For the first time in Team League history, knockout golf was played under the lights at Urban Golf. With the concern of league positions now a distant memory it was interesting to see the change in strategy from the sides as any mistake could have fatal consequences. Going into the semi-final Stevies Wonders stood out as glaring favourites following an imperious league campaign and titles they have won.
Standing in their way were the unpredictable YGT ‘B’, who on the surface of things may not offer up great resistance to their decorated opponents. However, as with all teams stepping off the Your Golf Travel production line, they possessed a monster driver of the ball and at the very least had a punchers chance of landing a knockout blow. As if to silence all of the critics, YGT birdied the first 3 holes to set their stall out. Against any other opponent, they would have expected to have a useful lead, but against Stevie’s Wonders they found themselves one behind – trumped by a birdie, eagle, birdie start.
The Wonders captain Gorgeous Gary Tarrant had already chipped in for the eagle, and very nearly repeated the trick from 100 yards on the 13th as his side showed no intention of stepping off the birdie train. With little choice but to keep making birdies, YGT turned in their most complete performance to date, carding 7 birdies in their round. Remarkably this wasn’t even close to being enough against Stevie who only briefly stepped off the birdie express to change trains at par junction, before returning to their standard practice of recording sub-par scores.
Undoubtedly, the most worrying thing for all teams in the league is the alarming news that Tony “Boss of the” Moss did not have to call on his putter even once in the round! That’s right, Gorgeous Gary and Clapping Clyde put on their very own putting exhibition that would have made Jordan Spieth wince! It seems that the only hope for Stevie’s next opponents is that they may have either used up all of their good putting, or that Tony’s putting may be a little rusty having not been called on for several weeks – any which way, it’s going to be a big ask to beat these titans of team golf.
Meeting for the first time CGMB and Bruin The Hole were playing for the dubious privilege of taking on Stevie’s Wonders. As with previous weeks, Bruin got off to a sluggish start as they waited for the loosening effects of the beer to kick in. Not ones to miss a trick, the Flower boys took full advantage by birdieing two of the first three holes, each of which winning the hole. At this point CGMB looked in full control of their game and seemed set for a nice early finish. A moment of re-assessment was required when Bruin holed from down town on the 13th green to sneak an unlikely win and reduce the deficit to just one hole. This was a make or break moment in the match and added an increased importance to what occurred around the 14th green.
Faced with a makeable birdie chip, Bruin caved in the face of the pressure as each player displayed some highly entertaining short-game pyrotechnics and conspired to miss the green from 10 yards. This was just the fillip that CGMB needed to calm their nerves. Gaining the win on this hole, their progress was assured when Sonny poured in a testing birdie putt on the penultimate green.
This was a highly contrasting game to the first semi-final, and highlighted the gulf in class between Stevie’s Wonders and the rest. CGMB are certainly capable of putting Stevie under pressure, but they will need their very best to cause the upset that few experts are predicting.