Joe Niisato shines in the wet

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IPGC golf from The Haven

Monday, August 6, Bangpra – Stableford

CSS 72

1st Joe Niisato (13) 39pts

2nd Al Rolnik (18) 37pts

3rd Jim Lloyd (28) 36pts

4th Markku Tynell (25) 33pts

5th Shuichi Kodaka (16) 30pts

A week when three of the top courses in the area were on the schedule started at the always difficult Bangpra, with its notoriously fast and tricky greens where any putt from above the hole is fraught with great danger.  But on this day they stayed fairly benign, although the six to eight footers from pin high positions were still extremely difficult with as much as three feet of break down hill.  Generally the players scored well leaving the CSS unchanged for the day at 72.

Joe Niisato got to terms with the course quickly, starting out with twenty points on the outward nine, which even included a zero pointer, and returning back in nineteen, also including a zero, to lead the field home by two, finishing with nine three-pointers on the day.

Joe Niisato.Joe Niisato.

He was followed in by Al Rolnik, who started slowly with sixteen on the front nine but came good over the inward nine with twenty one points which was just enough to see off the challenge of Jim Lloyd who started well but faded on the three holes from the tenth, taking just three points from them and then finishing with a flourish with ten points from the last three holes to take third place.

Markku Tynell also had a great start at two under handicap for the first nine but then slipped to finish in fourth after just thirteen on the back, but was still well ahead of Shuichi Kodaka in fifth place.

There were no 2’s in either division.

Prior to the presentations there were welcome backs for Vincent Gras, Ron Kerslake and Jim Lloyd.

Wednesday, August 8, Khao Kheow – Stableford

CSS 72

1st Barry Winton (5) 35pts

2nd Joe Niisato (13) 34pts

3rd Alwyne Burley (18) 34pts

4th Phillip Cass (23) 34pts

5th Mike Dabanovich (11) 33pts

Khao Kheow is undergoing a tremendous amount of repair and improvement to the course in general, but the greens require no attention other than the meticulous care that they have obviously been having as they turned out to be even flatter and faster than ever, where putts could be rolled down the line with confidence by all but the clumsiest of strokes.

Benny Hansen.Benny Hansen.

The repairs are all well marked as GUR affording the player a good opportunity to return a good card but unfortunately the day was extremely blustery and with the yellow tee markers about as near to the blues as possible on many occasions, and in a couple of cases new tees that are longer than the measured distance on the card, scoring was at a premium with all the places going to the big hitters in the field.

Leading them in was Barry Winton, now seemingly with his old appetite for the game well back in place, with a solid one over handicap return although he suffered badly over the closing holes, recording an unusual number of one-pointers, four in fact, in the space of five holes but finished with a solid par after missing a difficult four-footer to take the top spot.

Joe Niisato started slowly this time out as he had a real mixture on the front starting and finishing the nine with zero pointers but he finished well enough to win a count back for second place over Alwyne Burley with a better 13 to 11 over the last six after they had tied the nine at 18 apiece.

Also in the nine hole count back was Phillip Cass who had to settle for fourth after ending the nine with 17 points, but he was well pleased with his day’s efforts which included seven three-pointers.

Mike Dabanovich, who struggled to get to terms with the speed of the greens for most of the day, slipped into fifth spot after some prodigious drives that sometimes left even Barry Winton gasping in amazement.

Once again there were no 2’s in the second division but Barry Winton beefed up his winnings with the only one in the first division.

Prior to the prize giving there was a welcome back for Lincoln Burke.

Friday, August 10, Pattana B & C (Yellow tees) – Stableford

CSS 71

1st Benny Hansen (24) 35pts

2nd Barry Winton (5) 35pts

3rd Phillip Cass (23) 33pts

4th Lincoln Burke (13) 32pts

5th Vincent Gras (19) 30pts

6th Ron Kerslake (26) 30pts

To end the week the group took on their third top class course, all of which had been available to play at a basic cost for green fee and caddy of 1,000 baht, which is great value for any golfer who believes in walking the course for the exercise.

Barry Winton.Barry Winton.

The day’s competition had to be played under the ‘lift and place’ local rule following very heavy overnight rain, although after five holes, no doubt due in some part to the very strong winds that buffeted both the players and the course, it was dry enough to allow carts off the cart paths and into the rough, for which quite a few of the players were very grateful, especially those unable to direct their shots towards the paths.  With very little run in the fairways the competition was played from the yellow tees although many of those were placed back near the whites, making it a long day for most.

Benny Hansen used his handicap allowance to its full advantage, ignoring the big shot to the green and settling for two irons instead on many occasions, which paid full dividend until the 450 yard, uphill, into wind, eighth on the B course, having started on C, which was just too far for a par four on the day, where he recorded his only scratch.  He did win the count back for first place, which as usual was taken over the last nine on the card rather than the order in which they were played, with a better 21 to 16 ahead of Barry Winton whose weaker finish to the round was the only blot on a good day that saw him recoup the wager in the day’s four-ball after losing on Wednesday with the same useless partner who reportedly writes better than he plays.

Phillip Cass again showed good form with more strong play from the tee and although he was not so successful with the three-pointers he still did enough to take third place by a point ahead of another big hitter in Lincoln Burke, who had started out with just ten points on the first nine but finished really well with 22 on the back nine to leave him in fourth place.

Vincent Gras and Ron Kerslake were determined to get on at least one of the lower steps of the podium in their last outing this trip and did so, with Vincent getting the better of the count back with a better 20 to 14 as they finished fifth and sixth respectively.

With the par threes extremely difficult to play in the conditions it was no surprise to find there were no 2’s in either division.

Back at The Haven there was a welcome back for Don Everett together with farewells for Vince Gras, Ron Kerslake and Jim Lloyd after another very successful Motor Insurance Assessors Convention in Pattaya.

Note:  If you would like to play with The Haven group, you can contact mobile 082 219 0965 or call in to The Haven 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 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 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.