Reunification Cup, Lotus Hill Golf Club
Reunification Cup, Lotus Hill Golf Club04 Nov 2019
It seems getting ten golfers to China for a Saturday morning tee time is never simple and that’s the way the Cup started. With the start sheet in handicap order with lowest out first Jonny Brock and Terry Wright off at 1 and 2 for HKFC always had fate against them and as it turns out a desperately slow shuttle driver who treated our golfers to a leisurely drive around Zhuhai waterfront and a crawl down the expressway.
Barely time to dump the bags the lads were straight onto the first tee. Jonny responded well with a nice drive down the middle and Terry’s strong pull ……. well folks they are still looking for that one, through the tops of the trees and across the road! Easy to relax once the frantic dash to the 1st tee was completed both these experienced golfers settled into their work well with Jonny a very healthy 37 stableford points and Terry a creditable 35 after a pointless first hole in all senses of the word. The format of this competition is teams of ten golfers scoring individual stableford scores with the highest and lowest discarded and the remaining 8 becoming the team score.
With the rest of the team out in a more orderly/leisurely fashion in most cases good news flowed in off the course as the golfers returned. Debutant Ted Li bringing home 38 points was the highlight with solid 34 point efforts from JP Cuvelier and Nick Allen just topping the 33 points of Andrew Wood. With the golfers targeting at least 30 points there were a few disappointed golfers with 3 scores not reaching that mark but having our lowest score retained at a respectable 28 points it ensured we would come away with a solid total.
Golf gave way to rugby briefly as the team watched South Africa shatter England’s dreams of a Rugby World Cup title as the wheels well and truly fell off the Chariot and the golfing words of Owen Davis bizarrely seemed to mirror the difficulty England seemed to be having on our screen as he reflected on an unhappy round – “The harder I tried it seemed the harder it got!”
So it turned out that evening after totalling the team scores HKFC held a solid 21 point lead over Chinese Recreation Club (CRC) with 4 points back The American Club battling away with only 9 golfers and 15 points back to HK Country Club in 4th place.
Another solid performance surely could see the trophy back in the cabinet at Sports Road. What could possibly go wrong? Indeed, reflected the English.
Well just where do I start?
JP Cuvelier having slipped getting out of the shower Saturday evening was seemingly OK over the pool table later on but woke up with a shoulder that would not work. HKFC now faced with a 9 man team and no ability to drop the low score. Task now much more difficult but not impossible. Lots of news filtering through the course at crossover points of golfers not having a great day caused a little concern but a long way to go yet and much can happen.
Sunday’s round started on the 10th hole so the finishing hole was #9 with lots of water and an elevated green with big deep bunkers. 3rd toughest hole so everyone was getting a shot. Surely whatever happened before this point we could pick up some extra points on this last hole. Captain Wright walked off the last with zero points for the hole having been beaten by the bunker to be greeted by the news that both Jonny Brock and Ted Li before him had suffered similar fate. JP was next with the zero, he scored on each hole followed by Nick Allen who had a chance but missed the short putt to end the 9th with zero points as well. Next in the distance was the fluro green shorts of Andrew Wood in what now appears to be Sunday ritual driving too long into the water and taking relief to hit the next into the bunker and score 7 for zero points. It could have been an action replay of 2018 had we not changed our shirts this year. A sad end to a solid round of 34 which topped the scoring with Wright’s 34 also achieved with zero points on the 9th minutes earlier just by different means. So the fears that having only nine golfers would be very difficult proved no less of a challenge than the actual 9th hole itself. First six golfers all in with zero points. Anatole Le and Bill King managed to break the duck and finally score some points on 9 but could this lack of ability to score on the 9th hole prove fatal?
Lunch was taken while the scores were being tallied. The organising team CRC with their staff busily doing the sums. Then a few murmurs and then smiles from the CRC table – that can’t be a good sign. The numbers go up and the final result sees CRC with 483 points in first place to HKFC’s 480 points with The American Club in 3rd followed in by HK Country Club. Wow what a tight finish and a bit shattering to lose by such a small margin after leading comfortably on day one.
Oh what could so easily have been! Lots of golfers with scores they were disappointed in, including Owen who like the English rugby side had still not recovered his Mojo from Saturday. Playing with just nine golfers clearly didn’t help and of course that damn 9th hole. You can look for many reasons for not retaining the Reunification Cup but as usually happens in sports fixtures we just didn’t play well enough to win. Any one of our golfers could have scored the extra 3 points on Sunday we needed to retain the trophy (with the possible exception of “broken wing” JP) but the fact is we didn’t. Which is why we will be back next year to prove that we can.
Thanks to Lotus Hill for a well presented golf course.
Wright, Golf Captain
*Serious rumours have already started of an intensive 9th hole training camp for anyone wanting to be selected for next year’s team.