Cooke takes honours at Classroom Hua Hin tour

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Monday, March 14, Banyan G.C.

For some, this event started at Black Mountain, which was hosting the 2nd True Thailand Classic from 10th March, the majority however travelled down as usual on Sunday, March 13.  We were split between the usual hotels, the Thipurai and City Beach.

Our first round was scheduled at the wonderful Banyan course with an early tee time of 8.50, much appreciated at this time of year and particularly at the moment with gorgeous weather we are currently enjoying.

(From left) John Healey, Dennis Scougall, Gerry Cooke and Tony Pieroni.

Our first group was round in not much over 3 hours and our last about an hour and a quarter later but none of us in time to beat the consistent strong wind always experienced here on the back nine, which always messes with a player’s card.  The notable exceptions were the Div 1 winner, Dennis Scougall and runner-up, Mark Rossiter who scored 22 and 21pts respectively giving them both a total of 38pts for the round.  Third place went to Chris Davisson, also with 38pts and fourth was, a newcomer on tour, John Healey with 34pts, playing off 17.

There was no doubt about the verdict, Banyan is about as good as it gets, the greens were wicked as usual and the general condition about the best I’ve seen here, so congrats to the team.

Gerry Cooke, another tour newcomer, was the star of Div 2, with his excellent 37pts, followed home four points further back by three players tied on 33.  Somewhat surprisingly, John Lawton, having one of his last games in Thailand before returning to live in Spain, beat his arch rival and good friend, John Fitzgerald on count back.  Doug Stephens made the most of playing off the silver tees to also turn in 33pts and take fourth.

There were eight ‘2’s by Mark Rossiter, Doug Campbell, John Lawton, Tony Pieroni, Doug Stephens, Gerry Cooke and Dennis Scougall had two.

Tuesday, March 15, Black Mountain

This is always a great experience to play this classic course, made even more so, as we were playing it just two days after the Pros had shown us how to play the game properly.  When you glance back at their tee boxes compared with ours, it’s a completely different world but then when you get to the greens, it’s the same for us as it is for them.  Man can they putt!

The weather once again was absolutely fantastic, wall to wall sunshine; with temperatures rising fast, we were thankful of the early tee times.  We teed off on time but unexpectedly, the carts were restricted to cart paths only which has never happened before on our trips.  This did cause a few problems for us old’uns with dodgy knees; however the worst of us eventually got 90 degree access passes and all of us got a complimentary shirt of our choice afterwards after Jack had a few words, how good is that? The reason by the way, that the carts were off the fairway, was to protect it, as in places it had started to burn up during and after the Pro tournament but normal service was expected to resume in a few days.

With all of us playing from the “65” tee, the star of the day was Crofty, with a stunning 39pts playing off a handicap of 9 and he was just two over gross on the front nine; parring the first four and also the last three.  Dennis Scougall was second in the same division on 35pts, followed home by three players all on 34; John Healey, Tony Pieroni and Barry Copestake.

Tim Knight came to the fore in Div 2, showing once again his love for the course compared to Banyan, to record 37pts, with Gerry Cooke (36), Brian Maddox (35) and Bob Poole (33) taking the minor places.

There were three ‘2’s from Barry Copestake & Bob Poole (3rd hole) and Adrian Shelley on the 8th.

Thursday, March 17, Banyan G.C.

Back on Banyan for the final day with another early start, we decided to stay this time on the white tees instead of moving back to the short blues as we have done on past trips, some 400 yards longer.  Generally this proved to be a popular decision, particularly as the wind always gets up on the back nine.

Barry Copestake found his form with the best score of the day (37pts) to win Div 1 from Tony Pieroni (36) and Mark Rossiter (35).

Div 2 was won by Gerry Cooke, recording his second win of the week with another very steady round of 36pts, from Doug Stephens, who relished playing from the silver tees to record 31pts.  Adrian Shelly got the only ‘2’ of the day in his 30pts, whilst taking third place with the remaining podium spot going to Bob Poole on 28.

The overall winner was a newcomer to the tour, Gerry Cooke, who according to his IPGC playing companions, had shown little form in recent weeks but was the model of consistency this week, recording two 36’s and a 37 for a total of 109 to take the win.  Well done Gerry!  Dennis Scougall was second with 107.

Four back on a total of 103 was Tony Pieroni in third and another tour newcomer, John Healey was fourth with 101.  Barry Copestake’s final round of 37pts lifted him from 12th place after two days to tied 5th with Mark Rossiter, both with exactly 100.

Note: The Classroom Golf Tours are based at The Classroom in Soi 13/4. Check website: www.theclassroomgolftours.com.