Tore & Odd bloom at 5th annual Poppy Golf challenge

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Like all good things in life, the idea for a golf tournament to mark the annual period of Remembrance and support for the poppy appeal came from a meeting of minds in Tropical Bert’s back in 2009.  Now approaching its fifth edition, it was time for the volunteers, a.k.a. the scribe and Max, to get the event sailing smoothly once more.

One of good thing about already having a few tournaments in the book is that you have a record, and hopefully if it is good, the players will reappear.  So it was on this day and the sign-ups came in thick and fast and we had close to 152 players for the 2-ball better ball stableford comp.  I suspect that playing at Khao Kheow at a great rate was also much to do with it.

Tournament winners Tore Eliassen and Odd Holm-Hansen receive their prizes from Graham MacDonald MBE (left), President of the Royal British Legion, Emcee Derek Brook (right) and Max Matthews (standing rear centre)Tournament winners Tore Eliassen and Odd Holm-Hansen receive their prizes from Graham MacDonald MBE (left), President of the Royal British Legion, Emcee Derek Brook (right) and Max Matthews (standing rear centre)

Friday, November 7 started with fine weather and Max was down at the course early to get things set up.  With a few no-shows we finally got underway with 144 players off a two-tee start from 10 a.m. and all were away by 12:30 – and that is when the rain hit.  Fortunately it only lasted 10 minutes and although the skies remained threatening, the rain stayed away for the rest of the afternoon.

Although carts were not allowed on fairways, the course was in good condition (if a little soft in places) and the Khao Kheow staff really put themselves out for this day and to them I say thank you.

Runners-up Jim Heaney and Dominick Downey collect their awards.Runners-up Jim Heaney and Dominick Downey collect their awards.

Round over, Max and Matt were busy beavering away sorting the results out and I must also say thanks to Bob and Mike who gave of their day to assist.  Bob sold the poppies and Mike acted as Starter.

The post tournament function and prize-giving ceremony was held the following evening at Amari Pattaya’s Tavern By The Sea and was attended by over 170 golfers and their guests.  The venue provided a superb buffet that was enjoyed by all, certainly the best I have seen for years, and with drinks at special prices the beers went down well also.  A big thanks goes to Brendan Daly and his staff at the Amari.

Ning Neal (right) receives a near pin prize from Graham MacDonald.Ning Neal (right) receives a near pin prize from Graham MacDonald.

The night started with the Chairman and Emcee saying his thank you and asking Graham MacDonald MBE, President of the Royal British Legion, to say a few words of appreciation to the main sponsors, namely Twining’s, Pattaya Reality and Manpower Services.  He did not mention his own company, but I did, as MBMG are the biggest supporters of The Royal British Legion here in Thailand.  As Chairman, I also thanked Colin Davis of Lewiinski’s, the Amari management and staff and last but not least to Maxwell Matthews, who has given me so much support over the years.

A day such as this does also not go on without good will and hard work from many of the golfers.  Here, Max and I would like to give thanks to them all and especially Daryl Evans, Mashi Kaneta, Dick Warberg, Tom Cotton and Keith Phillips.  They added many of the items for the raffle, and also made my job much easier.

The Chairman says thank you to the ‘strongest team’ for their indomitable spirit.The Chairman says thank you to the ‘strongest team’ for their indomitable spirit.

Appreciation was also given to Chris Balzis for his fine shirts delivered on time, to the Navy lads for the trophies, to the Pattaya Mail for media support and last but not least to all the hotels who gave prizes for the ‘Draw’ and to Christina who gathered a list of hotel vouchers the like of which I have never seen.

So on to the presentation for the golf, and first we awarded the accolade of ‘strongest team’ of the day to Kurt Eberhardt and Otto Schmid.  They always give of their best and epitomize what the game is all about.

A busy signing-in desk at Khao Kheow.A busy signing-in desk at Khao Kheow.

Coming in sixth place in the tournament with 48 points was the pairing of Mashi Kaneta and Tom Herrington, just losing on count back to John Hackett and Jim Ferris in fifth.  Fourth spot went to Gordon Melia and Geoff Parker who also lost out on a count back to Bernard Green and Marcus Earp, both teams with 49 points each.  The runners-up were the duo of Jim Heaney and Dominick Downey with a fine 50 points but edging them out of top place on 51 points were Tore Eliassen and Odd Holm-Hansen – well played gentlemen!

On the first tee with the Starter.On the first tee with the Starter.

Near Pins: A3 – Max Scott, Barry Elphick; A5 – Jeff Clohessy, Sean Soden; B3 – Ning Neal, Dick Warberg; B8 – Donal McGuigan, Jim Ferris.

Long Putts:  A9 – Terry Smith, Aidan Murray; B9 – Bob Newell, Les Easton.

We then held the Lucky Draw to complete the night and it was time for the Scribe to relax with friends and listen to the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the day.  T.T.F.N.