The course has generally stood up well to the recent heavy rains, being a little soft underfoot but perfectly playable, however the greens have lost some of their usual bite, with the downhill putts merely scary rather than terrifying.
Despite the slower than usual greens, the course provided the usual tough challenge, with only one player, Garry Barling, shooting his handicap to take first place with 36 points. The ever steady Marty Rock came second on 33 points, one ahead of Jon Batty.
The ‘2’s pot was taken by Jon Batty. There was some debate with playing partner Jon Lay as to whether the birdie putt at the 17th was “2” or “3”, but as Jon L is more familiar with “3” than Jon B, his judgment stands.
1st Garry Barling (7) 36pts
2nd Marty Rock (10) 33pts
3rd Jon Batty (9) 32pts
Thursday, Nov. 22, Phoenix – Stableford
We made the short trip to Phoenix on Thursday, to find the course in excellent condition, apart from the lower end of the Mountain course which was a bit soft underfoot, but despite a no carts on the fairways ruling there was no need for preferred lies.
We were originally allocated Mountain and Lake, but a chaotic start ensued as a number of earlier starters were playing Lake-Mountain, and were coming round to the tee as we were due to tee off. Fortunately the Ocean 9 was free, so we started there, a little later than scheduled, and followed on with the Mountain.
Joe McArdle took the spoils with 37 points, ending a lean year in which he has only shot par on a handful of occasions and has seen his handicap rise from 11 to 14 since January. Hopefully this will start a turnaround in fortunes for the ever popular Irishman. Jon Batty was again in the prizes, his 33 points being good enough for second spot and one ahead of Peter Skinner, who missed a tap in on the 18th but managed to beat Frank McGowan 16-11 on the last 9.
The ‘2’s were shared by Andy Galvin and Mike Korney, the latter of whom is the first to admit he is more accustomed to four-putting than single putting!
1st Joe McArdle (14) 37pts
2nd Jon Batty (9) 33pts
3rd Peter Skinner (10) 32pts
Note: The Links depart from the hotel on Soi Buakhao at 10.30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9.45am for Green Valley every Sunday. Sign up at the hotel or contact Jon on 080 021 1034. A full schedule of courses can be found on the IPGC website.