In the event the course was found to be in as good a condition as it has ever been, with the exception of the greens which have never recovered for their best which some may remember was in the early 2000’s when they were let go, and even though several attempts have been made over the years they have all come up a little short. But having said that, the course is still very good value and deserves its place on the schedule once a month.
With the difficulties of the greens it was always going to be a difficult day to score and this was born out as the CSS for the day went out three strokes and the day became non-counting for upward review of handicaps.
Phil Groves did not have to over-extend himself to get what is now becoming a standard win a week as four over handicap was enough to wrap up another win.
Following his recent reduction in handicap Benny Hansen is starting to play regularly around the mark although on this day he did not quite come up to scratch it was a round that was just enough to claim second place and leave the chasing players well behind.
There were no 2’s in the second division but Phil Groves cleaned out the first division pot with a solo effort on the 150 yard 3rd hole.
Wednesday, May 23, Bangpra - Stableford
1st Shuichi Kodaka (18) 35pts
2nd Joe McArdle (13) 34pts
3rd Phil Groves (7) 33pts
4th Darryl Kellett (16) 32pts
5th Brian Libby (9) 31pts
Following the poor results of the previous outing the pundits in the peanut gallery were predicting a complete washout in the results as the group took on the always difficult Bangpra course with its notoriously tricky greens. They were surprised to see that the returns showed a much better set of results from the contestants with the CSS remaining at the standard 72.
Shuichi Kodaka, having just returned from a short holiday in Japan where he must have spent most of his time at the driving range, slipped straight back into top form with a solid round of one over which was enough for him to claim the top spot ahead of Joe McArdle. Joe slipped badly coming home after a very promising front nine of 20 points, with Shuichi returning 19 for the homeward half which left Joe in second place by a single point.
Phil Groves returned a better card than his previous outing but which proved only good for third place just a further point behind.
Darryl Kellett made it a happy farewell until his next visit, by which time he hopes that he will have added to the number of his great grandchildren, with a fourth place which could have been so much better without the two blowouts on the last two holes. With the top step of the podium in sight, a tee shot into the water on the par three17th, and a ball somewhere amongst hundreds of others on the driving range from the 18th tee meant a faded dream end to his holiday in the “Land of Smiles”.
Brian Libby rounded out the honourable mentions, just one behind as he faded badly over the last nine having gone out in two under handicap for twenty points.
There were no 2’s in the first division but Ger Lodge cleaned out the roll over pot in the second division.
Before making the presentations Stephen Beard welcomed back Shuichi Kodaka and Brian Libby and had a farewell for Darryl Kellett.
Friday, May 25, Phoenix - Monthly Medals
Blue Tees CSS 74
1st Alan Pilkington (9) net 71
2nd Alan Griffiths (12) net 72
3rd Phil Groves (7) net 76
White tees CSS 72
1st Paul Hartley (17) net 69
2nd Alwyne Burley (18) net 76
3rd Shuichi Kodaka (18) net 80
With Phoenix being in excellent condition and with the special green fees available it was expected that the turnout would be the best of the week, which turned out to be the case and nobody was disappointed as they found the course to be even better than their expectations, with the greens particularly flat and fast.
Stephen & Phil.
The first division was a shoot out between playing partners Alan Pilkington and Alan Griffiths, with the former taking the medal with a stunning two over gross back nine having been lagging on the outward nine by three strokes as Alan Griffiths went out two under the standard scratch but just failed to keep the momentum going to the end. Alan Pilkington did remarkably well to become the sixth different winner of this year’s series of medals that qualify for the end of year Gold and Silvers as he had started out with a triple bogey on the first but then completed the rest of the round without a six on the card.
Phil Groves had to settle for another third place with after completing what for him was a very quiet round at four over par.
Mike Dabanovich had been in contention right up until the last hole when a lost ball on the eighteenth destroyed any hope of getting amongst the prizes.
The second division was led in by Paul Hartley whose power from the tee helped him to take control of the course and finish with an excellent three under handicap round to claim his first medal of the year and add his name to the list of entrants for the end of the year competition.
Alwyne Burley rounded off a very quiet week with a second place even though it was a long way short of his best golf, and Shuichi Kodaka suffered a bad reaction to his previous round with a so-so round to finish the week in third.
There were no 2’s in either division.
Back at the Haven there were welcome backs for Serge Straeten, Clive Hall and Jon Batty.
Note: If you would like to play with The Haven group, you can contact mobile 082 219 0965 or call in to The Haven Hotel, at 185 Soi 13, between Beach Road and 2nd Road. All transportation to the course is arranged and you do not need to sign up prior to the day, but you should be there by 8.30 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on the days you wish to play. A schedule of courses to be played can be found on our web site at www.thehaven-hotel.com.