With the low season fast approaching, the numbers are returning to those that require just one division usually, which was the situation today.
Joe Niisato took the top spot with a one over handicap round which was easily the best of the day by a clear five points as he went out in 19 but could not maintain his momentum coming home.
Al Rolnik was the best of the chasing pack, although ambling might have been a better description, with a round that never really got started but on the day proved to be sufficient to claim second spot.
Keith Emerson was surprised to take third after winning a count back over Shane Heavey with a better 15 to 12 as Shane wilted badly, amassing just seven points over the last six holes.
Yasuo Suzuki started to get to grips with the greens on the back nine which enabled him to win a count back over David Ross by a margin of 16 to 14 for fifth place on his last game on this trip.
In keeping with the difficulty of the course there were no 2’s in either division, in fact there were only six threes all day with many complaining about being unable to hit it hard enough from over four feet.
Before presenting the prizes there were welcome backs for Mike Hill, Philip Voas, Arthur Todd and the Kershaw brothers Chris and Colin together with farewells for Phillip Cass, Keith Emerson and Yasuo Suzuki.
Wednesday, March 28, Bangpra - Stableford
1st Rod Crosswell (12) 38pts
2nd Bruce Kusyk (13) 37pts
3rd Kevin Townsend (11) 34pts
4th Alan Pilkington (9) 33pts
5th Alwyne Burley (17) 32pts
6th Shuichi Kodaka (18) 31pts
Following the below average returns of the previous outing there were few confident voices on the journey to the always difficult Bangpra where the greens, whilst always in top condition, are notoriously difficult from above the hole. But most were pleasantly surprised to find that their scores were much better as the consistency of the conditions throughout the course made golf a lot easier, with the grounds keeping staff having prepared an excellent test of golf.
Rod Crosswell, in good form following an away trip when he played very steadily, returned to continue his form with a two under handicap round that was just enough to pip Bruce Kusyk by a single point. Rod finished extremely strongly with a two over gross back nine as Bruce slipped backwards on the inward half with a blob on the tenth hole and even finishing with two three pointers on 17 and 18 could not quite make up the difference.
Kevin Townsend, who is also playing very tidily recently, took third place with a solid round that suffered from a couple of errant tee shots through the last nine but still did enough to consign Alan Pilkington, another regular podium placer, to fourth by a shot.
Alwyne Burley did enough on the outward half to tie up fifth place after Shuichi Kodaka started badly with a couple of blobs and single pointers and could not generate a good enough finish after scoring thirteen points through holes 12 to 15.
Once again there were no 2’s in the second division but Rod Crosswell added to his day’s haul with the only one in the first division to sweep the roll over pool.
Prior to the presentation of the prizes there were welcomes for new members Derek Dickson and Peter Whitty together with a welcome back from a very successful trip to Hua Hin to Rod Crosswell, who had placed second overall behind Don Everett who himself was still away celebrating his massive win ahead of his fellow countrymen.
Friday, March 30, Phoenix - Monthly Medals
Division 1 Blue tees
1st Brian Libbey (9) 75
2nd Alan Pilkington (9) 76
3rd Kevin Townsend (11) 77
4th Phil Groves (8) 77
5th Kari Kuparinen (6) 77
Division 2 White tees
1st Ron Kerslake (28) 66
2nd Serge Straeten (17) 69
3rd Alwyne Burley (17) 77
4th Shane Heavey (18) 77
With the first division playing as usual from the blue tees over the Ocean and Mountain courses, whilst the second division played from the white tees, and the wind blowing a little stronger than it had been for the rest of the week, scoring was always going to be on the hard side even with the course in pristine condition and the greens running fast and true.
So it proved to be as Brian Libbey came in as the winner with a three over handicap return against the par of 72 and with the standard scratch having been set at 74 and just two players making the standard of two over handicap from that, it was certain that the CSS for the day would be moving up, which it did to 75, which put Brian’s round into perspective as a very good result.
Alan Pilkington claimed second place just a shot back after a very strong run to the finish that saw him close with a one over gross back nine which left him ruing an eleven stroke worse outward half that surely cost him his chance this time to tee it up in the year end Gold and Silvers.
Kevin Townsend made a good showing in his last competition before returning to Blighty to do his bit in helping the economy recover over the summer months as he took charge of third spot ahead of Phil Groves and Kari Kuparinen after winning a count back with a better 36.5 as Phil could muster just 39 and Kari 40 for fourth and fifth place respectively.
The second division was a walk over almost for Ron Kerslake who had his best round in Thailand by eight shots since 2008 and leaving Serge Straeten wondering what he will need to do to get into the end of year play-offs after he returned a very good three under card with a pair of 43’s on each nine to leave the third and fourth players way back some eight shots adrift, with Alwyne Burley just getting third after winning a count back by a margin of 38.5 to 40 after Shane Heave faded with a couple of doubles in the last three holes.
Marty Rock slipped in the sole ‘2’ in the first division and Ron Kerslake excelled by putting his first’2’ in Thailand to sweep the rollover pool in the second division to add to his day’s winnings.
Back at The Haven there were welcome backs for Marty Rock, Jon Lay, and Kari Kuparinen prior to the presentations.
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.