Having come through a very tight encounter in the previous round, the RND Men’s Pailairet Team faced Fingle Glen Golf Club on Sunday 23rd July in the Quarter Final. Fingle Glen are five times finalists and two-time Champions of the Palairet in recent years and the match up, that our heroes were to face, was always going to be a tough one. However, having beaten them recently in the Annodata National Tournament the team were feeling confident.
During the practice round the RND players found the course fairly open with hard clay like ground conditions and true but bouncy greens. By the Sunday the rains had softened the course somewhat. With the weather set to be changeable with rain, sun and wind in equal measure the players teed off in drizzly conditions (but with hope in their hearts!).
With a player or two unavailable from previous rounds and some team stalwarts returning to the fold, the team had a fresh feel again. There have been some marvellous bids by some squad players in these last few weeks to make the team and some good form saw a number of players return to the starting lineup.
When the pairings were announced on the morning of the game it appeared that RND would (as luck would have it! Or was it tactical?) be receiving a few shots and with the Fingle Glen pairings each sporting a low single figure player, good golf would have to be played to bring the victory home.
Match Report as follows:
S Flood and B Colwill
Match 1 saw the pairing of Bob Colwill and Steven Flood. We have been wanting to get Steve into the side for a while now, his record representing the club is exemplary. Partnered by Bob who has been Mr Reliable off the tee throughout this season could this powerhouse paring do their job and deliver the goods?
The first hole saw our first pair go 1 down due to a three-putt bogey but as was to be the trend in this game, immaculate tee to green play on the 2nd saw Steve and Bob pull the match back to all square on the 2nd hole with a steady par. On the third hole Bob found himself short sided in after two shots with the pin tucked in behind two bunkers but a smart putt through the gap between the bunkers to two feet saw the opponents three stab and our pair had gone 1 up after 3. A steady par on the par 3, 4th was enough to take the match 2up. Having halved the par 5 5th they saw the skipper and the message was passed down the line that the opening pair were 2 up after 5. Halves on the Par 4, 6th and Par 3, 7th saw our Pair still 2 up after 7 holes. Good tee to green play on the 8th saw an interesting incident where both pairs found themselves 3ft to the hole in 3 and with the Fingle Glen pair two down and with the honour they surprisingly offered the RND pair a half which our boys readily accepted. Would you do that 2 down in the game?
A standard Par on the 9th could only be matched with a bogey from Fingle Glen and Steve and Bob were 3up after 9 holes. Par was made by RND on the Par 3, 10th and could only be matched with a bogey and our boys were three up. However, another bogey on 11 and we were back to 2up. Both pairs hit magnificent shots into the Par 5, 12th but after a gimme birdie was conceded by RND Bob stepped up and drained a long bomb that maintained the lead. Again steady tee to green play saw Steve and Bob 3up again after 13 holes. However the match was getting tight and halves were managed on 14 and 15
If you know Tavistock, once over the road holes 15 -16 go back and forth until 18 goes over a steep hill and takes you back to the clubhouse. It was from the vantage point around the 17th tee that most of the supporters were assembled.
As Bob and Steve were coming up the 16th hole the match lay at 3up with 3 to play but a three putt on the 16th Green gave Fingle Glen the hole and took it back to 2 up with 2 to play. After Bob found the found the fairway, Steve hit what he believed a perfect shot, only to get up there, chagrined, our guys found the ball in the bunker. The ensuing bogey gave the Fingle Glen pair another hole and the match was going down 18 with RND 1 up.
Having waited on the 17th tee it was impossible for the crowds to know the fate of the match until a message at last came down a Par at the last from RND could not be bettered and RND had won the game.
In the early stages of the match when the games were on a knife edge with most pairings either down or all square the score in this match was the only good news to pass down the line. I am certain the solidity of the scoreline in this match, always being up, the hope that it provided, carried the team through the day.
Won 1 up
Sturman and Loze
Match 2 featured the still unbeaten pairing of Shaun Loze and Chris Sturman. Their record this season speaks for itself 3 wins in 3 matches. Would today be the day the run would be ended?
Scrappy play down the first found the boys one down straight away. A standard par on the 2nd got a half and a fine chip and putt from Shaun and Chris on the 3rd managed another half. Good Par 3’s from both pairs on 4 and the RND pair were still 1 down on the 5th tee. A massive drive from Chris on the Par 5 5th hole gave our boys the advantage on the hole and the ensuing par drew the match level. A poor three putt on the 6th lost the hole and the boys had gone back to 1 down on the Par 3 7th. A steady par on the Par3 was matched by their opponents and Shaun and Chris were still 1 down. Having found a bush from the tee on the 8th hole, the lads, with the help up of shot, made a battling half but it appeared they were on the ropes with their opposition playing Par golf. Both teams made their way scrappily up the 9th hole, but the RND pair could not get up and down and lost the hole to a scrambled par. 2 down at the turn.
A great iron shot to the centre of the green from Chris on the next Par 3 10th and the hole was won and RND gained back a hole. At this point it was clear that Fingle Glens pair were here to play and Shaun and Chris were up against it. An up and down from the greenside bunker managed to half the 11th hole but could the boys get on the up again?
