Two big first time winners

Friday, 22 July 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 29

IPGC golf from The Haven

Monday, July 11, Century Chonburi - Stableford

CSS 72

1st Mark Armstrong (26) 42pts

2nd Rod Howett (23) 36pts

3rd Jens Gunnarsson (14) 36pts

4th Graham Davis (7) 36pts

5th John Squitiero (18) 35pts

6th Tony Barritt (15) 34pts

Having recently made mention of several courses that are trying to deal with the economic downturn in the world in general, and Pattaya in particular, by being very aggressive with their pricing compared with their usual levels, special mention should be given to Century Chonburi, who while never ever having been among the top pricing levels have surely turned the clock back with their latest deals.

It would appear that for a golfer sharing a cart, including green fee and caddy to be paying 500 baht is almost too good to be true and surely cannot be continued for too long a period.  Even when the cost for a single golfer including cart, green fee and caddy is as high as 700 baht there would not seem to be enough money available to be able to present the course in a good playing condition.

Mark Armstrong. Mark Armstrong.

But this was certainly not  the case on this day, when the greens were found to be in excellent shape and the course generally, although a little untidy in places, was as good as many to be found at three times the price at other venues in the area.  While there is still a dearth of sand to be found in the bunkers, a sensible local rule for the day overcame the problem and the scores fairly reflected the playability of the course with the CSS for the day remaining unchanged at 72.

Mark Armstrong shot a lifetime best to take his first ever win in any type of competition, in any country, with a six under handicap round that left the best of the rest some six shots adrift.

The best of those was Rod Howett with a marvelous count-back of 22 which was just enough to take second and edge Jens Gunnarsson into third place by a single point.

Graham Davis was in the same count-back but could only manage a solid level handicap over the outward and inward nines and so settled for fourth.

John Squitiero at one over handicap took fifth with Tony Barritt making a steady return to competition golf with a solid two over handicap round one more back in sixth.

Rodney Hayes cleaned up the first division ‘2’s pool with a beautiful shot into the fourth, while Mark Armstrong put the icing on his day by adding the 2’s huge roll over in the second division, with a magnificent ‘2’ on the almost impossible seventeenth which had been set up at almost two hundred yards uphill with the flag only just in view.  The pot for this feat was even bigger than the winning cheque.

Before presenting the prizes The Doc welcomed back Yukio Kikuchi, Jens Gunnarsson, Brian Henderson Mike English and had a special, and fond mention, for the return of Barry Traynor whose immaculate completion and handwriting of his partner’s scorecard is an object lesson that many would do well to attempt to emulate and which would greatly assist the dodgy sighted scorer.

Friday, July 15, Rayong Country Club - Stableford

CSS 74

1st John Mabry (23) 41pts

2nd Rod Howett (23) 37pts

3rd John Squitiero (18) 34pts

4th Tom McCarthy (20) 33pts

5th Mike Hill (24) 33pts

6th Masanori Takano (9) 33pts

With the Bank Holidays coming thick and fast during the last few weeks, the search was on to find yet another course where the greens fees were at a reasonable level.  This was found to be the case at Rayong where sharing a cart, a pair of golfers could expect to part with just 900 baht each, a fantastic deal for a holiday price.

With the recent heavy weather having affected the course, the day’s competition was arranged to be played under winter rules with ‘lift and place’ in the fairways only which tended to assist the higher handicappers in the field but ensured that the day was enjoyable whilst still being very competitive.

John Mabry became the second player in the week to claim his first victory in Thailand with an outstanding round that also turned out to be his lifetime best net score, which resulted in a very happy day even though it was to be his last in Pattaya for a few more months, as he was returning to the USA after his short break here.  When he next returns it will be to a three shot lower handicap, which following the news being broken to him left him delighted.

Rod Howett was the bridesmaid for the second time in the week although improving by a stroke and with the CSS for the day moving out to 74; it ensured that he will, much to his delight also, be a shot lower in the coming weeks.

John Squitiero, who has played to or just under his handicap 50% of the time during this trip, once again showed strongly with a two over handicap round that left him in third place and among the prizes once again.

Tom McCarthy, whose attention to detail on the driving range and with the scribe’s spelling, is making considerable progress even though the tangible signs are not to be seen in his handicap yet.  He is becoming one of the players regularly seen on or around the podium and on this day he took fourth with a better count-back of 18 to 17 over Mike Hill as the latter stalled at the last hole, which left Masanori Takano back in sixth, three further behind over the back nine.

Graham Davis slipped in the only ‘2’ in the first division while Dave Spendley and Brian Henderson shared the second division pool with one each.

Before the presentations there was a welcome to a new player with The Haven group in the form of Adam Oyston, the winner of the third division in Wednesday’s IPGC monthly Medals at Bangpra.  There were also welcome backs for Shuichi Kodaka, Masanori Takano, John Mabry and Dave Spendley plus a farewell to Jens Gunnarsson who is returning to sea after a very short break.

Note:  As from the 1st of July the Haven departs Soi 13 at the earlier time of 9 am until further notice.  If you would like to play with The Haven group you can contact mobile 082 219 0965 or call in to the 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 Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and 9.00am on Sundays 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.

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