Last Tuesday saw Duncan Stott (2 h’cap) and Dan Smart (h’cap 5) take on the might of Lincoln Boulton (8) and Mick Matthews (8) over 18 holes to determine the winners of this seasons Challenge Foursomes. Lincoln and Mick were to receive 5 shots over the alternate shots format.
Having played in many Pro/Captain Challenge matches this year, which were played in a very friendly atmosphere, I have to say that this final was just about as competitive as you could get with neither player asking, or giving anything in order to win this year’s title. Having said that the sportsmanship and the respect for the opponents were there for everyone to see in what was going to be a keenly fought contest. All of the players were on the practice area prior to the 1st tee shot, a sight not seen for the monthly medals.
The 1st hole was halved in par 4s and the 2nd saw Duncan being asked to hole from 3 feet to secure a win on the 2nd. The 3rd was Lincoln and Mick’s first “shot hole” and when Mick holed out positively from 12 feet for a nett 4 it looked odds on that the score would not change. However Duncan holed a tricky downhiller for a birdie 3 to make it 2 up after 3. What a start!!
Dan put his tee shot on the 4th in the bunker whilst Lincoln hit the green. This was enough to reduce the deficit to 1 down but this was handed straight back on the very next hole after suffering “tree trouble” on the right hand side of the 5th fairway.
More “tree trouble” was experienced on the 6th but Lincoln and Mick managed an excellent par from a difficult position. Unfortunately this was not enough because a combination of Dan’s chip and Duncan’s 5 foot put resulted in another birdie to move 3 up after 6 holes.
The 7th was halved in par 3s and with the 8th conceded by the Duncan/Dan partnership the score was back down to 2 up. This was the result of Mick playing one of the best “shots of the day” when he hit Lincoln’s drive from 179 yards to within 15 feet of the pin with his trusty 5 wood. The 9th was again halved in par 3s after Mick was asked to hole out from 3 feet. (I told you that nothing was being given in this hard fought match). Score Duncan/Dan 2 up at the turn.
The 10th was an obvious hole for Duncan and Dan to further increase their lead due to the prodigious distances that both of them are able to hit the ball. Lincoln’s drive found the trees on the right and from there it was always going to be difficult. A few minutes later the hole was conceded and the scoreboard moved on to 3 up after 10. At this point it was imperative that the Lincoln/Mick pairing won the next hole to reduce the deficit to give themselves a chance of getting back into the match. Unfortunately Mick’s tee shot resulted in more “tree trouble” but this time it was Lincoln’s turn to extricate his team from a tough situation. All he managed to do was to chip it into the front bunker and with Dan 12 feet above the hole a 2 putt moved them even further ahead to 4 up only 7 holes left to play.
Both pairings successfully holed from 4 feet for a hard fought half on the 12th before going to the 13th where after 2 bunkered tee shots, bogey 4s were the outcome. Duncan and Dan were 4 up with 5 to play in an unassailable lead. Or were they??
On the 14th Dan put his entry into the “Shot of the Day” competition. It was a massive, straight drive which left Duncan an 80 yard sand wedge to the flag. A par 4 was guaranteed and Lincoln and Mick had to conjure something up now! Mick hit a fantastic shot off a tough downhill lie but it ran off the back of the green. Lincoln only managed to chip it to 12 feet and Mick failed to hole it for the win. However it had ran 4 feet past so Lincoln was now being asked to hole out to stay in the match. A miss and the match would be over....................he holed it..........dead centre. Dormy 4!!
Lincoln and Mick were to receive another shot on the 15th which they used well, and managed to force a concession from their opponents without the need to putt out. This was after Mick played yet another great shot from the fairway bunker on the 15th to 20 feet. Score 3 up with 3 to play.
The 16th was another hole which, on paper, was going to favour the bigger hitters however after Mick holed out from 20 feet for a birdie 4 the deficit was reduced to 2 with 2 to play. All to play for when you bear in mind that Lincoln and Mick would receive their final shot on the 18th if they could just manage to win the 17th hole. Mick’s drive left Lincoln a difficult stance to play his shot into the green and this contributed to a poor result leaving Mick some 75 yards short of the flag. He was facing defeat but hit a wedge to 3 feet to give themselves a great chance of a par 4. Duncan’s drive had managed to avoid serious trouble but Dan hit it too well and it ran just off the green to leave Duncan a tricky chip shot. The resulting 12 foot putt was narrowly missed by Dan leaving the stage to Lincoln to take the match up the 18th (with a shot). The putt was firmly hit but did not break into the hole and the match was finally over. The winners of the 2014 Challenge Foursomes were Duncan Stott and Dan Smart by a margin of 2&1.
“As Club Captain I would like to pass on my congratulations to the winners and my commiserations to the runners up. It was a great final to watch and a game played in the spirit that it should be played in. Thanks for the entertainment guys”.