Capt’ Steve tastes road-trip success – again

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PSC golf from The Outback Golf Bar

An early 8am Bangkok Airways flight carried fifteen of the seventeen players on the annual international tour, back in Siem Reap again, after a three year break; one of the other two had arrived the night before and the other was due in from the Philippines.  The short 50 minute flight was painless and smooth enough, although the turbo-prop plane was a little too small to accommodate the likes of Steve Poznanski, who really needed about another one foot of leg room and a hole in the roof when he stood up.

The airport at Siem Reap, built in the traditional Cambodian style, is small but busy but the express clearance procedure at a cost of US$5 each, is worth every cent, as we sped our way through to the waiting transportation.  Then it was off on the 15 minute journey to the hotel to drop off any non-required baggage and the girls for an early check-in; before leaving for the golf course, a further 15 minutes, for an 11.30 tee time.

From left: Steve Mann, Rod Crosswell, Martin Kingswood & Rosco.From left: Steve Mann, Rod Crosswell, Martin Kingswood & Rosco.

The Nick Faldo designed course, which opened in 2009, was quiet and the weather fine, although there had clearly been heavy rain in recent hours as the fairways were quite wet, yet good, nevertheless we decided it prudent to play winter rules (pick, clean & place on the fairways).  Upon reflection to play from the blues at 6666 yards, was probably a mistake but since it was only a practice round, we decided to give it a try; however the scores quickly demonstrated how tough it was, as the best in was 31pts from Capt’ Steve and Bill Rogers.

The greens were absolutely marvellous but the general layout somewhat disappointing, with the repetitive theme of water on the left and bunkers on the right, hole after hole; so much so that it was difficult to recall the holes after the round.

So, Steve got the nod on count back from Bill, both with 31 and Jim Bryan (30), Rick Forrest (29) and Sel Wegner (28) followed them home.

Tuesday, June 5, Day 1 – Angkor Golf Resort

We stayed at the Ta Phrom hotel after failing to get a deal with the Sofitel where we were three years ago, chalk and cheese really absolutely incomparable but it’s just as well we didn’t bet a deal with the Sofitel as we later found out that the Prokeethra course, managed by them (Sofitel) is currently undergoing some serious maintenance work and renovation.

Overall winner Steve Mann (front centre), runners -up; Martin Kingswood (front left) & Rod Crosswell (front right), Jim Bryan 4th (back left) & Pete Stonebridge 5th (back right).Overall winner Steve Mann (front centre), runners -up; Martin Kingswood (front left) & Rod Crosswell (front right), Jim Bryan 4th (back left) & Pete Stonebridge 5th (back right).

After the severe mauling we all received from the blue tees in yesterday’s practice round, we moved ourselves up about 500 yards to play from the white tees on the Faldo designed Angkor Golf Resort; not an ideal length on paper at about 6100 yards but with no roll and stacks of water, it was the best on offer.

With hardly anyone on the course and in very hot and humid conditions we were round quite quickly although the two groups which played the front nine first did get held up somewhat by a stray couple playing a two-ball, stray because they would have been better off shopping in Siem Reap than being on a golf course, it would have probably cost him less as well!  In case you were wondering why we would take a two tee start with only four groups, the rain has a habit of falling very heavily in the afternoons – but not today.

So just look at the difference a tee makes, Capt’ Steve romped in with a gross 75 for 44pts followed home by Rod Crosswell with 40; Art also did well with 36 as did Martin (35) and Chad was really pleased a he grabbed the last podium place with 34.

There were just two ‘2’s from Rosco & Steve Mann

1st Steve Mann (11) 44pts

2nd Rod Crosswell (14) 40pts

3rd Arthur O’ Connor (11) 36pts

4th Martin Kingswood (15) 35pts

5th Barry Chadbourn (20) 34pts

Wednesday, June 6, Day 2 – Siem Reap Lake Resort

So today we went to the Japanese designed, Korean owned Lake Resort course which opened only about three years ago.  A slightly longer drive from the centre of town but shortened by our knowledgeable tour guide, Sam, who was with us on every journey expounding the history of Cambodia not only in the 12th century but also in the more recent and terrible times of the Khmer Rouge, which he could remember vividly as a child.  Sam was a likeable guy, who everyday earned more and more respect from all the Outbackers on the tour and seemed to know pretty much everything about not only the Siem Reap area but also most of Cambodia.

