Pattaya Sports Club Charity Classic 2022 – The Two Person Challenge

President Tim Knight congratulates Eddie Beilby and Wayne Cotterall the overall winners.

The Charity Classic was for many years the flagship event of the Pattaya Sports Club Golfing Calendar. It was always very well supported by all PSC members and a broad spectrum of businesses and generous individuals in Pattaya. Unfortunately because of the pandemic the last time this event was able to be played was back in 2019, so once restrictions had been lifted planning for this year’s version began in earnest.

The organizing committee was keen to do something different from the routine stableford events that is the norm and although we’d likely have some traditionalists rolling over in their proverbial graves, it would mark a new initiative for golf in Pattaya.

Enter Mr. Jeff Pecor, an unassuming American businessman and keen golfer who plays his golf out of Durty Nelly’s, suggesting a format he was familiar with back in the States.

Take 72 golfers, playing in pairs, divided by handicap into groups of 12 competing against the other 5 pairs in their group in 9 hole matchplay games. This sounded far too complicated for many but with gentle cajoling and explanatory computer graphics the message finally sunk in, albeit selling the concept was likely to prove tricky. Even eventual winner and PSC stalwart, Eddy Beilby was quoted as saying “I would play but don’t understand the format!”, but he obviously managed to work it out in the end with Aussie playing partner Wayne Cotterell.

The format required 5 separate ‘shotgun’ starts for each of the nine hole matches over 2 consecutive days, with 3 matches on day 1 and 2 on day 2, with the winners of each group going into a sudden death shootout.

The Pattaya Sports Club thanks the sponsors and organisers for making this concept into a reality which has raised THB 70,000 for Anti Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Center to join with Rotary Clubs of Pattaya to purchase a bus to transport the children.

To make this concept a reality needed a Golf Course willing to ‘donate’ 18 holes for our exclusive use for 2 days which was likely to be a big stumbling block. Not to be deterred Jeff managed to arrange a meeting with the Commanding Officer of the Plutualung Thai Navy Golf Resort. He was fully supportive from the outset, and then both before and during the event, his staff were fantastic in providing a top class experience for all participants. Our sincerest thanks to all concerned.

Originally this tournament was slated to start on Tuesday 11th October, the day after the traditional end of the rainy season but someone upstairs hadn’t read the script. A massive storm overnight meant that 60 golfers and support staff awoke to a very wet morning and there really was no option but to postpone the event to the 17th & 18th October. Again the staff at Plutualung were very understanding and seamlessly facilitated the change, but some players weren’t able to be as accommodating due to other commitments so the field unfortunately got reduced to 48. This didn’t affect the arrangements save to shorten the odds in the shootout phase.

Monday 17th broke clear and sunny and the first round matches got underway bang on time at 9 o’clock. Each match was allocated 2.5 hours for completion if it went to the full nine holes, with 3 points up for grabs each time. The winning pair garnered 2 points straightaway and then 0.1 of a point for the winning margin – so winning 3 & 2 would give you 2.3 and the opposition would take the remaining 0.7 to keep up interest. As a consolation if things really didn’t go your way you could still get on the podium by winning the Deadman’s pool, which rather surprisingly was won by 2 lovely ladies, who pre-tournament would have been seriously considered as contenders for the main silverware!

Monday 17th broke clear and sunny and the first round matches got underway bang on time at 9 o’clock.

A tough day at the office for many but once up and running everyone involved got enthused by the new format and the interest generated after each nine holes was palpable. Day One finished with some pairs in clear contention if they could keep it up through Day two.

The weather gods were in good mood and a clear sunny start was perfect for the second day of competition. In 3 groups there were clear leaders who just needed to continue in the same vein – easier said than done as Day one leaders in group two, Jeff and Gerry, found out losing both their second day games to drop out of contention. In Group one, Ty Anderson and Bob Edwards finished top with 3.5 wins from their 5 matches, Bob Newell and Richard Steadman turned it on to win 4 of their 5 games in group 2 as did Ericson Rolf and Dechtasorn Nopporat in group three.

It was closer in group four at the turn with Tom Gorey and Bill Peach just behind leaders Eddie Beilby and Wayne Cotterell, with Stan Rees and Christy Knight posing a threat with their handicap. However two further solid wins by Eddie and Wayne sent them through to the shootout having won 5 out of 5.

The knockout was played on North holes #7, #8 and #9. One pair would get eliminated on each of the first two holes leaving the last 2 pairs to play out the ninth for the overall winner.

The first 2 holes were tied so were decided by a chip off, carefully choreographed by Jeff. Chipping from 30 yards the most errant shot would mean an early shower. Unfortunately Bob Newell and Dechtasorn Nopporat, representing their pairs, came up short on holes #7 and #8 respectively leaving Ty and Bob to take on Wayne and Eddie for the title.

The ninth hole on the North Course is a tricky par 4 needing a solid drive and accurate 2nd shot over the creek onto a sloping green. Eddie found the fairway bunker with his drive which could easily have spelt the end of his involvement but he pulled off a spectacular 150 yard approach to just over the back of the green in two with Bob Edwards on the green in three needing a 10ft putt for par.

Ever the showman, Eddie duffed a couple of putts to build the atmosphere and give partner Wayne a flutter but managed to secure his net par so when Bob slid his putt passed the hole to make bogey, the day was done. Incredible finish to a wonderful 2 days.

The recently renovated Pattaya Mansions provided a spectacular location for the after party and prize presentation. Many a hard luck story was recounted during a fabulous buffet dinner, but the consensus was it was a very successful tournament with many already looking forward to the next one. After the hiatus of covid PSC golf is definitely back with exciting new events planned for the New Year which will again break the mold and definitely should be of interest to any society golfers wanting a change from the norm. Watch this space!!

Special mention must be made of the vision and efforts of Jeff Pecor and his organizing committee for putting it all together and thanks to all those who took part in this inaugural challenge match.

The Pattaya Sports Club would like to officially recognise the generosity of the Thai Naval hierarchy in providing a perfect venue for this innovative new event and thank the sponsors and organisers for making this concept into a reality which has raised THB 70,000 for Anti Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Center to join with Rotary Clubs of Pattaya to purchase a bus to transport the children.

Pattaya Sports Club President Tim Knight (left) with the money man Dick Braimbridge, stalwarts of the PSC Charity Classic 2022.

The charming PSC staff were on hand all day to assist and distribute the designer golf shirts to players and sponsors.