On Sunday the 9th July Royal North Devon men’s matchplay squad travelled to St Mellion to play in their 3rd round of the Annodata Matchplay series and take on the challenge of the famously difficult Nicklaus course in the swirling wind.
After winning at home against Ilfracombe and Fingle Glen the boys knew they’d have to take their A game to stand any kind of chance against a very low handicap St Mellion team.
Gary Fisher went out first and was receiving 6 shots from his opponent. Gary hit a great opening drive to get things underway but unfortunately ended up losing holes 1 & 2. Gary then fought back quickly on the 3rd and 4th holes with 2 good pars to bring the game back to all square.
Gary won the 6th hole to go one up and importantly held onto that lead through to the back nine. He then played the long par 4 10th hole very well for another win and to take the game to 2up. Both players then made par down the 540 yard 12th but with Gary receiving a shot he took the match to 3up with six holes to play.
When reaching the par 3 14th Gary hit a great tee shot onto the green, his opponent missed the green and played a brilliant chip shot, Gary then rolled his putt up the hill and to our advantage it dropped in from 20ft away. RND were now 4 up!
With the 15th being S.I 1 Gary knew a half would get the job done, both played the hole well but a 5 nett 4 was enough to get the first point on the board for RND.
Match result: Won 4&3
In the second group out was RND’s Bob Colwill who got away nicely with a great opening tee shot and a solid par to win the 1st hole. St Mellion fired back instantly on the 2nd by holing a massive birdie putt and not giving Bob a chance to play his par putt. Onto the 3rd and Bob responded strongly with a magnificent chip shot into the hole for birdie to reclaim his position at 1 up.
Another great chip to a few inches on the next hole saw Bob take an early 2 up lead, before his opponent pulled one back with a decent par on 5. With the opposition teeing off first on the 6th both players had drivers in hand however after seeing St Mellion hit their tee shot in trouble Bob sensibly put his driver back in the bag and hit a hybrid down the middle then played a solid shot up to the green to go 2up for RND.
Having traded pars with his opponent on the 7th and 8th Bob held his lead into the 9th hole, with the opposition already on the green Bob played an exceptional greenside bunker shot to 3 feet. St Mellions lag putt was a bit short followed by a miss giving Bob the unexpected opportunity to win the hole by converting his sand save, which he rolled home confidently to take a hard earned 3 up lead at the turn!
The players traded pars again on the 10th and 11th before both making par to half the difficult 12th hole. Most importantly for us Bob maintained his 3 up lead coming into the dog leg 15th hole, having nailed a hybrid down the middle and sensing his opportunity in the match Bob hit a great approach into 10ft and the game was won!
A brilliant performance from Bob playing high quality golf as well as exhibiting some excellent short game skills whenever called upon to win his match for RND.
Match result: Won 4&3
Third out was RND’s Frank Stone who has played his way into the team lately with outstanding performances in the club matches! Frank started well by halving the first two holes but shortly found himself a couple back with some great golf being played from his opponent.
Frank then got one back with an excellent par on the 5th however his opponent then rallied with some good golf on 6 & 7 to go 3up in the match. Frank hit a great shot on the par 3 8th and the hole was halved in pars but unfortunately Frank found himself making the turn 4 down after losing the 9th.
Showing great spirit and determination Frank then began a serious fightback early in the back 9 and won holes 10, 11 & 12 to get the game back to 1 down. This seemed to liven up Franks opponent though who then put his foot down once more to win 13 & 14 and after the 15th being halved St Mellion found themselves dormie 3up.
Going down the 16th and the opposition couldn’t have played the hole any better and the game was lost 4&2.
This was Franks debut in competitive singles matchplay and for him to take on a low single figure golfer on one of the toughest tracks the south west has to offer is truly admirable.
Match result: 4&2 loss
Off fourth was RND’s very own Shaun Loze. Shaun found himself in uncharted territory going 3 down after the first 3 holes.
Shaun knew he had to turn the game around quickly and making a 2 at the par 3 fourth and another par on the 5th hole he quickly reduced the deficit to 1 down. Some outstanding golf then followed from St Mellion and Shaun found himself 2 down after 10 holes.
Shaun knew he had to up his game once more and duly delivered playing some great golf through to the 14th to put himself in a 1 up position going onto the par 4 15th. After getting a good tee shot away Shaun hit the shot of the day into gimme range to go 2 up.
Shaun then made his way around to the 17th hole and a well played half was enough for a 2&1 win for RND. An outstanding performance from Shaun on the back nine!
Match result: Won 2&1
In our final match was Richard Hughes for RND. Richard knew he’d have his work cut out when he saw he was playing against a +1 handicapper and having never received 9 shots in a matchplay before saw this as a challenge to relish.
Richard found himself going 2 up in the match quickly but things don’t always go to plan and playing against such a quality opponent Richard had a few holes go against him and found himself 1 hole down at the turn.
Finding fairways was and always will be the key to success around the Nicklaus course and Richard found them all on the back nine including a great par on the signature hole 11 to win the par 3 over the water.
Richard continued to play some outstanding golf to put himself into a strong position in the match eventually leading to being dormie 3 up…
With a brilliant birdie on the long par 5 16th hole Richard sealed the win for RND.
Match result: Won 4&2
With a final result of 4-1 to Royal North Devon team this was an unbelievable result for us and we can’t wait to see who we are up against next.
Since the game some kind emails have been exchanged between both match captains thanking each other for such a great match which was played in very good spirits from both sides.
Can't rate Josh highly enough. He is sensitive to the golfer in front of him, adapting his advice and comments to the swing he sees. Backing any comments up with data that is equally as sensitive - a great combo. Josh doesn't try & overhaul a swing and make you feel lost, rather he provides care
Awesome golf course in an unreal setting and very well maintained, highly recommend playing here if you get the chance. Demanding but fair course that makes you think. If you’re getting a caddie ask for Dave, great guy who knows his stuff
At points wide open. The rushes and bushes are what will swallow your ball. The thing that makes this course tricky will always be fighting the wind and judging yardage. Greens true and well paced. Starter was helpful. Clubhouse like a museum of history