Smith on fire at Phoenix

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PSC Golf from The Billabong Golf Bar

Monday, Feb. 8, Phoenix – Stableford

There was a cold biting wind when we arrived at Phoenix, with many wearing jumpers and jackets that had lain hidden for many months (perhaps years).  But after three or four holes, the sun had its way, the wind lost its edge and it turned into a perfect day for golf.  It is tough for the caddies for they, unfortunately for them, cannot put a jacket over their caddie uniforms so they have to make the best of it.

A full car park is a strong hint that there are many wanting to play golf but the officials at Phoenix are some of the most capable in the area.  We teed off on time and, despite many groups on and approaching each hole, a 4 hour round was the order of the day.

(Left to right) Bob Van Mol with John Locke, William Macey, Usa and Lloyd Shuttleworth.

There are some dissenting opinions about the new layout at the Lakes but when you have a considered opinion from a seasoned veteran, like the amiable Gentry Harrington, who thinks that this nine will be one of the best in Pattaya, stated with what you could confuse with a smile on his face, this verdict should not be ignored?

Unfortunately Gentry’s score on the Lakes today did not help him to achieve a seat on the podium.  The great weather encouraged many good scores with 12 players exceeding 30 points but 34 was the minimum to be mentioned in dispatches and that was achieved by Steve Plant for 5th place.  Peter Ennis played to his handicap on 36 points but was edged out of 3rd place by John O’Neill on 37.  Alan Beck was the bridesmaid today with 38 points but Ivor Smith left the field in his wake with 41 point to take the honours.

The greens on the Lakes play differently to those on the Mountain, for all par 3s are 160 yards or more and defeated all our attempts to obtain a birdie on these holes.

Wednesday, Feb. 10, Green Valley – Stableford

Not a cloud in the sky this day and the sun was winning the battle with the crisp morning air.  In most of Europe we would expect heavy frost in these circumstances, making the greens difficult to handle, but Green Valley had their own way of making life difficult, they cut the greens in the morning making them as slippery as trying to catch an eel with your bare hands.

Lloyd Shuttleworth, confidently expecting a good round, threw down a challenge to 8 ladies on the day’s performance.  Despite coming home with 34 points there were shouts of delight when, back at the Billabong, 7 ladies held their hands out to reap their reward.  Never mind Lloyd, better luck next time – or will there be a next time?

Ladies top three: Dan, Sa, and Eng.

Keith Allen had a day to forget but he is close to consigning his previously favoured 2-iron to the graveyard since discovering that his driver performs even better.

We had 41 golfers today, which included 11 ladies, playing in near perfect conditions.  Miss Eng played to her handicap with 36 points for third place in the ladies comp while Miss Dan had a really good round with 38 but was relegated to second place by the lady captain, Miss Sa, having another great round and winning the day on 39 points.

Lloyd Shuttleworth had some compensation by coming fourth in the main field, beating 2 others on the same score of 34 points.  Steady John Locke came in third with 38 while Bob Van Mol and William Macey both returned 40 points with the same score on the front and back 9s, but the gold medal went to William winning on a count back of the last 6 holes.

You could say that the greens won the day for there was only one ‘2’ today and that went to William, narrowly missing a hole in one and being left with only a 6 inch putt from behind the pin.

Friday, Feb. 12, Burapha – Stableford

Burapha on a day with all nines absolutely packed out made it a very slow round, so drink stops were vital to maintain composure.  Playing the A and B loops, which were in fantastic condition, the greens were so fast that there were a lot of 3-putts, especially from the scribe.

Seven groups turned up to enjoy themselves and apart from a 4 hour 45 minute day out it was a great day, at this time of the year – you just have to chill out and not get upset with the pace of play.

There was a count back for third with Alistair getting edged out by Ivor Smith, both with 33 points each.  Coming in second was Freddy Starbeck with a handicap matching 36 points and taking line honours was the man from Basra, Lloyd Shuttleworth, with a fine 39 points.

There was only one ‘2’, coming from Steve Balfour who chipped in from off the green on B8.