Monday, 17 September 2012

May Hughes pips Ruth to the Post.

Ruth Brown of Lothianburn who won the East Vets Championship last weekend was narrowly beaten in the final of the Scottish Veteran Ladies' Championship at Blairgowrie Lansdowne today.  She lost on the seventeenth hole to May Hughes of Lanark. 

Ruth had been disappointed to learn that her opponent in the first round, Jill Harrison from North Division, had had to withdraw owing to a last minute work commitment.  She proceeded therefore to the semifinals where she met Liz Campbell of Borders who has been a winner of the Scroggie Cup twice before.  They were ideally matched both having an excellent short-game and the game was very tight,  with an exciting exchange of holes won and lost.  Ruth however built up a gradual lead and went into the seventeenth hole two up with two to go, winning at that hole.

In the other semi-final May was playing fellow Scottish Vet Anne Ryan from the Highland Division.  Anne went into an early lead and was three up by the sixth hole.  She picked up her ball by accident thinking it was on the green, drew attention to this fact herself and declared the hole lost.  This seemed to upset her rythmn slightly and over the next few holes her drives were not quite so good, catching the rough on either side.  The rough on the Lansdowne is generally of a heathery nature or some other tenacious plant life which is unwilling to release its prey without some penalty.  This inevitably led to an extra shot being squandered and consequent loss of hole.  In no time at all her three hole lead had reversed to a two hole deficit.  The changed scoreline gave May that boost she was needing  and she played with more confidence, taking the game to a 3 and 1 result in her favour and an appointment with Ruth in the afternoon.

And so to the final.  Whereas the morning had been bright and largely warm, the afternoon was a different kettle of fish.  The sun disappeared, the wind got up and may indeed have changed slightly in its direction. The clouds loomed large and threatening.

The game started with a half at the first hole where Ruth's second and third shots were a little odd but she had a pitch to die for, which was conceded.  The second hole, unfortunately like many of the others, did not see the balls on the green, leading to a half in a bogey.  Lansdowne is one of these courses where a straight or at least correctly positioned drive is essential, otherwise the trees and heather come into play, resulting in maybe lots of halved holes but rather a lot of dropped shots.  The scoreline remained all square till the short fifth where Ruth was fractionally short and May, hitting her ball well but with one club too many, leaving her with a downhill putt.  Ruth put hers dead for a par three but May three-putted allowing Ruth to slip into the lead.  She took three to get to the next hole to May's two but surprisingly May again three putted allowing her to halve the sixth.  Another half in five at the seventh where Ruth had yet another beautiful approach.  A ten-foot saving putt on the eighth by Ruth ensured another half.  Again halves at the tenth and eleventh, sadly in bogeys.  By now the weather had deteriorated and the rain brought a rather lacklustre look to some of the shots, with mistakes by one being echoed by the other, almost in an effort to ensure further halved holes!.

Ruth was still one up going into the twelfth.  May's drive went into the right-hand trees, one of which gave it a helping hand back on to the fairway where Ruth's ball was sitting quite innocently.  Not content with this exploration into the undergrowth, May tried again this time into the special heather regenerating area from which there was a free drop.  Ruth sent a corker on to the green.  May was rather blocked off from the pin by a solitary tree which she tried to ignore but which caught her ball.  From the base of this tree May sent a lovely chip to the pin but Ruth put her putt dead and went two up.  A short-lived lead, as May took the next two with pars.  All square.  The fifteenth was not a good hole for either but May won it with a five to a six and was up for the first time.  There is no saying how the players felt at this point but the majority of the small audience  was by now, rather cold and wet.  The sixteenth went May's way, dormie two and getting a par on the seventeeth was all she needed to clinch the Scoggie Cup, for the first time.  Bad luck Ruth.  Up till the fifttenth there was absolutely nothing between the players and it could definitely have gone either way.

. Please go to the West Vets site tomorrow where Carol Fell will be exhibiting some of her pictures.        

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Ruth Brown wins East Vets Championship

                                                           East Vets Champion 2012

The East Vets Championship certainly took a long time in getting played but it was well worth the wait!   When the River Tyne broke its banks flooding the lower holes at Haddington, away back in June was it?  the golf course was closed to play.  This delayed the earlier rounds of the championship considerably, but they were eventually played with Ruth the winner in the semis over Rosie Dennis  and Sue Penman beating Anne Hanson. All that remained was to find a mutually agreeable date for the final and with Blairgowrie and the Scroggie Cup  very imminent - next week in actual fact - fingers were crossed nothing would go wrong. Today it was accomplished, and Ruth has emerged a very worthy victor beating Sue on the eighteenth hole, after a most exciting match.

What a final!

Ruth started a winning streak by running her second shot of the first hole on to the green and up the little slope, to pin high.   Sue had gone through the green and had a nasty downhill chip which didn't come off.  One up to Ruth.  The next two holes were halved in par.  The dreaded fourth where the ball always seems to run endlessly down the left to right sloping green - it was made to look easy by Sue who had a good par to Ruth's bogey.  All square.  Ruth chipped dead at the fifth to win the hole after Sue had driven into a bunker.  The sixth was then played beautifully by Ruth who had a birdie 3.  Now two up!

Both were to the left of the short eighth.   Ruth putted dead for her par but Sue chipped in for a birdie two!   Both bogeyed the ninth into the wind but Sue played the tenth well and won it with a four.    All square.  The eleventh was conceded to Sue for a birdie four.  Now she was one up.  The damage that the flooding had caused two months previously was now all too obvious with areas in the fairways on the next few holes quite dead.  Not all were made ground under repair, but our finalists were adamant that relief would be given should it be necessary.  It is interesting to note, however that grass will still keep growing above a temperature of four degrees so there is plenty of time for some recovery- a small snippet for your enlightenment supplied by S. Penman while she was waiting to play!

The match had ground to almost a complete halt at this point, having caught up with a couple of (ssh, men) in front.  They routinely persisted in waiting till the game in front of them had cleared for miles even when this distance was considerably in excess of their capabilities - possibly hoping for a Tiger Woods day.

The twelfth was halved in fives but the thirteenth also went Sue's way and again she was conceded a birdie four.  A complete reversal of fortunes and now she was two up. The fourteenth was halved but uncharacteristically, Sue three putted the fifteenth.  Ruth saved her par by holing a good putt.  Only one hole in it.  With all its lovely trees, including a Wellingtonia (never noticed before) the sixteenth hole  always requires such a tight second shot.  Both our ladies caught the green very nicely but Ruth was that bit closer.  Whereas Sue putted dead for her par, Ruth sank her putt for a birdie three and, liking the feeling so much, proceeded to birdie the seventeenth as well.  Back to back birdies if you please giving Ruth the advantage of being  one up going into the eighteenth hole.  A half was all that was needed and so now Ruth will represent the East Vets Division at Blairgowrie next week in the Scroggie Cup.  Bad luck Sue, but you know you played well.  Well done Ruth and good luck next week.