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No ballooning for Old Reliable

Hot air balloons flying over the second green on Monthly Medal day 2024

Monthly Medal day, stroke, tees up the back, there was a bit of fear about the possibility of ballooning scores when 17 players stepped up on the tee for the first day of 2024 winter golf at Royal Ivanhoe.

And looking through the cards, forget today’s birdie count (9) the big number today was 7 (or worse).

Overall there were 34 scores of 7 or worse, that’s an average of two per player!

In fact only two players in the field had a card without a 7 or worse. Porks was one and the other bloke you can probably guess. Hint: Old Reliable.

If there was a contest for the most interesting 7, Matty’s effort on the 8th would be a contender. Less than a metre off the green in two, he somehow managed to shank the chip and finish up closer to the fence than the green. Apparently the after shot vibe was more embarrassed chuckles and wry smiles than swearing and cursing. The next chip from near the fence lobbed up nicely to 4-5 feet, from where Matt managed to take 3 putts, including one “tap back” miss from what was reported to be 2 inches.

Harry’s 8 on the 17th might even beat Matt’s effort thanks to quick thinking SoS jumping on the photo opportunity. Drive left, hack out, third left of the green in the long grass.

Harry with a wry smile and grass on his hat after taking a big swing and a miss in the long grass on the 17th
For my next trick!

For his fourth Harry managed an airy, hitting plenty of grass (some of which ended up on his hat) but not hitting the ball. Another chip and 3 putts later for the 8.

SoS was marking Harry’s card and also managed an 8 there and standing on the 18th tee both Harry and SoS had a chance for the magical cricket score off the stick.

Both managed a 4 up the last to finish just shy of the magic number. Harry matched Ashton Agar’s debut innings (1st Ashes test of 2013) and SoS went one better to match Shane Warne’s best test score, which was against New Zealand in Perth in the third test of the 2001 series.

Honourable mentions to Targe for his 12 on the 6th and Charlie for his 8 on the 14th, which involved making a par with his third ball after his first two were lost in “Charlie’s second bush” in snake country in front of the tee.

Raj only had one lost ball on his way to a 7 on the 15th. Earlier, on the 11th, Raj had this week’s “nearly eagle.” After a well struck drive somehow managed to float through all the trees down the left hand side, Raj’s pitch from about 40 metres out was perfectly struck with his sand-iron and was running towards the hole before it stopped on the lip. One more roll and it was in.

Stan had his fair share of 7’s today and was in no danger of shooting his age (a feat both him and Harry have achieved in recent years). The new target for Stan is now 84, having celebrated a birthday during the week. Targe, as mentioned in last week’s blog, also had a big recent birthday (75) and we might have missed Gordo’s the previous week. His number still has a 6 in front of it, but only just.

In and amongst all these big numbers, Craig is officially back to his Old Reliable self. His net 66 today had him all smiles at the presentation as a 2-stroke winner of the Monthly Medal. He also won the “Inside” medal.

Craig all smiles at the presentation for the June 2024 Monthly Medal
Old Reliable is all smiles, “just consistent golf”

Asked for his highlights for the blog, Craig said “nothing really, just consistent golf.” His playing partners nodded and said “Yep that pretty much sums up Craig’s day.”

So everybody watch out, Old Reliable is back in town!

Adam took on Porks in the Matchplay today, with Porks having to give 8 shots on handicap difference.

All square after 5, Adam utilised one his strokes to edge ahead on the 6th and kept his nose in front all day. Porks could sense he was a chance to get back in the match on the 14th when Adam duffed two chips a row but then he chipped the next one in for an unlikely par.

Adam then made the most of his last stroke of the day to win the 16th and the match 3 and 2. Two nice pars down 17 and 18 saw Adam sign for a net 68, good enough for equal second with Michael whose 70 off the stick included a 7 on the 9th. Unlike Matty and Harry, Michael was not reported to be doing any wry smiling at the time.

Bobby did a bit of his own Old Reliable impression today with solid golf throughout to finish on net 71 and solo third.

Brendon shrugged off a poor started including a 7 at the second to regroup with a back nine 36 off the stick and a net 72 for fourth place.

Sharing 5th was Chrispy and Porks with a net 73, with Steve, Prez Priems and Dan, despite all having their struggles, only just missing the points.

Today’s money hole was the 7th and with the tee at the back it was no surprise to see Jack Pot triumph again. On the 15th, Adam won the nearest the pin ball while on the 18th, Brendon was confident of the win before Old Reliable knocked him off to claim the 18th ball for the second week running.

Today’s most spectacular birdie came from Chrispy on the 14th. Once again, the course had lots of funky pin placements, with the 14th much closer to the front than usual and on (even by the 14th’s usual standards) a very severe slope.

Anybody putting their second shot beyond the pin could expect that three putts were more likely than two. No such problems for CJ though. From the very back of the green about 50 feet away, he hit the perfect putt and it did the big right to left curl and gently rolled in for a birdie.

The scream of delight was heard around most of the course and is obviously up there with Gene Sarazen’s 4 wood into the 15th on Sunday at the 1935 Masters that is known as “the shot that was heard around the world.”

As it happens, Prez Priems was the other scorer of a birdie on the treacherous 14th today. In his case, it involved a drive down the actual 14th fairway (not the usual excursion via the 16th fairway) a wedge to 3 feet (an actual proper golf club not the chipper) and a putt straight in the middle.

Results for Saturday, 01 Jun 2024
1st Craig Cameron (66) 2nd Michael Gourlay (68) 2nd Adam King (68) 3rd Bob McDonald (71) 4th Brendon Mitchell (72) 5th Ryan Porker (73) 5th Chris Priems (73)

Seniors Results: 1st Craig Cameron (66) 2nd Michael Gourlay (68) 3rd Bob McDonald (71)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 7th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 15th Adam King BallPin No 2 – 18th Craig Cameron