Udon Thani v Khon Kaen Challenge


Udon Golf reversed their 2012 loss to Khon Kaen with a 21/9 Victory last week to win the 2013 KK/UT Challenge at Singha Park. Last year our Udon Team had been down 10/0 after the first day Pairs, but this year following a substantial build up and practice we reversed that totally recording 5 wins, to be 10/0 up after the first day at Ubolrat.Gary Parks and Harry Farquhar certainly in winning their pairs over Khon Kaen’s Pro John Brown gave Udon a great psychological boost which carried over to the Singles the next day at Singha Park. It was pleasing though to see how committed our whole team were, and focused with the task ahead. We were determined not to let Khon Kaen get a sniff of a win as had happened to us in the Pairs white wash in 2012. I had felt pre the commencement that a 2-3 Pairs win were possible but to win the 5 pairs was redemption for last year’s disappointing start.

Unfortunately in the evening we had hoped to get both teams together socially, but with some of the KK players living out of town only Trevor Edge and Stacy Barham were able to join us for our Dinner at Di Dine Restaurant.

Pleasing that our team did not need any reminders to present themselves in good condition the next day at Singha. My KK counterpart Mick Collins and I negotiated on the manner in which we paired players off at Singha Pk pre our Singles commencement. I decided that my priority was to be more focussed on the respective form of our players than their handicaps. I believe this helped our cause as the matches evolved.It was vitally important we did not just target on getting the extra 6 points required to win the Challenge but moreso on winning every game. To that end each player regardless of their opponent played their heart out in not wanting to let the team down.

Bob Strutt suffering from a bad hip and giving his opponent many years was valiant in defeat to John Brown, Khon Kaens Pro. <> Harry Farquhar following on from his magnificent form in the Pairs withstood a fair degree of pressure to come up trumps over Tim Seitz. Harry is a far better player in Match play than his handicap suggests and displayed this in his determined win in the singles. <> Gary Parks who made a late return to playing this year showed his grit in holding off a tough Gene Coffman who made Gary fight to the end to snare his victory. <> Graham Firth who has been in top form went down narrowly to big hitting Dr Ken which was a credible effort. <> John Cooke who lamented his putting was all square with Mick Collins which at least gave us a point. <> John Ward showing once again that he is more than capable of playing to a very low double figure handicap won easily over big hitting Lee Panter. 81 off the stick was outstanding and gave his 14 handicapper opponent no chance.John Mc Morris and I opposed to Toppy Fahey and Gary Taylor had to pull out all stops to finally come out on top at the last couple of holes. I must comment that regardless of the result here the company of our two opponents was great and it was a pleasure to compete with them. <> Frank Lynch and John Furlong gave their all but fell short against Stacy Barham and Trevor Edge who has been our nemesis the past 2 years. At least this year though Trevor had not been a determining factor in the overall result as he was last year.

John McMorris and I were in the last group as we headed down the 18th with our result confirmed. It was somewhat eery unlike the previous year as there were no players hanging over the balcony enquiring as to how the matches had resolved. The excitement in 2012 was not there so one guessed we had perhaps sneaked it or had won convincingly with such a subdued atmosphere.

The atmosphere was slightly subdued in the Dining area where we all congregated for the Presentation and social get together. After recording all the results it turned out we had won 5 Singles and all square in another for our additional 11 points. Khon Kaen won the other four Singles resulting in our 21/9 Victory for Udon Golf.

Mick Collins presented the Challenge Trophy and congratulated me for our team’s great effort. Mick was gracious in defeat and is a genuine good sport, it was a pleasure to be involved in co-organizing the event and competing with him. As often occurs a Victory is often more a relief than jubilation and certainly the Singha post game area atmosphere reflected that. Overall the Challenge was played in good spirit but as in most situations we can always improve in some areas which I am sure we will endeavour to do in 2014.

Udon had some outstanding efforts from individuals and in two cases i.e. Harry Farquhar and John Ward recorded scores far better than their current handicaps. John Ward has threatened his handicap for months but I’m sure Harrys experience on the Scottish Links courses and the Match play format brought the best out in him.

We did our best to prepare for the Challenge even though getting all the members out to practice the format had not been possible. The focus however the core group had developed and the emphasis on Team I believe helped us get the win.

When we commenced Selection this year there were five players of lower handicaps who would have made our Team but circumstances resulted in them not being available. Then at the last moment our Lowest Handicapper Cliff Saveall unfortunately had to withdraw.

The fact we prevailed in spite of this was testimony to my belief that we still had a team with the experience and ability to bring their best for two days. This year we had five different players than in 2012, next year it maybe the same, such is the situation with our older brigade. Regardless of who puts their hand up to be selected if future teams give as our 2013 team gave us, then we will always be in with a chance.

Singha Pk as with Ubolrat is these days as much our home base as it is the Khon Kaen groups. Complements to Mick who has always though played the role as the home host well as his predecessor Alan did.

Trevor Edge proposed a toast for the memory of Khon Kaen stalwart and co-organizer Alan Griffith who sadly passed away earlier in the year. A classy man, Alan was instrumental in initiating the annual event with me, and becoming the winning Captain of the inaugural KK/UT Challenge.

Terry Aston

Captain / Organizer