Traditionally it will take two or three weeks of a league campaign to get a feel for the quality of the teams, giving the disruptive nature of the off-season. After Minster Swingers were given free reign last week, we were certainly none the wiser and a visit to the UG bookies informed us that they were none the wiser. Nevertheless, The Swingers this week bore the look of a side who knew something very special – a certain swagger, some might call it arrogance even – it’s a look that had become the hallmark of The Beamers, who now look back upon those days with great affection.
Determined to knock them off their perch, Alan Pitchmarsh and his hardy band of greenkeepers arrived on the tee with a determined look on their youthful faces, intent on opening their account in the league. Determination soon gave way to hope as the Swingers nonchalantly opened up with a birdie that was to instigate a steady flow. While Pitchmarsh wasn’t far off troubling the Swingers, there was a certain lack of sharpness that comes with having taken a plethora of abuse and witnessed the likes of A-Team holing putts from various postcodes.
The Swingers played out a four-hole win in the end thanks to a five birdie flurry, and will doubtless be overflowing with confidence standing on the 1st tee at Bay Harbour next Monday where they will share the course with Aspen Amigos.
The Amigos have very much embraced the spirit of the leagues, happily supping on red wine as they stroll around the course. With such a laid-back attitude, they couldn’t fail to enjoy the company of last week’s absentees I Like Big Putts. It was a virtual love-in during the first couple of holes as pars were exchanged in equal measure alongside complements about swings, knitwear and glasses. Pretty much the only thing not being exchanged in the early stages were bodily fluids!
The deadlock was finally broken by the Amigos, who were almost apologetic about making birdie to move ahead. The steady flow of pars and friendly banter continue until the game stood level on the final tee. As the politeness threatened to rise to sickening levels, Aspen Amigos found a ruthless streak from nowhere (or maybe from the bottom of a wine bottle). A fine drive was followed by a mercurial approach that offered up a straightforward chance for birdie that was duly converted to secure a maiden win and condemn Putts to the foot of the table.
Far from making up the numbers in this league, WK J Choi came into the season having spent big in the off-season and projecting huge optimism that they could contend in this most glamourous of leagues. The Arnie Palmies stood in their way with both sides putting their 100% record on the line in this game. The opening stages were somewhat cagey with neither side hitting the heights and finding their feet, before the game caught light with a smattering of birdies on the 3rd and 4th holes. These exchanges were edged slightly by Choi as they stood one hole to the good after 4 holes.
As Choi’s confidence bubbled up nicely, it began to seep from the Palmies and the gulf grew between the sides. Three unanswered birdies gave further credence to Choi’s title credentials and saw The Palmies suffer their first defeat of the season.
All eyes will now be fixed on the 6th February at TPC Scottsdale, when the title looks set to be decided between WK J Choi and The Minster Swingers, though much beer must flow before that time.