Thursday, 6 May 2010

Cooked to perfection

Fresh from the news confirming I'd won the Jubilee Cup, with the help of my partner of course, I played my Weatherill Cup (Summer Knockout) last night. I was drawn against Mike Dowling, a chef by trade, nine handicapper and a regular in the club scratch team.

We were pretty lucky with the weather and it was warm, if a little breezy but none of the showers that were forecast. I have to be honest and say that despite winning on Monday I wasn't overly confident and so wasn't hugely surprised to go one down having made a mess of the hole and watching Mike make par anyway. I managed a half at the 2nd so took the 10&8 out of the equation but after losing my tee shot into the environmental area on the 3rd I was two down. I managed to nick a scrappy fourth.

We shared the 5th in par but I hooked my tee shot OB to concede the 6th although Mike made a great two anyway so I didn't feel quite so bad. I got a shot at the 7th and so after hitting the green in regulation and wandering a putt in the near vicinity my opponent conceded as he failed to make par. I think giving a shot must have annoyed him as he hit a great approach on the short par 3 8th after my miserable effort missed short and right. He converted anyway so I wasn't too fussed to lose to a birdie. At the 9th we both found the fairway bunker. Mike hit out well and finished about ten feet short of the green but I hit a great 6 iron, picking it clean to finish about 12 feet from the hole. Mike chipped to within two feet and like a fool I charged the first one past to a similar distance. "Ill give you yours if you give me mine" he said. I looked at mine and his downhiller and was sorely tempted but opted to putt them both out. He made his and I wondered if I'd made a mistake. My nerve held and I was 2 down at the turn.

On the back nine the chef really turned up the heat. A great second into 10 finished stone dead and I could only bogey anyway. I hit the green at the par 3 11th with a 5 iron and thought I was in with a shout when he bunkered his shot. However he proved why he was a single figure golfer with an up and down and I missed my birdie attempt. At the 12th (stroke index 1) I got another shot and after two bad tee shots my scruffy 5 (nett 4) was good enough to reduce the deficit back to two.

At the next I hit a great tee shot (at least it looked good in the air) but sadly it missed the target some 180 yards away to the right. Up stepped our masterchef and hit his trusty seven wood to within a foot for his fourth birdie of the round. We halved the 14th and so moved onto the par 5 15th. We both hit average drives but by the time I missed the green with my nine iron and he was no more than 12 feet away in regulation, the writing was on the wall. I failed to get up and down and his par was enough to close out the game. Working it back, by the time we shook hands he had plundered four birdies and was only 3 over par gross. Given the rocky nature of my game and the standard of the opponent (and his score on the day) I didn't feel too disappointed.

On the plus side I drove the ball much better than of late and it was my iron shots, which have been behaving recently, that were the main cause of my defeat. I seemed to be blocking everything right and didn't feel as though I was turning properly through the shot. I couldn't buy a putt which was a shame as I'd been working hard on that side of the game. I've a nice relaxed friendly arranged for tomorrow and then the monthly stableford (BMW Invitational) on Saturday although the forecast for that isn't great. Then it's back to work on Monday (bad times).

Total number of lost balls in 2010 = 14

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