On the Par 5 12th the Fingle Glen pair put themselves on in two and made a tap in birdie, however a fine chip from the side of the green from Sean left Chris 15ft which he duly holed to get another battling half. The lads were really trying to hang in there. Sadly, on the next hole they could not manage another up and down and lost the hole with a costly three putt. On the Par 3 14th, a long uphill Par 3 they could not find the green and again lost the hole to a gross par. 3 down and 4 to play. Their opponents must have been confident at this point, and they pressed their advantage home with a decent drive and second shot that resulted in a gross birdie and the win.
Having come up against the pair that shot 1 under gross on the day for now the winning run has been ended, but what a run it has been. What an exceptional performance these lads have put in representing the club this year and you should stride into the final with your heads held high!
Lost 4 & 3
M Colwill and J Buckland
Match 3 saw the pairing of Mike Colwill and James Buckland. Both having had wins in the previous rounds the big hitting pair were upbeat and confident as they were waiting to play. The first hole offered a small amount of drama when the opponents started with two duffs and a third that went over the back of the green. After having found the centre of the fairway and after waiting for a while having seen the oppos hack it up the hole, James then proceeded to hit it directly into a bush! A drop out was followed by a moment of redemption as James then holed a monster putt and the hole was halved in 5!
James bombed a drive down the 2nd hole and Mike found the green with a 7 iron a good up and down from Fingle Glen matched our par and the game was all square after 2. The boys could only manage a bogey on the 3rd and lost the hole to a par. After a half in par on the Par 3, 4th Mike hit a mammoth drive down the Par 5 5th hole and a standard par was enough to take the hole and bring the match back to all square. Having found the small putting surface on the Par 4, 6th hole a good two putt was enough to take the hole and the boys had gone 1 up for the first time in the match. However, this was given straight back on the next when they failed to get up and down from a bunker after a pulled tee shot on the Par 3, 7th. Seemingly having the distance advantage on their opposition, they used this to good effect on the long uphill 8th finding the green in regulation and a 2 putt par with a shot won the hole. Scrappy approach play from both pairs on the 9th found the Fingle pair just off the green with James and Mike lying just on the green 40ft away. A real match play moment ensued when the Fingle Glen pair drained the putt from off the green, followed by James stepping up and having his own “from downtown” moment and drained his putt for the half. This was turning out to be a real game.1 up to RND at the turn.
Unfortunately, a poor tee shot on the next resulted in bogey and the match was back to all square. Then on the 11th the boys made a standard par and with a shot won the hole - 1up. A gross birdie from each on the 12th maintained the lead but scrappy play by both sides just edged out by Fingle, meant that by the time the boys had crossed the road the match was tied going into the final stretch.
On the Par 5 15th the Fingle pair must have been feeling the pressure as the crowds massed because they hit a very poor tee shot over the 16th green (which if you can’t visualise it is a MASSIVE carve right) that was lucky to be found and a poor second shot meant that they had given the hole to RND. With a shot down the 16th, fine tee to green play from our lads, rattled the opponents and resulted in a win on the hole and they were up 2 holes stood on the 17th tee.
At this point in the match the score was 1-1 and the result of this game was to be crucial in the final outcome. With the crowds now really assembling around the 17th green and tee box, James hit a drive slightly right. Mike found the green with his approach, but the boys could only manage bogey. Fingle Glen with a short putt for par to win the hole and take it up the last………….misses! and the match was won!
A real gritty performance from Mike and James to get the win. A real example of how to just doggedly hang in there and just keep playing your shots.
G Fisher and F Stone
Having taken RND through the last round with some 20th hole heroics at Saunton the skipper had full confidence in the pairing of Frank and Gary and was banking on them to take home a point. The last two pairings can be crucial in Palairet, with the rule that the pairings must be in handicapped order it is common to find matches that are decided by the higher handicapped players in the team. Having represented RND in the recent Annodata match Gary found himself against a pair that contained the player he had beaten recently.
After making a half on the first hole, the lads won the second hole with a shot and the third was tied after a good birdie try missed from Frank. Holes 4 and 5 were traded but a birdie from Fingle Glen on the 6th hole and RND were 1 down.
A good reaction from the boys saw them win the Par 3, 7th and then with a shot and some good play they went on to win the 8th to put themselves up in the match for the first time. Scrappy play down the 9th from both teams resulted in bogeys from both teams and the RND boys had finished the front 9 at 1 up. On the Par 3 10th with the honour Gary hit a fine iron shot close to the pin and this must have pressured the opponents as they hit a poor tee shot into a bush and had to concede the hole as they could not match what was a certain par from our boys. 2up.
The 11th is an uphill Par 3 the stroke index 1, and testament to the way the boys were playing they won the hole with a regulation par not needing the shot they had on the hole.
Stood on the 12th tee Frank and Gary were three up but a shot into a bush by Gary followed by a discussion on whether a free drop was available meant a long delay and even after the drop was granted the boys lost the hole.
