As usual the Championship was split into three divisions with the first being set at 0 to10, the second at 11 to 17 and the third at 18 plus. Due to lack of sufficient entries there was no Ladies division this year.
Paul Smith (left) is presented with the Low Gross trophy my Glyn Evans.
As usual, after the first round of stroke play, a cut was to be made at approximately 50% in the gentlemen’s divisions with those missing the mark going forward to the Plate Competitions which would be scored under the Stableford system. Following an increase in numbers the previous year this year also showed and increase with all divisions numbering over thirty players. Once again the quality of the field was of the highest order with well over 30% of the entrants having single figure handicaps.
As members arrived to check in on day one they received their complimentary club shirt, hat and golf towel and a specially printed score card.
As was expected the management at Phoenix had produced a fantastic course for the event with the fairways in immaculate condition and the rough carefully trimmed to match the extremely fast and flat greens that were shown as 9 on the stimpmeter.
The day started brightly and stayed clear until around 2 pm when the heavens opened forcing many of the competitors to take shelter from the thunder and lightning for approximately 45 minutes and with the start having been made at 9.36 and the last tee time being 12.56, it left little margin for delays if all were to finish before the evening closed in. In the event, everyone just got in before darkness fell at around 5.40 which was a testament to the general speed of play under stroke play conditions.
After the cards were signed, accepted and recorded it was found that the first division was headed by Alan Pilkington who had gone round in four under handicap for a net 68 and led by three shots from Paul Smith handicap 1, who was leading the scratch competition at net 71. Al Keith was showing well at just one further back off of his 5 handicap with Russell Goldsworthy (4) and Khun Arai (6) another shot back behind him.
The second division was looking like a one horse race as Rodney Nabbe leapt out to a two stroke advantage at one under off his 11 handicap with Joe McArdle (13) in close behind at one over and Mark Cooper and Jerry Sweetman a further one back sharing third place and Kari Aarnio the only other near player another one behind them.
Jack Grindvold (right) was the Net champion.
Division three saw Sekio Ojima leading the pack at level par from his 23 handicap and being chased by Ian Plummer (18) just one off the pace and Gary Bolger (18) and Howard Stanley (18) at three over par.
That all meant that, the cut came at five over in the first division, six over in the second division and eight over in the third division. The CSS for the day stayed at 73 with 22 % of the counting players playing within the required two of handicap on the day.
So all was set for an exciting day two and with some of the top contenders being in contention for the first time in the Club Championship there was bound to be a few nerves after a day’s rest to contemplate the situation ahead of them.
So Friday, the final day, started with the promise of overcast skies but no rain and with an earlier start at 9.12 all were ready for a great day’s golf, and so it transpired with a slight wind from the south west which was not hurting too much and the fairways running well after a dry day on Thursday.
Day two was set for a few more headaches for the hopefuls as the organising committee had arranged to have all the pin positions moved from Wednesday’s placements to include a fair sprinkling of difficult placements.
Following check-in, where all the entrants were given a superb kit bag holdall to add to the freebies already stashed away, the early starters were to be the first groups in the Plate Competitions, with the first groups in the Championships starting at 10 a.m.
With the divisions teeing off in reverse order the third division was the first to show their results, with Sekio Ojima feeling the pressure and finishing with a score nine worse than day one. It still nearly proved to be enough though as he just lost out on the count back to Ian Plummer, who also slipped to seven worse but held on to take the win by virtue of the last day 18 of 80 to 81in the count back.
Mauri Friman took third place after he had won the count back over Gary Bolger with a better 36.5 to 38 over the last nine and Howard Stanley going close but not making it into the final count back having had a 79 to the other two’s78s.
The second division was led in by Mark Cooper who returned a very pleasing level handicap round to deny the hard chasing Uli Bangerter who slipped in a one under handicap round but could not make up the difference as Mark stayed strong through to the end. Michael Healey returned anther four over round to finish well behind the leaders but well in front of his nearest challengers to take third place.
The first division was a very close fought affair with the main protagonists all suffering to some degree with exceptionally bad holes within their rounds.
Alan Pilkington must rank as the hardest hit as he returned a card sixteen worse than the first round to finish six shots out of the prizes having looked to be a winner after day one. With the best net and best gross being taken out of the divisional prizes it was left to Russell Goldsworthy to return another solid round of five over gross from his 4 handicap to take the top honour in the first division at two over 146.
Al Keith was left ruing the 9 he took at the par four seventeenth immediately after a great birdie 2 on the 16th that had put him in contention for the best net and a par/par finish would have sealed the day, but it was not to be on this day and he settled for second place. Silvio Bizzotto took third place after a last day count back with Rick Morgan which he won with a better 73 to 74.
IPGC 2012 champions & trophy winners pose for a group photo.
So now it was down to the final players in the Plate Competitions to round off the day’s results with the first division topped by David Lowe who returned a great three under return to take the division by five points ahead of Bob Patterson who needed to win the count back with Martin Grimoldby which he did by a margin of 17 to 16 to be second and leave Martin in third place.
The second division was taken by Joe Niisato with a solid two over handicap round that was just sufficient to edge Karl Flood out by one, with Grant Cadell in third following a count back with Robbie Taylor which he won with a score of 18 to 16.
That just left the third division, which had generally found the length of the course maybe a couple of hundred yards too long, but Len Jones confounded the naysayers and himself to take the top spot by seven clear points with Joe Peters in second after a count back over Masashi Iizumi which Joe won with a better 14 to 13 over the inward half.
1st Paul Smith (1) 143
1st Jack Grindvold (4) 144
Best Round Net
1st Jack Grindvold (4) 67
1st Russell Goldsworthy (4) 146
2nd Al Keith (5) 147
3rd Silvio Bizzotto (10) 149
1st Mark Cooper (13) 146
2nd Uli Bangarter (16) 148
3rd Michael Healy (15) 152
1st Ian Plummer (18) 153
2nd Sekio Ojima (23) 153
3rd Gary Bolger (18) 154
1st David Lowe (7) 39pts
2nd Bob Patterson (7) 34pts
3rd Martin Grimoldby (6) 34pts
1st Joe Niisato (12) 34pts
2nd Karl Flood (15) 33pts
3rd Grant Cadell (15) 30pts
1st Len Jones (25) 35pts
2nd Joe Peters (19) 28pts
3rd Masashi Ilzumi (23) 28pts
The prize presentations were held at The Haven where the usual great buffet had been laid on for some three hours preceding the presentations which were than announced by Russell Exley and presented by Glyn Evans.
Before the announcement of the winners, Russell gave huge thanks to the management and staff of The Phoenix Golf and Country who had provided everyone with an excellent two days of golf together with huge thanks to Stephen Beard, Glyn Evans, Len Jones, Steve Mascari and himself all of whom worked hard to make the Championship such a great success once again.
He also commented on the great value for members with over 2,500 baht a head being sponsored by the club for the event covering the trophies and giveaways. There was also a round of applause for the food and catering by the Haven and its staff and lastly but by no means least a vote of thanks from the organising committee to all those members that took part and played their parts to the full in arriving at the end results.