It would appear that high season has now really begun as the need for three divisions arose at Crystal Bay where the course was found to be in good shape once again but with many other groups also enjoying an increase in numbers, the course was rather crowded. But that is quite normal and to be expected at this time of year, with so many other close Asian countries suffering their usual winter weather and migrating to Thailand in January and February.
Lyle Blaw shot in the seventies for the first time in over a year to take the first division top spot by five clear shots. He completed the back nine in three under handicap following a good start and left the rest of the division too much to do to get into contention.
Allan Hanlon came second by a point ahead of a three-way count back for second which was won by Alan Pilkington with a better 12 on the last six, with Mike Dabanovich scoring 10 and Kevin Townsend 9 after they had all tied the nine at 16 apiece.
Phillip Cass also decimated the second division, with a six shot margin, after shooting a round that was ten strokes better than anything he had achieved previously in Thailand. He took first place ahead of Mick Lowe whose steady play once again proved to be sufficient to get onto the podium, this time one better than handicap and just one in front of Al Rolnik in third, which left Terry Hodgkiss in fourth a further shot back.
The Red division was taken by Martti Juutilainen who just edged out new comer Mervi Koskela after they had left the rest of the division trailing.
The first division 2’s pool was shared between Alan Hanlon and Jens Gunnarsson while the second division pool including a big roll over was won by Mike Hill.
Before the presentations were made there were welcomes for new members Mervi Koskela, Kevin Blake and Nigel Semrau and welcome backs for Kevin Townsend, Mike English, Jukka Koskela, Heikki Vanninen, Paul Juutilainen, Takeshi Hakozaki and Alwyne Burley.
Wednesday, Jan. 9, The Emerald - Stableford
1st Lyle Blaw (11) 38pts
2nd Dave Howden (14) 33pts
3rd Hal Hart (24) 32pts
4th Jens Gunnarsson (15) 30pts
5th Mick Lowe (19) 29pts
After the mass start at Crystal Bay, the lure of the Emerald seemed not to be so great as the turnout went down dramatically and required just one division to cover the field. It is certain that many of the non attendees had been put off with the general condition of the course of late, even with the use of a ‘lift and place’ local rule for the fairways.
Lyle Blaw once more showed his class with another runaway win, again by five clear from the nearest challenger after returning a card that showed a one under handicap on both nines and just one six.
This time it was Dave Howden that came closest with a steady round that contained just one zero pointer.
Hal Hart dropped into third spot even after carding a couple of blobs and six one pointers, but a couple of four pointers got him back into contention for a place.
Jens Gunnarsson just got onto the podium in possibly his last golf outing before having to return to sea with a less than memorable round, but it was enough to see Mick Lowe off into fifth place by a shot.
There were no surprises when it was announced that there were no 2’s in either division.
Prior to the prize giving there was a welcome for new member Hans Troste and welcome backs for Leif and Torild Lossius.
Friday, Jan. 11, Phoenix Ocean & Mountain - Stableford
Division 1 (0-13)
1st Alan Hanlon (13) 36pts
2nd Petri Nurmi (8) 35pts
3rd Martin Grimoldby (6) 34pts
Division 2 (14-20)
1st Rick Holmes (19) 38pts
2nd Paul Taylor (19) 34pts
3rd Grant Cadell (15) 30pts
Division 3 (21+)
1st Kenny Priddy (24) 34pts
2nd Benny Hansen (25) 33pts
3rd Hal Hart (24) 32pts
Once again it was back to big numbers at the always popular Phoenix where the Ocean and Mountain courses awaited them. Although, very unusually, it was the players having to wait for over an hour past their designated tee times as inexplicably there had been an insertion of some 40 plus golfers on the day and a later count of the car park showed the reason may well have lain with three 50-seater coaches in addition to the 20 plus minibuses parked there.
The day continued even more slowly ending in a five and a half hour round to add to the over two hours wait, for some, on the tee. Fortunately this is a rare occurrence at Phoenix where the management are normally very careful not to overbook, so there must have been some heavy pressure brought to bear from some direction on the day. But the course was in excellent condition and after several beers the day seemed much brighter in the end.
Once again three divisions with the first being led in by Alan Hanlon after a level handicap round was just enough to deny new member Petri Nurmi a win on his first day out with The Haven by a single shot, with Martin Grimoldby in third a further shot behind.
The second division belonged to Rick Holmes who was making one of his rare appearances, indeed it was only his second round in the last six months, but his score indicates that his handicap will soon be back on its way down if he continues to play.
Paul Taylor slipped into second place four shots behind but four in front of third placed Grant Cadell.
The third division was taken by Kenny Priddy who played through the discomfort of a tooth extraction during the round to win by a single point from Benny Hansen in second, who was in turn one ahead of Hal Hart in third place.
Back at The Haven there were welcomes for new members John Bolton, Markku Seppala, Kalia Seppala, Sergie Kronbergs, Paula Juutilainen, Martti Juutilainen, Petri Nurmi, Ismo Oikarinen, Rauno Kari and welcome backs for Heikki Vanninen, Mikko Anttila, Kari Peltalonen, Kristina Peltalonen, Antero Halminen, Timo Tarvalainen, Vincent Gras and Tom Atkins.
There were no 2’s in the second division but the first division was shared by Rainer Helling, Alan Pilkington and Martin Grimoldby.
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 8.15 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on the days that you wish to play. A schedule of courses to be played can be found on our web site at www.thehaven-hotel.com.