Winter Knockout Final – 30.3.13 at Wheathill
Do you want the bad news first? Long Sutton did not win Gold, but we did win Silver! Second in the Final: a vast improvement on the year before when we didn't get off the starting blocks in the first round, but still hard not to be disappointed. Your own game is burned on your mind, with all the ‘what ifs’ but there are 5 matches out there, all fighting their own battles. It’s like watching the lottery draw…who knows what the luck will be. We all teed off hoping that today would be the day when the ball would work for us and luck would be on our side but 18 holes is a long way. Nobody goes out to play badly...it's mortifying when shots simply won't work. The pressure produced good golf on both sides, as well as mistakes.
Matchplay is a battle of nerves and tactics. The pressure see-saws from person to person, shot by shot and Luck is a fickle Lady. It's a test when your partner plays a hockey shot off the first tee (smile encouragement indeed!) We were still looking good until Liam putted in from off the green. I grit my teeth and tell myself it's not a good sign to win the first hole, but hole 2, hockey still in evidence! At least my putting holds up to the pressure this time but on the 3rd, I am left with the memory of my leaving the putt sitting on the edge to halve the hole. I hear “Oh Gill”, and again on the next pressure putt “Oh Gill”. I remember Andrew's matchplay advice. He's not going to rattle me I think. Stay calm, but it's a long time to wait. We are 5 down on 10, despite Ray’s fine 4 nett 3 on 6. Finally, the tide turned. My drive on 11 went straight as a die to the pin. I turned away. “It's going in” they said. I looked back and it was 2 foot short of the hole. When will I do that again? Not in a long while. “You can have that or do you want to putt it for the birdie?” Silly question! “I’ll take it thanks”. The 13th is the dreaded Oak tree in the Middle of the Fairway hole. I am 5 foot (well, nearly) playing with 3 men, including Liam, 6 foot plus, off 12, and Andy off 13, and joy of joy, it's me who ends up being 4 nett 3 on the green”...”Your hole”, said Liam, picking up his marker. One to relish! Ray used his hockey tactics again on 14...it doesn't matter how you get over the ditch... to win the par 4, 4 nett 3. We are now 1 down and they wished they’d made me putt the 2 footer. Ray’s hockey shot cleared the ditch on 15 and put the pressure on them to make the slithery downhill putt...and they did. Par 3 halved in 3. I may have missed some short putts but I sank the 12 foot putt on the 17th to make us all square going up 18. I am safe, Ray long, Liam bunkered and Andy centre of green. I made the return putt for 4…I want to point out pressure putt and with an audience, but Andy held his nerve and made the 3 to win. There you have it. A fight to the last putt. Unfortunately for us, on the 18th Lady Luck (or skill) was with Dave, in Nick and Sam's game...Dave was plugged in the bunker guarding the pin. Both Nick and Sam were safe, but Dave powered it out and won the hole. Nothing you can do against that. These are the things we need to remember and meld with the disappointment in losing. This will make us fiercer opponents next year. Val and Sean won their match. I know you shouldn’t dwell on What if, but I can’t resist. “What if we had won those two on the 18th?” It could have been another story.
Grateful thanks to all who played...Nick and Sam, Angela and Dave, Nigel and Sandra, Ray and our sole winners on the day, Val and Sean and thanks to all who contributed through the difficult winter.
Now a fresh start. League...these are the dates for your Diary.
Saturday, 11th May, Away to Wheathill A
Saturday, 1st June, Away to Folke
Saturday, 29th June, Away to Wheathill B
Saturday, 13th July, Away to Wincanton
Saturday, 17th August, Home to Wheathill B
Saturday, 31st August, Home to Wheathill
Saturday, 7th September, Home to Folke
Saturday, 14th September, Home to Wincanton
All welcome! Gill