From left: Bill Rogers, Clyde Smith, General Jack & Rod Crosswell at Siem Reap Lake Resort.From left: Bill Rogers, Clyde Smith, General Jack & Rod Crosswell at Siem Reap Lake Resort.

Facing a course called “Siem Reap Lake Resort”, we felt in wise to treat the place with some respect as we chose to play from the silver tees, at some 6100 yards.  It was a bit too short really, mainly because the water, although plentiful, didn’t really come into play but the layout was more interesting than the Faldo course with far greater changes in elevation as well.  The greens however, showed their tender years and were no comparison (to the Faldo course) and it was difficult to get the ball to the hole, even downhill.  The weather was once again incredibly good to us, no rain but very, very hot.

The same old faces rose to the top again as this time Rod got the better of Steve, both sharing 41pts and even though Rosco finished in third with 39, he let a great score go to waste as he stood three over gross with three holes to play. Rick, who Rosco beat on count back, also threw away a good score after racking up 23pts on the front nine.

There were three more ‘2’s today from Jim Bryan, Chris Davisson and another one from Rosco (his 2nd of the week).

1st Rod Crosswell (14) 41pts

2nd Steve Mann (11) 41pts

3rd Rosco Langoulant (12) 39pts

4th Rick Forrest (15) 39pts

5th Martin Kingswood (15) 38pts

Thursday, June 7, Final Round – Angkor Course

Of course no trip to Siem Reap would be complete without seeing the world renowned Angkor Wat and although constantly undergoing repair work, it is still an amazing sight to behold and just a 20 min tuk tuk ride out of town.  Definitely well worth seeing but tiring at the end of a very hot day and particularly after a round of golf.

From left: Jim Smith, Clyde Smith, Martin Kingswood & Bill Rogers with their caddies at Angkor Golf Resort.From left: Jim Smith, Clyde Smith, Martin Kingswood & Bill Rogers with their caddies at Angkor Golf Resort.

The final round was back on the Angkor course, again from the whites, and as is customary with these events the leaders go out last; with the last group being Steve Mann (85pts), Rod Crosswell (81pts), Martin Kingswood (73pts) and Rosco (71pts).

The half an hour earlier start proved unnecessary as there was only a short interruption for rain and there was nobody on the course, meaning everybody was in and finished by around 2pm, three hours before we had to be at the airport.  At presentation, Jack thanked everybody for coming and being such a congenial group for which everybody should congratulate themselves.

Martin Kingswood made a run at the overall win with a great 44pts to win today’s round comfortably by five from Jim Bryan (39), with two day second placed man Rod, back in third with 36; Capt’ Steve who held the two day lead was back in fifth on 34.

As for the overall winner, Capt’ Steve held on to complete a double after winning in Chiang Mai last year; this time he won by three from the fast finishing Martin Kingswood, who shared the runner-up spot with Rod Crosswell; Jim Bryan was 10pts further back on 107 total to take fourth with the final podium place going to Pete Stonebridge with 99

There were four more ‘2’s from Art O’Connor, Chris Davisson and Sel Wegner got two.

1st Martin Kingswood (15) 44pts

2nd James Bryan (17) 39pts

3rd Rod Crosswell (14) 36pts

4th Sel Wegner (12) 35pts

5th Steve Mann (11) 34pts

Overall Results

1st Steve Mann (11) 119pts

2nd Rod Crosswell (14) 117pts

3rd Martin Kingswood (15) 117pts

4th James Bryan (17) 107pts

5th Peter Stonebridge (15) 99pts

Note: A full list of the results can be found at the Outback Bar website at: www.outbackgolfbar.com.