St Austell Golf Club played China Fleet in the first round of the President’s Trophy on Sunday. We fielded a mixed team of seasoned campaigners and rookies – Chris Bailey, Brian Osborne, Gary Hooper, Ian Tubb, Dave Morgan, Mike Payton, Steve Pill, Shane Sullivan and Matt Richards. Once again we travelled to Looe Golf Club with a great bunch of supporters and caddies.
Rookie Matt was understandably a little nervous as he started the match in front of a lot of onlookers! However he soon settled and was two up after six holes. His 15 handicapper opponent fought back to bring the match level after nine, and they had a great tussle until Matt finally lost on the 18th. Fortunately for China Fleet, but not for Matt, his opponents OOB destined drive hit a tree and bounced out into the middle of the fairway.
In the next pairing, another rookie Shane, was more fortunate and played some exceptional golf, overcoming his opponent 5&3 to level the match.
Veteran Steve Pill, who had his son Ben carrying his bag, had a great battle in his match, with both players up and down throughout. Steve was then two down with three to play but managed to win the 16th and halved the 17th to leave him needing to win the 18th for the half. A long putt allowed him to do this leading to a valuable 1\2 point.
Mike Payton was our fourth man, and he had another up and down match. It fell to the 18th green green again where Mike showed his mettle and coolness to win giving St Austell an advantage of 2½ to 1½ points.
Dave Morgan was next up in the fifth match, and he played a China Fleet player that was obviously on form – giving three shots to his opponent, Dave lost 4&3 to level the overall match.
Ian Tubb took the 6th spot in the team, and although having to give two shots, he never seemed to be in trouble, playing a very steady round to win the match 4&3 to give St Austell the lead 3½– 2½.
Then our Category 1 golfers entered the competition with Gary Hooper giving 2 shots to his China Fleet opponent. Gary was behind for the majority of the match, but he pulled it back to all square going down the 17th. Then the golfing gods played their parts… Having both driven the centre of the fairway, Gary’s second was half yard short of being the perfect shot and caught the top of the bunker. His opponent’s second shot was heading right of the green, then smashed into a tree and bounced the ball back into the same bunker. The China Fleet player then chipped to within a foot and Gary unfortunately missed his longer putt. Gary tried his hardest to win the last but unfortunately it wasn’t to be, losing by 2 holes. The match was now tied again at 3½ – 3½.
Eighth out was Brian Osborne who was up against the youngest China Fleet player, and ninth out was Chris Bailey.
Brian was up throughout his match unlike Chris, who although playing well could not over come his opponent who had an exceptional round and won 3&2. China Fleet has snuck into the lead 3½ – 4½.
The pressure then fell Onto Brian’s large shoulders, as he had to win his match to move into a play off position.
Being two up with two to play, Brian was in a great position. On the 17th, both players hit the fairway. China Fleets approach was short whilst Brian pulled his to the right, leaving a tricky 3rd shot into the green. The young China Fleet player took advantage putting his 3rd next to the hole, as Brian unfortunately fell short. 1 up with 1 to play…
Once again the golfing gods intervened as both players drove straight into the trees on the 18th. Both players then chipped out with China Fleet finding the fairway, and Brian the semi rough. Unfortunately Brian’s third went left of the fairway and into trouble. China Fleet took advantage and held on to win the hole, halving the match, which resulted in their overall win 5 -4. for a half which meant they won overall 4- 5.
Good luck to China Fleet in the next round and for St Austell, there is always next year!