Masters kept me on edge of seat

WHAT a Masters!

I don’t think I can remember a finish when so many different players could have won with just a few holes left to play and it kept me on the edge of my seat right to the end.

Charl Schwarzel proved a worthy winner, hitting some fantastic shots and holing crucial putts. My own favourite, Luke Donald, had another good week and with his accuracy he has got to be a good bet for the US Open the way the courses are set up for that.

Of course you have to feel desperately sorry for Rory McIlroy - I struggle to imagine what must have been going through his mind during that last round - but I’m sure that with his talent he will be back in that situation many more times and convert some of them into major wins. And doesn’t it make you want to get out and play at home?

It was juniors to the fore in the Midweek Medal on 6 April, with Kieran Noble and Michael Coates at the top of the leader-board with 67, Kieran winning with the better back nine.

Andy Pearson had 67, Jim Hall and Paul Mendelsohn 71, and Paul Ventress, Dave Weatherill, Mike Harper and Dave Upton 72.

Saturday’s competition was an Am-Am, played in teams of four with the best two scores to count on each hole. This is a format which often produces low scoring and Saturday was no exception, with three teams tied for first place on 14 under par!

With the best back nine, the team of Andy Smith, Alistair Lyth, Dave Batchelor and Les Spedding finished top of the pile, leaving Steve Ellis, Andy Pearson, Howard Drake and Peter Easton in second place and Bob Scott, Kevan Stuart, Martin Shackleton and Kieran Noble in third.

Things got serious on Sunday with the qualifying round for the President’s Putter, the leading 64 scores going through to the matchplay stages. With over 80 competitors no-one could afford too many mistakes if they wanted to qualify.

After a miserable winter’s golf, Andy Lawler is enjoying a resurgence and after a win in last week’s Greensome he managed it on his own this week with a 68.

Four players had 69, Mike Clarkson, Graham Robinson, Austin James and James Jewell, with Phil Mead and Steve Purvis on 70.

As the number one seed Andy Lawler must now play Mark Kerr, Mike Clarkson plays Mike Harper, Graham Robinson meets Dave Weatherill, Austin James plays Steve Dosdale and James Jewell has a far from easy match against Dave Upton.

Last year’s winner Dean Bennett must beat Morris Raine if he wants to have a chance of defending his title.

On Saturday (16 Apr), there is a Team Stableford, with the best three cards of the four giving the team total. Sunday sees the qualifying round for the Beckett Cup. There is no midweek competition as the greens are being spiked and top-dressed during the week and although the course remains open for play, conditions will not be ideal for a competition.

The Friday Swindle is being started up again, playing nine or 11 holes from 4pm on Friday evenings. The entry fee is £1 and there will be a two-hour long happy hour from 6pm to 8pm.

On Saturday 7 May, ladies captain Karen Marshall has organised a musical dinner to raise money for breast cancer research. Locally-based Danesgarth String Quartet, with Whitby golf pro Tony Mason as first violin, will provide background music during a three course dinner, then give a recital afterwards. Tickets are £22.50 and can be purchased from the bar.

Miss Jean Fairey won this week’s draw for £100 in the 200 Club.

Tony’s Tip of the Week: never, ever give up! The Masters showed yet again how rapidly things can turn around if you hang in there, and the same things can happen at club level.

If you let your shoulders slump and your chin drop onto your chest, not only do you give your opponent encouragement, but you have given up, quit, thrown in the towel. I’m not saying that if you keep going you will always win, but you will be pleasantly surprised how often you finish better than appeared likely.