As league 2 reached its midway point, most eyes were firmly fixed on the horizon and the mouth-watering fixture between WK J Choi and The Minster Swingers next week, with both looking likely to be putting their 100% record on the line.
Confidence can do strange things to teams however, and so it seems can the lack of it! Having been turned over last week to continue their winless streak I Like Big Putts will have come into this week devoid of confidence and less than hopeful of getting a result against the an effervescent WK J Choi who had both eyes firmly fixed on The Minster Swingers next week. They say that complacency can be the biggest enemy of any competitor in sport, and there was no doubt as to the levels f confidence running through the Choi camp as they easily birdied the opening hole to gain an early advantage.
Fully expecting to coast home from there on in, Choi’s elation was checked by a brace of birdies from Putts that their carefree play was unable to match. Putts continued to press and maintained a narrow lead until a loose bogey levelled the match on the 6th. With just three holes to play the script was written for the confident Choi to capitalise on the disappointment of Putts and coast home to victory. Well, it appears that nothing is guaranteed in this league as Putts pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a triple birdie finish over some challenging holes, that was to prove the beating of Choi. As the sides shook hands on the final green there was a stunned silence among the badly dressed gallery, whose dreams of a Choi v Swingers supermatch next week lay in tatters alongside a badly damaged rake that Captain Dallender had recently ended.
Unaware of the story emerging next door, the ever-focussed Minster Swingers weren’t in the mood to be duped by the seemingly relaxed attitude of the Aspen Amigos. With the security of a second bottle of red on its way, The Amigos appeared settled in their approach and duly delivered an opening birdie to gain the upper hand on The Swingers whose well-publicised alcohol free policy was being so blatantly challenged. The Swingers are a game outfit, and responded immediately with a birdie of their own, which in the finest traditions of team golf was returned straight back on the 3rd.
This was developing into an absorbing contest as it reached the halfway mark with Amigos still holding the one hole lead. This was quickly eradicated by another Swinger birdie on the 6th before all hell broke loose on the 7th hole. With both sides on the green it looked likely to be a half with the odds favouring Amigos as The Swingers faced an 86 foot putt which would take all of their skill to get down in two strokes. Terry Wogan. Michael Phelps. Justin Leonard. Constantino Rocca. All would have blushed at the scenes as the putt rattled into the back of the cup and disappeared at a rate of knots.
It was to be a decisive blow which proved terminal as the Amigos, now shells of their former selves, played out the final two holes unable to produce the counter of such a blow. A highly entertaining game, could have easily gone the other way and may prove to be a pivotal moment in the season as Minster Swingers are now firm favourites to land a title that could well have been out of reach but for that magical 86 footer.
With hysteria all about, it was easy to neglect the plight of The Arnie Palmies who will doubtless be throwing their hat into the ring as title contenders despite their humbling defeat last week at the hands of Choi. This week they took advantage of an Alan Pitchmarsh whose confidence had taken a nosedive after a second successive defeat. Remarkably, Pitchmarsh came into the match having never won so much as a solitary hole – this looked unlikely to change as Arnie combined long putts, booming drives and Pitchmarshe’ inability to hole a putt from even 7 feet.
Big Al proved himself to be made of stern stuff as he contrived to win the 6th hole and open the possibility of taking this to the wire! Alas, the blue touch paper remained intact as the comeback was snuffed out by a brace of birdies that saw Arnie home safely. Arnie will doubtless harbour thoughts of claiming the league, but with a far superior holes difference, The Minster Swingers will prove tough to derail.