Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Buchanan Cup victory at third time of asking for golf pair

THE final and the consolation of this year’s Buchanan Cup open competition at Minehead and West Somerset Golf Club was the culmination of knock-out rounds held over a period of eight weeks.
Brian Waites, a member of the 1983 European Ryder Cup team, and partner Gordon Whalley, a past Captain of the club, won through to the final to meet Vivary Park Golf Club professional Dave Hawker and his partner Mark Pavey, landlord of the Vivary Arms, in Taunton.
It was the third year in a row that the Minehead pairing had contested the final in this prestigious competition, and the fourth final for Whalley, with victory previously eluding him.
However, after two year’s of settling for the Greens Tankard runner-up spot, they scored a well-deserved victory to finally lift the Buchanan Cup.
It was a tough day for golf, strong easterly winds made it very cold but at least dry.
Waites and Whalley went one up at the first with a birdie from the former Ryder Cup star and then found themselves two up after the third when Whalley won the hole using his shot allowance.
The Vivary pair fought back immediately with Pavey securing a par on the tough par three fourth.
Indeed, it was like that for much of the front nine, with only two holes being halved and all players contributing to the match.
At the turn, it was the Minehead pair who still held a two-hole lead.
The back nine began with the Vivary pair taking the 10th hole with a par.
One up remained the score until the 13th, when the hole was won by Waites with a birdie three.
Two up to the Minehead pair lasted just one hole as Pavey took the 14th with a birdie two of his own.
The match was levelled again on the 16th when Hawker chipped in brilliantly from off the green to secure a birdie for the Vivary pair.
All square with two holes to play, it took nerves of steel and more magic from Waites, who played a magnificent approach shot to the 17th which stopped close to the hole.
The putt was conceded for another birdie three to leave the Minehead pair requiring only a half on the par three 18th to secure the cup for the first time.
The Minehead pair teed-off first with Whalley’s ball ending up to the left of the green and Waites on the front of it.
The Vivary pair played next with one falling way short of the green and the other well off to the right, fortunately missing the unplayable sand dune.
The first of the Vivary pair made his approach shot to the green leaving the ball well away from the hole.
Whalley was next to play onto the green and his shot ended well short leaving a not-so-certain par put.
The second Vivary player played a chip and run again leaving an uncertain par put.
It was left again to Waites, who, with his steady and assured style, rolled the ball perfectly to the edge of the hole.
With no chance of a win, the Vivary pair graciously conceded and the victory went to Waits and Whalley.
The match was played in an excellent spirit and on the day the Minehead pair had the better of the luck.
They were never down in the match and perhaps third time lucky was the order of the day for them.
Their better ball score was a four under 67.
During his acceptance speech, an emotional Gordon Whalley thanked his opponents for a great match and paid tribute to the superb condition of the course, a sentiment echoed by all the competitors on the day.
The third and fourth play-off was won by K. Cridge and M. Newman, from Vivary Park, who beat N. Grabham and D. Hill.
Twenty-two pairs competed in the Consolation and the result was: 1st: K Babb & W Brown (42 points) on the back nine from 2nd: J Fisher & A Hardick (42 points), 3rd: D Neale & R Neale (40 points). Report by Gerry Mason.

  • Our photographs show TOP - Buchanan Cup winners Gordon Walley (left) and Brian Waites (right) receiving the trophy from club Captain Denis Compton; BELOW - club Captain Denis Compton (centre) with losing finalists and winners of the Greens Tankard, Dave Hawker and Mark Pavey. Photos submitted.

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