Many thanks to all that made the COVID Cup a success. A bit of competitive ‘fun’ in a turbulent year.
Congratulations to Andy Williams and Stephen Bailey for a fantastically competitive final. A report was emailed to all who took part but is attached below for anyone else who is interested.
What a match the final turned out to be. Andy Williams against Stephen Bailey, the last survivors in the 2020 COVID Cup. The spectators expected and, as the game progressed, demanded drama and that is precisely what we were given.
Our esteemed President was on hand and our Captain sent the combatants into battle with van heater warmed pork pies and we were served up a real treat. Stephen birdied the first with consummate ease and Andy’s par was just average. Stephen followed up with a par on the second and he was two up before we had chance to draw breath. Nev and Daz decided that business was to be done at American Golf and departed for some retail therapy leaving the remaining half of the ‘crowd’ to follow two pars up Panorama. Unfortunately for Stephen this was the first hole that he had to give Andy a shot so he finishes hole three 1up.
Onto the Khyber and Andy didn’t need to rely on his shot as he parred to Stephen’s five and we are back to all square. The Lake hole is halved in fives and we are up the sixth, Stephen puts a three wood to within a few yards of the green gets a par and is one ahead again. It’s a tricky tee shot to the seventh, straight into a strengthening wind and both are well short. Stephen’s second is a thing of class and spins to within a foot of the hole and he’s back to two up again.
Not great tee shots from either player approaching the eighth but Andy gets down in two and he’s only 1 Down. Both players get fours on the 9th but in totally different ways and we walk to the 10th with Andy 1 Down although no we don’t because I had forgotten that Andy gets a shot on Stroke Index 6 and the match is all square!
I reckon that Stephen went out in gross 36 and Andy 39 – great play from both of them, worthy of a final.
The second nine begins and both players are determined to allow the other the chance of winning the hole by less than standard putting. It ends with a half (Andy 7 net 6 against Stephen 6). Andy’s tee shot goes well left on the eleventh pushed by the wind, Stephen pars and he is leading once again. Up Panorama for the second time and Andy is struggling, his second catches the fir tree and his third is next to the wall. Meanwhile Stephen is watching quietly just off the green in two, he chips on has a straight ‘forwardish’ putt for a four and ends up with a five. Andy eventually holes for a six but with a shot on the hole escapes with a half and is still 1 Down.
The Khyber is expertly halved in fours. The Lake hole, second time around. Stephen goes left but his second is safely to the back of the green. Andy goes right and his second is short and his third rolls off the side of the green – disaster and Stephen is now two up with four to play.
The Rocks is halved in fours but that doesn’t really tell the story, Stephen drove to the smaller greenside bunker and as it was marked as GUR had a simple drop out and a good birdie chance. Stephen’s second ended up being well short and Andy was pleased to walk off with a half.
2 Down with 3 to play Andy needed a good tee shot, Stephen was short and left but Andy to within 1 foot, a two and Stephen’s lead was cut to 1 with 2 to play.
Onto the 17th and two good tee shots, the gallery was starting to swell as news of the struggle reached the WhatsApp group. Stephen was on the front edge and Andy just off the right hand side. Stephen’s putt missed by a whisker and a three was conceded. Andy’s second and, at this point I thought that the match was over, went well past by 10 to 12 feet. With exceptional courage and fortitude Andy holed the return putt to go up the last 1 down.
So, onto the last and please remember Andy gets a shot allowance. Andy’s drive is left and ends up near the little tree on the downslope towards the clubhouse but not in any real trouble. Stephen goes longer but his ball takes the slope and rolls down the first/tenth fairway. Andy, with a big blow of his cheeks, chips onto the green. Meanwhile Stephen under the critical view of some visiting Play More Golf players mishits his chip. His third is beautifully into the heart of the green. All Andy needs to do is roll his ball close to the hole (a four net three will win him the hole and tie the match). Andy’s putt is woefully short leaving him with a four footer, Stephen holes out for a four so Andy…………………..
Holes out to win the hole and take us into a sudden death playoff.
Down the first – Chris Cheetham rushes off to make sure the visiting party clears out of the way. Andy goes slightly left and is in the dip. Stephen goes right and is blocked out by the trees around the second. Andy’s second is good but short off the green. Stephen plays an 8 iron safely into the middle of the fairway. Andy chips on to the back of the green whilst Stephen chips onto the front. Stephens putt is long and up the hill but ends up well short. Andy putts from the back of the green and is near enough and he is safely in for a par five. Stephen needs to hole a 12 footer to take us further but it slides past and Andy is the winner. The throng of spectators (now seven strong) give a solid round of applause for both players.
What a match, well played to both of you. Golf and the friendships it creates, the camaraderie and kindness shown by everyone were the true winners because, believe me, no one deserved to lose this match!
Thank you all for your support during this turbulent year, thanks to all those who have contributed by providing match reports and to those (I have to mention Bruce Fowler here) who got their matches organised and played by whatever means they could!
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