The Annual Tournament was held at Royal Porthcawl GC from 28th May to 1st June 2019. In a very close final Robert Dyson (10) beat Lizzie White (11) on the 18th hole. The Captain’s Report on the final and the full Roll of Honour are available here:
Roll of Honour
|Robert Dyson (10) beat Lizzie White (11) – 1 up|
|HHJ Hetherington (12) and HH Jeremy Carey (17) – 34 points|
|HHJ Bromilow (4) and HH Hayward – 33 points|
|Pauline Hollis Plate|
|Jeff Widdup and Jackie McKay – 33 points|
|Robert Dyson (10) and Andrew Buchan (23) – 35 points|
The Captain’s Report on the Final of the 2019 Annual Tournament
A game played by the sea in the sun concluded on the 18th, with a short putt sliding past the hole. It was a sad end to one of the best finals in recent years. Never more than one hole in it, Robert Dyson (10) and Lizzie White (11) played some extraordinary golf – each holding their nerve as the other piled on the pressure. Monster putts, birdies, big hitting – this was a fitting conclusion to the happiest of Bar Golfing Society weeks on the coast at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.
Each had eased through their semi-final with minimum fuss, Robert beating Michael Stephens three and two and Lizzie beating Thomas Brudenell four and three; and, at 12.45pm on 1st June, after a convivial lunch in the clubhouse, the finalists teed off – the gallery at this stage comprising the Hon Captain, the Hon Secretary, Diana Dyson and Mark Shaw QC. There had been some talk of Mark being allowed to do some trolley-pulling but his audition in the morning had not gone well and, very wisely, Lizzie decided not to risk it.
The first was duly halved in five, Robert’s approach teetering on the brink before deciding against falling back into the sand. The second went to Robert: Lizzie was up against the fringe at the back in three but took three more to get down and Robert’s steady five proved enough. Lizzie’s response was to par the 3rd, with an excellent chip from the back of the green and a testing 3½ footer which she calmly disposed of.
The 4th is a tricky par three with a long, sloping green. Robert went right and chipped on. Lizzie’s drive was a good one but with the pin at the back, she was left with a 40 foot putt up the hill. Both having missed their par putt, the hole was halved and they made their way onto the 5th, a long par five that arcs left and upwards into the dunes. It was here that the gallery caught its first glimpse on the horizon of two figures recently emerged from lunch, the Hon President and Jonathan Waite QC. It is a mark of their dedication (and love of exercise) that they waited until the match was on the furthest reaches of the course before joining us. Or perhaps that’s just when the claret ran out.
The 5th was halved in five, with Lizzie holing a brave 4-footer to get down in two from just off the green. At the 6th, our Asst Sec was receiving one of her four shots. Just off the green in two, she putted dead – leaving Robert a putt for birdie to halve. Robert’s 165-yard approach had been a majestic one to about 8 feet but his putt missed on the low side and so Lizzie strode to the 7th – a short par three in the far corner of the course – one up. Robert’s response was a superb tee shot to 4 feet. Lizzie was long and, unable to get down in two, conceded Robert’s putt for a birdie. Robert had played the first seven holes in two over par; and yet the match was all square.
The 8th – another dog leg left – provided another examination of Lizzie’s resilience: Both off the green in three, Robert struck his putt firmly towards the hole. Too firmly. But it was straight. Very straight. And when it smacked into the pin, it dropped. Robert apologised, Lizzie sighed and, when her chip missed the hole, they laughed and moved onto the 9th tee – the group waiting at the half way hut (which included an old friend of Robert’s and the BBC commentator, Maureen Madill) now knowing what Bar Golf was all about.
The 9th was halved in five with Lizzie unfortunate that her chip on from the right-hand side of the green failed to take the break – leaving her a tricky putt for a win. She quickly made amends on the 10th: Robert hit yet another imperious drive and was within 6 feet in two. Lizzie then canned her 40-footer for a birdie and Robert was unable to follow suit, his putt shaving the hole but not dropping. More laughter; and the match was back to all square.
