Just when we had thought that weather had turned for the better we were faced with yet another storm front, bringing with it plenty of rain but very little wind to help reduce the humidity, and so the results were affected by not only very little run, but also near exhaustion for most of the competitors who did not hail from Northern Queensland.
The short week, due to the Loy Kratong festival holiday on Wednesday, started out at Eastern Star where the Robert Trent Jones design has never been one of the easier ones, with a length of almost 6,600 yards, many chances to go out of bounds and quite a few water hazards added in for good measure. With golf carts banned from the fairways due to the heavy overnight rain the course was completely sodden, allowing zero run for anywhere other than the cart paths and there are few of those to be found around the course.
Phil Groves continued with his good streak of form with the best card of the day, which on any other occasion he might have been slightly embarrassed to return. Having started very slowly a good level handicap round was sufficient to see him home in first place following a count back over Mike Hill, which he won with a better 18 to 17 to leave Mike in second spot.
Hiroyuki Tatsumi took third place after also being involved in a count back, this one with Sekio Ojima and Paul Hartley which he won with 18 over the last nine as Sekio slipped into fourth after he had tied Paul at 13 each for the nine but had a better 9 to 8 on the last six.
Shuichi Kodak had the sole 2 in the first division to sweep the pot while Mike Hill did the same in the second division with the only one.
Before the presentations there were welcome backs for Vance Millar, Brian Randall and Sekio Ojima and farewells for Peter Skinner and John Wood.
As mentioned earlier in the report Wednesday’s competition was cancelled due to Loy Kratong, which for the first time in living memory featured almost a complete day of rain in the Pattaya area, dampening many of the revelers spirits and washing out many other golf venue games that were organised.
Friday, Nov. 30, Phoenix Mountain & Lakes
- Monthly Medals
Div. 1 (Blue Tees)
CSS 77 NC
1st Phil Groves (7) 77
2nd Shuichi Kodaka (15) 90
3rd Jukka Sariola (15) 97
Div. 2 (White Tees)
CSS 75 NC
1st Brian Randall (36) 79
2nd Alwyne Burley (17) 79
3rd Seppo Sadeharju (23) 80
The wet weather continued to the end of the week when the day’s competition for the monthly medals was set for Phoenix as usual with the first division playing from the blue tee and the second division from the whites and both being played as stroke competitions.
As with the earlier outing the course was extremely wet with, unusually for Phoenix, no carts allowed off the cart paths adding to the days exertions for the hopefuls who became ever less so as the round progressed.
As with the week’s earlier competition these two were also non-counting for upward review, with the CSS moving up three strokes from both tees as the scores spiraled beyond any previously known boundaries.
Phil Groves took the first division with a solid two nines but found the length, even with his prodigious driving, a little difficult, having to hit woods into almost all of the par fours and a couple of the par fives with even the short Mountain 5th demanding a five iron following a very good drive. It all added up to more than he would have liked, but it was still good enough to ensure that he will be teeing it up in December in the Gold and Silver playoffs as the twelfth qualifier in the first division group.
Shuichi Kodaka has won many podium places, but his second place was surely a record, with a card that showed an eighteen over result, it was still seven better than the next nearest player.
This was Jukka Sariola, who must have wondered why he had travelled so far from Finland to play in conditions that he could have found around the corner at home. He was happy to make it back to the clubhouse before total exhaustion overtook him but he was easily the best in his four-ball.
Brian Randall won his very first competition, and a medal stroke play to boot, to also qualify for the finals but sadly will not be in Pattaya when it all tees off in December. But the win was very welcome following a late count back over Alwyne Burly which saw him run out the winner with a better 37 to 39.5 over the Lakes course having reduced his outward nine by five shots coming home as Alwyne returned a level front and back nine.
Seppo Sadeharju also won a count back to take third place ahead of Sekio Ojima with a better 41 to 44.5 as Sekio slipped badly playing through the closing holes.
There were no 2’s in the first division from the blue tees but from the slightly easier white tees Sekio Ojima and Alwyne Burley shared the second division pool.
Prior to the presentations there was a welcome for Martti Karkkainen and welcome backs for Sakari Finne, Jukka Sariola, Dave Howden, Harold Hart and Mike Korney.
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.