Al Rolnik has been slowly getting back to his old form following his three year sabbatical in India and the new beginning, about a year ago, for his handicap when it was reassessed from the old level of 15 up to 22 following a few rounds of acclimatisation, to 22 from which it then took nine months to move in a downward direction, but in the last two months it has moved smartly down another five shots taking it back almost to its old level following this week’s returns. A lot of the improvement can be attributed to the hours of practice put in at the local range allied to a strong desire to get his game back together. The day’s winning score, whilst not being one of his best returns, was definitely another brick in the road to his destination.
John Squitiero turned out to be the usual suspect on the podium with yet another return that, whilst not getting the attention of the handicapper, took a prize for second place.
Brian Henderson on the other hand is a very infrequent visitor to the podium, as he puts the enjoyment of the day far ahead of the score, but on this occasion that score turned out to be good enough for third place.
Yasuo Suzuki had a fairly quiet round apart from one hole where he scored four points but in the end had more to celebrate than just a fourth spot.
Barry Winton just edged out Graham Davis by a single point to claim fifth place with a score that was one over his buffer zone.
Alastair Skene was hoping that it would be a happy farewell to Pattaya taking the 2’s pool in the second division whilst Barry Winton and Trevor Schirmer also thought they would be sharing the first division pot. They were all mistaken in their assumptions, as Yasuo Suzuki aced the 158 yards 8th hole on the west course to sweep all the 2’s and set up a great evening after the presentations were finalised. The hole is perhaps one of the best in the area to watch a hole in one from the elevated tee, which added greatly to Yasuo’s pleasure in completing this lifetime first event.
Back at The Haven there was an extra surprise in store for Yasuo as he was presented with the first IPGC Hole in One golf bag. This was the first of a series of bags that will be presented to every member, who when playing in an official IPGC competition, from any of the IPGC venues completes a hole in one.
Before making the presentations Stephen Beard welcomed new member Nobuyuki Nakagomi and also welcomed back Kinya Akiyama, Masamoto Kuramochi, Benny Hansen, Danny Greer and Warren Gallop.
There was also an empty handed farewell for Alastair Skene.
Wednesday, July 20, Khao Kheow - Stableford
1st Al Rolnik (19) 42pts
2nd Barry Winton (5) 38pts
3rd Yukio Kikuchi (20) 34pts
4th Rodney Hayes (10) 33pts
5th Nobuyuki Nakagomi (28) 29pts
6th Shuichi Kodaka (16) 29pts
Once again Al Rolnik strode to the top of the leader board but today was head and shoulders above the rest of the field, winning by a clear 4 points from the inform Barry Winton, who could not be blamed for being a little disappointed not to get back on to the top step having returned a very good two under handicap on arguably one of the toughest courses currently being played, with the next nearest contestant being a further four shots adrift.
Yasuo Suzuki (left) is presented with his hole in one prize bag by Stephen Beard.
This underlines what a great round Al Rolnik put in to finish at six under handicap and it can be greatly attributed to Al’s application in playing within his handicap limits and refusing to take on chancy or speculative shots and utilizing his handicap strokes to their full extent when considering the best shot to play to the green.
Yukio Kikuchi, whilst not quite up to scratch still, is playing very near to handicap and this time finished well enough to take third place ahead of Rodney Hayes who still cannot quite get back to the handicap level to which he was once accustomed as he can often be heard telling his chums in the bar but it is all seemingly falling on deaf ears where the handicapper is concerned.
Nobuyuki Nakagomi won a very low key count-back from Shuichi Kodaka with a better 15 to 12 over the inward half, which on this day was the North course.
Barry Winton took the first division 2’s pool while Mark Armstrong took the second division, as they both slipped in their putts on the 179 yard 3rd on the C course which with the pin tucked away on the right, made them no easy feats.
Prior to the presentations Frank McGowan was welcomed back.
Friday, July 22, The Emerald - Stableford
1st Yukio Kikuchi (20) 37pts
2nd Barry Winton (5) 34pts
3rd Yasuo Suzuki (8) 33pts
4th Kinya Akiyama (8) 33pts
5th Trevor Schirmer (14) 32pts
Yukio Kikuchi at last took the top spot after coming close in competitions from quite a few different venues and will return home a little happier than when he arrived after a very good golfing holiday in the Pattaya area.
Barry Winton took his second runner up placing in the week with yet another solid round that was still not quite good enough to stop his handicap rising anther 0.1 as he once again ended the day outside his 1 shot buffer zone, but with one good score in the week he just managed to stay at the level at which he started the week.
Yasuo Suzuki, still getting over the excitement of the events earlier in the week, but now sporting a sparkling new golf bag complete with freshly cleaned and polished clubs with which to set it off, just about took third place needing a better count-back of 15 to 14 to see off the challenge of Kinya Akiyama.
Trevor Schirmer rounded out the honourable mentions another shot back in fifth.
Trevor Schirmer took the first division 2’s pool as the second division remained unclaimed.
Back at The Haven there were farewells for Kinya Akiyama, Masamoto Kuramochi, Nobuyuki Nakagomi and Yukio Kikuchi.
Note: As from the 1st of July the Haven group is departing 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.