Byrne and Gough win 2015 Poppy Day Golf tourney

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Like all good things in life, the idea for a golf tournament to mark the annual period of Remembrance and support for the Poppy Appeal came from a meeting of minds in Tropical Bert’s (now Tropicals) back in 2009.  Now into its 6th edition, it was time for the volunteers, namely the scribe and Max, to get the event sailing smoothly once more.

One of the good things about having a few tournaments in the book is the fact that you have a record and. hopefully, if it is good, the players will return.  And so it proved on this day as we had close to 153 players to play the 2-ball better ball stableford event.  I suspect that playing at Khao Kheow at a great rate and with a night out at the Amari’s Tavern by the Sea on the following night had much to do with it.

2015 Poppy Golf champions, Andrew Byrne and Trevor Gough, pose with Max Matthews (left), Derek Brook (2nd left) and Graham MacDonald MBE (far right).2015 Poppy Golf champions, Andrew Byrne and Trevor Gough, pose with Max Matthews (left), Derek Brook (2nd left) and Graham MacDonald MBE (far right).

Friday the 6th November started fine and sunny and it seemed the ‘No Rain Dance’ had worked for once and Max and Matt could be seen to be down at the course nice and early.  With a two-tee start we played the A and B nines and the players got under way at 10 o’clock.  With the two starters, Alan Sullivan and Mike Gerrard, getting the players away at 8 minute intervals, the golfers were soon all under way on a course that was in fine condition.

Tournament runners-up, Barry Elphick (right) and Dave Cooper

Carts were allowed on the fairways which were in good shape, if a little wet in places, however with the tees back and the pins in their most difficult positions the course played quite tough.  The par 3’s were particularly awkward this day, with the greens as fast as any I have played on this year.

With the early starters coming in, Max and Matt got underway taking in the score cards and handing out the golf shirts while I took full advantage and nipped out for an early return to Pattaya.

Paddy Jordan (right) and Ken Hole took third place.

The following night, Saturday, 170 players and guests arrived at Amari’s Tavern by the Sea to be greeted by a magnificent buffet.  A big thank-you goes to Amari General Manager Brendan Daly and his staff for this great reception.  They also provided refreshments at a very reasonable rate.

So with all the attendees filling their plates, the announcement was made that the blind auction for two tickets on the Oriental Express from Bangkok to Singapore had 1 hour to run and the bids would be opened at 8 p.m.  Here we must thank the Eastern and Oriental Express for this fine gesture.

We found out the winner of the auction at the time stated but he asked us to keep his name out of the paper as he wishes to surprise his wife for their anniversary, and who are we to argue with that.

Fourth placed finishers Colin Davis (2nd left) and Ian Jones (2nd right) with Graham MacDonald MBE (right) and Max Matthews (left).

Graham MacDonald MBE, president of the Royal British Legion, Thailand and the scribe, chairman of the association, then thanked all the people and companies who had helped us.  Thanks in particular goes to Khao Kheow Country Club, MBMG Group, Manpower Group, Pattaya Mail and Amari Pattaya.

Gratitude also to all the golfers and golf societies who have given so much support, including Lewinski’s, Colin Davis, Daryl Evans, Mashi Kaneta, Dick Warberg, George King, Keith Phillips, Tom Cotton and Gabriel Enright.  I am sure I have forgotten some but I must end with mentioning my right hand man Max Matthews and his own right hand man, Matt.  Thanks to all for their help and I cannot end without thanking the Navy lads for the trophies.

Otto Schmidt (left) accepts the fifth placed prize from Graham and Max.

As the night progressed we sent out Nigel Cannon to sell the draw tickets, waited until most had eaten their food and then got on with the results.

In sixth place was the team of Mick Robinson and John Hutt with 47 points, being edged on count back by the fifth placed pairing of Henry Wong and Otto Schmidt.  For Otto this was a major advance as he has finished last for the past two years.  In fourth came the team of Colin Davis and Ian Jones, also with 47 points but having a better count back than the two teams previously mentioned.

Sixth placed Mick Robinson and John Hutt receive golf bags from Derek Brook (right) and Max Max Matthews (left).

Paddy Jordan and Ken Hole secured third spot on the podium with a very creditable 49 points and we then had a count back on 50 points to determine the winners.  Just losing out on the top prize were Barry Elphick and Dave Cooper who were edged by this year’s champion pairing of Andrew Byrne and Trevor Gough.  Well done to all.

Nigel Canon (right) and his fine lady did a sterling job selling the lucky draw tickets.

It was then time for the lucky draw and some stayed till late and slowly the happy golfers left for home.  T.T.F.N.

Near Pins: (A Flight) Les Coggan, Bob Watson, John Pierel, Dominic Downey, and (B Flight) John Dearden, John Heaney, Colin Davis, Peter Bietry.

Long Putts: (A Flight) Peter Blackburn, Mashi Kaneta, and (B Flight) Tom Cotton, John Hutt.

The early bird team and Khao Kheow management prepare for the players arrival.

Khao Kheow was presented in great shape for the 6th annual Poppy Day Golf event.