21st March 2010
Jurassic Encounter Adventure Golf, New Malden
Determined to bounce back straight away, I turned my attention to this year's Masters which had changed location from Southend to New Malden.
I'm not a fan of the Southend course, too random, too cramped and impossible to get any practice done beforehand due to the busyness of the site. So things were already looking up in my books!
I went for some practice the week beforehand to work on the most aceable holes and the holes where potential disaster could be avoided with a sound line. Hole 16 was identified as both, a straight volcano hole but quite steep and a long second shot if gone for and misses, but I just couldn't find a line I felt 100% confident with...I decided to play for a safe 2 on the day.
I had looked to get some friends involved seeing as this event was now near the centre of London. I sent a rallying call out to the honorable members of the PGA (Pukka Golf Association). This was met with a mixed response (and mild abuse from one...) but four brave souls stepped up to the challenge with the temptation of being crowned Top Novice too much to resist. These were PGA multiple Major winner and current P-Tour Masters champ Matthew Humphrey, Rhys Grant, Nicholas Brown and Ou Rong. They had decided on a night out on the tiles the night before our 8am pick-up time...
After successful deployment of the group on the morning of the event, I managed a good few practice holes and felt like two rounds of sub-36 were achievable.
The course with it's anamatronic dinosaurs and gurgling fountains was actually quite hard to get many aces each round - I set a target of a 33 average to have a chance of winning.
Away we went...safe 2's, a dropped shot and two aces to salvage a 35 in Round One - the leader's got 33. Rhys was leading the others on 38 (tied 3rd Novice), Matt 39, Ou 42 and Nick 44 - all to play for.
Round Two - another solid round with two dropped shots and three aces this time, with two clutch putts on the 17th and 18th to finish on another 35 - Tied 5th place with UK No.1 Chris 'Who' Harding. Andy Exall won the event with rounds of 34 & 32 (new course record). If only I had tried for the Ace on the 16th Volcano like Andy, if successful I would have possibly scored an average of 34 - Tied 2nd. Yet another lesson learnt - look for the aces and go for it! That's the difference between a good player and a top player. So you know what to expect from me in future!
Rhys fell away from the Novice prize with a 39 - 20th Place (5th Novice).
Matt with a 39 as well - 22nd Place (6th Novice).
Ou with a 39 too - 26th Place (7th Novice).
Nick with a better 43 - 33rd Place (12th Novice).
The cash prizes were handed out and the guys missed out on the top three Novice places but Matt managed 7 Aces winning him the Masters Aces Prize of £25! Git...
Rank Name R1 R2 Average Diff Tot
1 Andy EXALL 34 32* 33.0 2 66
2 Nick CHITTY 33 35 34.0 2 68
3 Michael SMITH (novice) 33 36 34.5 3 69
4 Brad SHEPHERD 36 33 34.5 3 69
5 Marc 'The Force' CHAPMAN 35 35 35.0 0 70
5 Chris HARDING 35 35 35.0 0 70
5 Richard SKEGGS (novice) 35 35 35.0 0 70
8 Scott LANCLEY 37 34 35.5 3 71
8 Steve GOW 35 36 35.5 1 71
8 Jo WILLIAMSON 35 36 35.5 1 71