As the summer approaches 3 Men in a Bunker decided it was time to set up the game and introduce some friendly competition into our player and I use the term “friendly” loosely!
Over the next few weeks (once I’m back from Oz) we will continue to play a variety of formats and then review them to see the pros and cons for the amateur golfer.
The first event of the series was a simple 2 v 2 match play. Clifton-Bowley and Froome quickly paired up which left the Gozzett & me to form a winning partnership. Handicaps were combined and reduced to three quarter, giving us 8 shots to play with.
The first round of tee shots didn’t go as expected as what seemed like a hurricane took effect on the ball flights. Once we all reached the green it was left for Neal (who decided he didn’t want to putt) to put his worldy chip smack bang in the cup, which gave Gozzett & Simpson and early lead.
Tee shots on the second didn’t fare much better although I got extremely lucky with a bouncing ball round the bunker and finishing plumb in the middle of the fair way but it didn’t do much good as I blocked the pitch and couldn’t recover leaving it all down to my team mate who was about 5 yards away. Matt and Paul both made their way to the green knowing that it wasn’t going to take much to level the match.
Back to all square the match stayed close for the next few holes with Matt and Paul taking the third, Neal and I taking the fourth, Matt and Paul the fifth and Neal and I the sixth. Leaving us all square again going down the seventh.
Holes seven and eight both ended all square with some clean striking from Paul while Matt was too busy abusing Neal to concentrate on his pre-shot routines! After a team hug we took the 9th (with our shot) and kept it at 1 up on the 10th. A shortened hole, temp green, endless amounts of casual water and gale force wind behind meant he 11th provided some entertainment. Froome went 60 yards long, Matt went slightly short left, Neal went slightly short right and me, well I hit casual water and the ball was (as Neal put it ‘got sucked in like some fanny sucking in cock’). Matt took the honour from his team with and excellent second but unfortunately was unable to convert the putt for an excellent three. That left Neal the chance to put us 2 up, and he duly obliged with another worldy chip which left a 4 footer for par.
The 12th gave us another shot and from Neal and I’s tee shots we were going to need it. Neal put his first OB left and I sliced mine so short and left it landed on the 7th green. Matt and Paul both played consistent sensible golf and make 5 and 4 which meant I had to scramble to keep us at 2up.
Down the 13th Paul hit a long drive which left him a good distance in for a birdie attempt but a pitch which seemed to get affect by the wind meant it allowed us to get back into contention. Paul made up and down for par and luckily so did I but albeit 1 shot back, knowing we had a shot in the bag.
The 14th didn’t see anything worth remembering apart from when it started to rain again! Although the 15th did provide something to write about. Paul gave the honour to Matt and Matt took it with both hands smashing his best drive of the day down the middle leaving him 10 yards short of the green. Following his lead Paul demolished the hole and ended up pin high with an eagle attempt which was easily converted although it did go in through the side door. Sadly, this did piss on Matt’s parade who also made a great birdie.
Knowing what we had to do being 1 up and 3 to play. A few little words of encouragement from each other as we walked to the 16th tee gave us more confidence in the fact we still had 1 shot in the bag down 18. Neal landed pin high but to the left which meant I could try and smash mine, and I did right into the side of the hill. Thinking is had been lost for ever, Matt knew exactly where it was, me thinking he was being kind and wanting to help find it. No, in fact he just wanted to film me making an arse of playing it! The phrase “dead inside comes to mind”. Neal mulled over his putt but left it short, Matt and Paul already both making 4 gave Neal the chance to win the hole and match. Just like Martin Kaymer he rolled it in to take the honours and the match.
The match finished 2&1 and finished with Neal (32 points) winning 9 of our holes, me (31 points) 6 and tying 3. Matt and Paul finished with Matt (36 points) winning 1 hole, Paul (39 points) winning 8 holes leaving 9 holes tied.
Team Gozzett & Simpson 1 Team Clifton-Bowley & Froome 0
2 Points for a match win
2 Points for first place in team (holes won)
1 Point for second place in team
0 points for a match loss
Name – Points
Neal Gozzett – 4
Stuart Simpson – 3
Paul Froome – 2
Matt Clifton-Bowley – 1