout and won 4/3 while George had to come from behind to secure his 2/1 victory. The two combined well to earn a 3/1 win in their four ball match. Nice work lads! As Oliver now heads down south to commence his University studies, his talents will be missed, not only by this team but the Watt Cup team as well.
There were high hopes that one of our most experienced duos, Simon Buckley and Gavin Harris, would get the job done at three and four in the line up. Gavin was in a bizarre match where the first half would not be had until the 14th hole! Trading wins and losses with his opponent all this way to be all square heading to the 15th tee. Simon was in a tight match of his own but was just behind for the most part, finally suffering a 2/1 loss when he was unable to make his up-and-down on the 17th. The four ball match alluded them by the same margin. With Gavin still all square in his match, he drove to the 18th tee with hopes of securing another point for the team. A tough lie in the left rough led to him not being able to make the green in regulation but he made a clutch putt for par to force his opponent to make a four-footer for his birdie to win the hole and the match. Unfortunately for us, the putt was made, meaning Shandon took all three valuable points from this group.
Due to his unavailability for the Premiers next round, we were lucky to have the services of Gordon Reisima for this fixture, with him and Brent Mackenzie forming a strong top pairing. Brent played his usual solid golf to earn a 3/2 victory and contribute to an impressive 4/3 win in the four ball. Gordon’s match was much tighter but he held the upper hand for the vast majority of the round. Unfortunately, he fell victim to the thick rough at the back of the 17th to head to the 18th all square. After some tree trouble on the right, Gordon sunk a good par putt to force his opponent to make his birdie putt to win the final match. Unfortunately, again, the Shandon player rolled the last putt in to take the point.
The final result was an 8.5 / 6.5 loss. With a number of tight matches being decided on the last hole, I wonder if a little more team support for the last couple of groups coming home might have helped to swing things in our favour? I guess we’ll never know but it’s something to keep in mind for future matches.
The team has another home game next Saturday so will be looking to make amends by getting a first team victory on the board for the season when they take on Judgeford. All the best to those selected for this match.