Vincent back with a bang


IPGC Golf from The Haven

Monday, Nov. 2, Phoenix (Mountain & Ocean) – Stableford

CSS 71

1st Erik Donnestad (5) 39pts

2nd Steven Downes (6) 37pts

3rd Peter Skinner (9) 37pts

4th Paul Young (14) 35pts

5th John Carlin (20) 34pts

6th Markku Tynell (21) 32pts

The usual once a fortnight visit to Phoenix Gold was once again a real pleasure for the players as the two nines in play for the day were in tip top condition, with the only caveat being the amount of sand in the bunkers.  The general consensus of the best players was that the sand was four of five inches too deep, with most balls unlucky enough to find their way there deeply plugged, even in the face of the bunker.  But apart from that drawback everything else about the day was excellent.

(L-R) Vincent Gras, Erik Donnestad & Steven Downes.(L-R) Vincent Gras, Erik Donnestad & Steven Downes.

Erik Donnestad started out what was to be a very successful week of golf with his best round and best result as he won with two shots to spare ahead of the field.  He returned an excellent gross 74 and added much pleasure and not a few free lessons in how to score for his playing partners.

Steven Downes returned and immediately hit good form as he took the second place after winning a count back over the in-form Peter Skinner with a better 20 to 18.  Peter will have not been too disappointed as he has seen his handicap plummet three strokes in the last three weeks and is well pleased with his form

Paul Young signed off for a while on his way back to Australia for a short break, with a solid round that earned him fourth spot ahead of John Carlin in fifth and Markku Tynell in sixth.

There were no 2’s in the second division but Paul Young knocked in the sole one in the first division to claim the pot.

Wednesday, Nov. 4, Pattana A & C (yellow tees) – Stableford

CSS 73

1st Steven Downes (6) 41pts

2nd Erik Donnestad (5) 37pts

3rd Peter Skinner (9) 34pts

4th John Carlin (20) 32pts

5th Bruce Hilde (17) 32pts

6th Serge Straeten (17)  28pts

Another course which is in great condition is Pattana where the day’s two nines were the A & C layouts that include the par six A5 and after the resulting good scores the CSS for the day remained at 73.

The three top players from the previous competition again took the top three steps but in a different order, with Steven Downes showing his class when returning a gross 74 for a five under handicap winning total even after including a zero-pointer on the half island par three A3 as he found the water behind after hitting the green from the tee.

Erik Donnestad slipped down to second place on this occasion after he too went under handicap four behind but he also dropped in a couple of zeros and then played very well for the rest of the day.

Peter Skinner could not quite recreate his earlier form but scored well enough to lock up third place three behind after struggling through the final three holes.

John Carlin went one better than his last outing, winning a count back over Bruce Hilde by returning a better 6 to 4 over the last three after they had tied the nine and six on 14 and 8 each.

Serge Straeten made a gallant effort to keep up with the leaders but having tired badly over the closing holes he had to settle for the last step on the podium.

There were no 2s in either of the divisions.

Friday, Nov. 6, Crystal Bay A & C – Stableford

CSS 71

1st Vincent Gras (19) 41pts

2nd Yukio Kikuchi (17) 37pts

3rd Erik Donnestad (5) 37pts

4th John Sutcliff (16) 36pts

5th Steven Downes (6) 34pts

6th Hideo Akiyama (16) 33pts

With Peter Skinner taking a rest from golf for a day, the leading players list looked a little different for the third event of the week as the hopefuls took on the wide open spaces of the A and C courses at Crystal Bay where the conditions are slowly improving but still short of their best of olden times, although the greens are certainly better and more consistent in pace.

Vincent Gras flew in unannounced late the previous evening and obviously had little time for his usual pre-match training regime as he came out as fresh as a daisy and firing on all cylinders and then after kept the ball in play for the whole round.  He returned his best score for over eighteen months to dominate the day with a four point win.

Vincent’s great form denied touring Yukio Kikuchi another win in Soi 13, he having to settle for a well-played second place after he won a count back over the ever present Erik Donnestad, with a better 20 to 17.

Erik was no doubt well pleased though as he finished the week with three podium places and three cards in the seventies.

John Sutcliff could have been better placed than fourth but a few uncharacteristic zeros put paid to his chances for a higher finish.

Steven Downs made his third appearance of the week in fifth after he missed one or two too many putts to finish just one ahead of Hideo Akiyama, who had started with an opening two under handicap front nine but then slipped over the inward half and had to settle finally for sixth place.

Once again there were no 2s in the second division but Erik Donnestad added to his week’s haul with the sole one in the first division.

Note: If you would like to play with The Haven group, you can contact 038 710 988 or call in to The Haven Hotel, 185 Soi 13, situated 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 8.15 on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on the days that you wish to play. If you would like to leave your golf clubs at The Haven, there are usually lockers available at a nominal charge.  A schedule of courses to be played can be found on our web site at