There are crucial moments in matchplay where the course of a game can change, and after bogeying 13 the boys had gone from 3 up to only 1 up in 2 holes. Was this the turning point? How would it turn? After both teams made great Par 3’s to half the 14th, the game moved over the road to the loop of last four holes that make up the final stretch and all the crowds were there watching the run in to the match.
The par 5, 15th plays very long into the wind, as it was, and good hitting from Fingle Glen afforded them a regulation par that could not be matched by our boys. Having lost the last three holes to go back to all square and feeling the pressure the message came back to the RND pair that the preceding matches were over RND leading 2-1 and only one more point needed from the last two pairs. The match was on a knife edge. Who would have the bottle to grab the win for their team?
On the 16th, with their last shot, the RND pair found the front of the green in two and feeling the pressure Fingle Glen clumsily found a gorse bush to the side of the green, made a mess from there and lost the hole. 1 up to RND going down 17.
As the crowds were watching from the 17th tee Frank unfortunately pulled his tee shot into a bunker and whilst a valiant effort from there the hole was lost to a standard Par from Fingle Glen. This was going down to the wire.
Both teams hit fine drives down the 18th and with the honour Frank intelligently hit his approach just short of the green in a safe place. Gary weighed his options then hit a putt from just off the green to leave Frank a 10 footer. The opponents who had hit their ball right of the green, position Z on that hole, then duffed a chip and taking two more shots to reach the green, were 7 feet from the hole with an uphill putt, a 5 at best.
Frank to putt for a 4 and with the fate of the match in his hands, he takes his time finding his line………settles over the ball…….hits…..… ball rolling……slowing………turning…....and IN!!!!! Yes!!!!!!
The crowd erupted in cheers and clapping, and the match was won by RND!!!
R Hughes and K Rowe
Our final Pairing saw a return to the team of Richard and Kevin who have been showing some fine form in the Victory Foursomes lately.
Poor tee shots on the first and second saw the duo two down after 2 holes After a safe drive from Kevin on the third Richard Lasered a 240 yd shot onto the green and the ensuing par won the hole. A half followed on the 4th hole and after a shaky start the pair were finally playing some good golf. With the opponents playing well the lads kept in the game managing a long string of halves until they reached the stroke index 1, 11th hole. Still 1 down in the match Richard found himself facing a downhill forty-footer that he drained from downtown and with a shot on the hole the lads had pulled all square.
The joy was not to last as a solid birdie on the Par5, 12th from the Fingle Glen pair won the next hole. On the 13th hole two solid shots saw our boys in the middle of the green and hopeful to win the hole as the opposition were off the green with a tough chip. In typical lucky bandit fashion, the chip was skulled but fortunately bounced off the upslope killed the ball and ended up to 1ft, (through gritted teeth) the RND pair said “good shot”! The putt was conceded, and the hole halved.
A poor tee shot on the long Par 3 14th was followed by a poor attempt to get up and down by our boys and the hole was lost. After halving the long par 5 15th the boys had a shot in hand and after some poor approach play from Fingle Glen the RND pair had pulled a hole back and were 1 down, playing 17.
By this point in the match RND were 2-1 down in the match and just 1 point was needed.
Kevin hit a measured tee shot into the fairway of 17 and was followed by a good tee shot from Fingle Glen. With Richard to play first he hit what must have been one of the shots of the day to 5ft. Rattled the opponents came short and their bogey meant that Kevin and Richard had pulled the match all square. With all to play for and the match on a knife edge the nerves must have been jangling as the game in front was still not decided and RND 2-1 up but not yet safe.
Richard must have been “feeling it” as he bombed a giant of a drive up the hill down the centre of the fairway. Fingle, still in the game, gunned one down there also. As the players reached their balls in the fairway no more than 15 ft apart, the game in front was finishing and when the winning putt from RND went Richard quickly agreed the half in the game and picked his ball up. The skipper said after that “he had never seen somebody pick a ball up so quickly” than when that half was agreed!!
Match result: RND WIN 3 ½ TO 1 ½
With every match in this game a very tight affair all the players did their job and kept going to the bitter end, never giving up and turning matches round when needed. This uncommon courage is so typical of our team this year having had so many tight battles and come through them all with victory. Our Players should be very proud having got the club so far this year, all the way to Finals Day, but the job is not done yet!
A sumptuous Steak Pie with Chips Peas and Gravy was had by all afterwards followed by very sporting and complimentary speeches, made by the captains regarding the days play. It says a lot about the sportsmanship in our game that such gracious comments can be made in the most disappointing of circumstances and we thank Fingle Glen for their kind words and a great match.
Many thanks also to Tavistock Golf Club for hosting us on the day and feeding us afterwards.
Thanks once again to our President Val Cook who came out again to support us. We are sure you are becoming a real lucky charm!
We are now through to Finals Day to be held at Woodbury Golf Club. Both semi-final and final are to be held on the same day the morning of Sunday August 13th, tee times start at 8am. It would be great to see you all there.
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