By then, the gallery’s composition had changed. Very happily, the Mckays and Furnesses had supplemented its ranks . Likewise Michael Stephens, beaten semi-finalist. And, showing Sherpa-like qualities, Waite was still with us. The Hon President, on the other hand, had accessed the Dark Web and obtained an alternative course planner – ‘Short Cuts at Royal Porthcawl – The Way to Stay Ahead’. And so by the time the gallery reached the 11th green, the Hon President was already there – reclining, resplendently, feet up, on a large wooden bench dreaming of sedan-chair rides back to the clubhouse. As he did so, Lizzie and Robert halved the 11th in four and then it was onto the 12th, another shot hole for Lizzie. An excellent Lizzie drive and a long 3-wood was followed by a pushed approach into the gorse – itself quickly followed by a ‘reload’ with the same outcome.
Although she found the first of these, Lizzie could only chip out sideways and, with Robert having pitched out onto the green, the hole was conceded and Robert returned to one up. The 13th took us back towards the sea. Robert found a bare lie in two and chipped well onto the green but Lizzie’s nerveless 12-footer secured a par and brought the match back to all square again.
With Lizzie unlucky to find sand at the short 14th and Robert driving into the brambles on the left at the 15th, the match moved to the 16th delicately balanced. Robert’s driver delivered the goods once more and he then hit a majestic 3-wood up the hill and into the wind. Lizzie having thinned her third over the back, Robert returned to one up. Inevitably, Lizzie struck back at the 17th – Robert squirting his chip long and conceding the hole with Lizzie having two putts from relatively short range.
All square on the 18th tee, then. Dyson had been playing some of the best golf of his life. Lizzie’s golf had been superb – the odd poor shot cancelled out by her tenacity and calmness under pressure. The 18th has seen many great moments in golf – from Tiger’s errant pulled approach in the Walker Cup to Chris Stephenson’s equally errant pulled approach on the Friday morning. One up with one to play against Brudenell, he was to lose on the 19th. Whatever happened to Tiger Woods?
Standing on the 18th tee, Dyson surveyed the fairway. A past club champion, a member for many years, the son of a past Captain – there’s no blade of Royal Porthcawl grass with which he’s unfamiliar; and his sweetly-struck 3-wood split the fairway.
Lizzie had not felt particularly well on the Saturday morning; and, as Guy Williams was keen for all to know, it had been she who had shouldered the burden of managing the week –liaising with the wonderful staff at Royal Porthcawl, telling people when the dinner was, explaining why their Captain’s Prize partners had changed and so on. She had carried all of this off with assured charm; and she was not going to be put off by yet another cleanly hit Dyson Drive. In what was probably the key moment in the match, though, her tee shot just trickled into the rough and, whilst Robert had a fairly straightforward chip onto the front of the green, Lizzie’s lie meant she had little control over how the ball came out. The answer was straight, but a little long: Whilst Robert had left himself a 15-footer for birdie, Lizzie’s ball was at least 60 foot away from the pin, at the far end of the green.
Her putt was a good one and ended up about 12 feet shy. Down in two would give Robert a realistic chance of the trophy. But, down-hill and downwind, and worried about sending the ball past the hole and down onto the next tier, Robert left his cosied putt 6 feet short – leaving Lizzie with one of those perennial Bar Golf conundrums: Make sure you don’t two putt – in the hope your opponent misses? Or, assuming they’ll hole it, go for it? Characteristically (and rightly), she chose the latter – with the result that her putt ended up 4 feet past and, needless to say, Robert missed his 6-footer for the match.
Golf is an odd game. 18 holes. 3-hours of competitive golf played in the very best of spirits. The Hon Captain close-by, standing with the Hon Sec. Stephens, Waite, the Mckays, the Furnesses – all looking on. Mrs Dyson standing with the Hon President. Shaw by the side of the green, with fingers crossed. And it all came down to a 4-footer which Lizzie needed to take the match down the 19th. Measured by who had been ahead more often, Robert deserved to win. Measured by sheer courage and strength of mind, the match was surely Lizzie’s. But, for once, her smooth stroke deserted her and her putt slid past. Suddenly, the match was over; and, with the sun glistening on the sea as its backdrop, the 18th had delivered its result. The Society’s congratulations to them both, and to Brudenell and Stephens. Club-willing, we will return to Royal Porthcawl soon.