Despite two teams being in the running for the title in Smithfield’s league 2, the focus was very much on whether Dude, Where’s my Par could secure the win that would guarantee the title and ensure promotion to the big time. That said, the other teams on show did draw plenty of attention as there was a real end of season atmosphere at Royal Smithfield.
Leading the festivities, as ever, were GTA Zeebras whose bright attire, flat caps and joie de vivre have lit up the league all season. With plenty of goodwill on show between them and their Arnie’s Army opposition there was something of a love in going on – even after the Zeebras gave their best barracking to Arnie’s musclebound long-driving freak. This was perhaps the standout performance from the Zeebras who, despite coming out on the wrong side of defeat, capped a memorable season in which they have won many an adoring fan. It may be worth The Beamers looking over their shoulders!
Coming a close second to the Zeebras in the popularity stakes this season are the UV Eagles, who have approached the game in the UG spirit, with beer very much an integral part of their game. Their game against the inconsistent Boston Tee Party was like a Test match, such was the intensity (ant length). With little to play for, it was inevitable that the competitive juices may be running a little dry, along with the birdies. Almost inevitably the game ended in a draw as the Tee Party sunk a 15 footer on the final green to secure a share of the spoils.
The big question of the night remained whether the young Dude’s could find the mental fortitude to capture the vital victory required. The Princess & his Paupers have built a reputation as a team of feast or famine as they mix remarkable victories with desperate losses and as such were probably the last team the Dude’s would have wanted to face in a win-at-all-costs fixture.
The Princess and his Paupers signalled their intent with a lusty 320 yard drive off the 1st tee by the notorious Belfast Bomber. This looked like it was going to be a tasty affair as the relative spaciousness of the TPC Louisiana course suited The Paupers far more than last week’s Harbour Town.
Managing to calm some early nerves, Dude Where’s my Par countered the big-hitting play of their opponents with some deft iron play and creative shot-making. An early eagle saw the champions-in-waiting into an early lead that they looked comfortable with. Two drives dispatched into the drink on 16 were calmly overcome as their anchor-man drove a beauty straight down the middle to the sanctuary of the fairway and helped to maintain their lead.
The game arrived at the final hole with just the single hole separating the sides and an anxious looking Arnie’s Army team looking on and hoping for a slip. The Belfast Bomber’s power had the potential to make a mockery of the long par 5 hole, but having failed to live up to the build-up, his side were left to lay-up next to the Dude’s within pitching distance of the hole.
Looking in from the outside it seemed as if all the pressure were on The Paupers as they stood quivering like autumn leaves with wedges in their clammy mitts, unable to propel the ball anywhere near the hole. With the pressure now seemingly off, the young Dude’s did enough to get aboard the green and give the opposition first look at the putt. As each putt stayed above ground, the sense of excitant grew, until finally the 3rd putt missed and gave way to a volcano of joy among the Dude’s and their faithful support.
A team that started the season as an ill-suited rabble of golfing misfits, had managed to forge an unbreakable bond and the perfect elixir for producing a relentless flow of birdies. Perhaps it was fitting that they were called “Dude, Where’s my Par” as so rare was it that they failed to record a birdie. Kudos to the newly crowned champions. Bask in the glory, for next season will be a tough one against some of the more haggard and wily opponents that team golf has to offer. Hopefully this young, fresh brand of fearless golf may go some way to making the game more glamorous.
Competitions: UG Team League Smithfield