Competition: Tennent Cup

Date: April 28

Course Conditions: Not bad, poor greens

Weather Conditions: Sunny, quite breezy

On the plane down to London this Monday I sat beside a rather large man who coughed and spluttered for the entire journey. I knew I would catch a cold from him so I made my distaste clear by shaking my head and tutting every time he reached for his hanky.

On Wednesday morning I felt the first scrapings of a sore throat so I began a Lemsip based assault. That very morning I saw on the news that the Class A drug Crystal Meth can be relatively easily extracted from Lemsip. This convinced me of its power and I began taking them with increased determination. Unfortunately I, and my army of painkillers, lost the virus war and I?ve spent the last couple of days with a runny nose and a sore head. Damn that fat man.

So I wasn?t in tip-top physical shape for the Tennent Cup and my expectations were low. It came as a great surprise that I was hitting the ball brilliantly. My phantom slice has disappeared and I barely missed a green. If only I could putt. In my Scotty Cameron?s defence the greens were difficult: highly inconsistent in terms of speed and even more bumpy than usual. Other than a complete fluke that rolled in from off the green on the 15th, I missed pretty much everything. I gave myself three birdie chances of less than five feet and missed them all and I missed a par putt from two feet on the 17th. The fact I still got round in +1 (70) shows how well I was playing from tee to green.

CSS was 68 again so my nett 67 was good enough for a 0.1 cut. It?s a seminal moment as I?m down to 2.9: the first time I?ve ever been 2 point something. In a heady moment of self-belief I?m raising the bar with regards my aim for the season. It was to get my HC down to 2, now I?m thinking I?d like to half it. I started at 3.6 so I?ll endeavour to get to 1.8.

I think I found putting so difficult as earlier in the week I played two courses where the greens were stunningly good. On Monday we were at Bearwood Lakes for an HSBC panellists day. The Golf Monthly staff, a group of our senior course panellists and a selection of golf club secretaries gathered for a stableford competition around the picturesque Berkshire track. I couldn?t really concentrate on good golf because I was too irritated about probably catching a cold, but I did notice the quality of the USGA spec putting surfaces. Then, on Thursday, I enjoyed a game at Bruntsfield in Edinburgh: A beautiful parkland course that’s immaculately maintained. The greens there were incredibly true and I holed some great putts in a very pleasant round of -1.

Dad was disappointed that he didn?t receive a mention for his superlative efforts in the Cancer Relief Stableford last week. I keep on telling him this is my blog and not his. Anyway, he played very well, scored a gross 73 and was cut to 8. This week he displayed some admirable battling to recover from a poor start and play exactly to handicap.

One of the best things about the Tennent Cup is that every competitor gets a free pint of Tennents Lager after the round. Most people didn?t realise this and it cheered many downhearted souls who would otherwise have had a very depressing day.