First blog of the year, we have had a few months off since November, and I missed our first event in February so I’ve been a little slow on the motivation to get the year started.
So one event left in our first season of the NZ Mini Golf pro league, its a great warm up to the following weekend which is our 2nd ever NZ mini Golf open, being on the same course (or at least one of them) any competitive putting on the course will be a great lead in.
The plan for the day is shaping up to be a massive day, the last event isn’t starting until 2.30pm however first before we get into it we are having a qualifying for a pre NZ open Trans Tasman Cup against the Australians. The Trans Was cup will only be a team of 4 to go up against the big brother and local enemy Australia in a Ryder Cup type format that will include singles, best ball and 4 ball matches.
9 of us line up around 10.30 to play for these 4 spots. We will play 4 rounds (2 rounds on each course) to determine the final spots.
For me its just about being consistent sticking to my game plans for each hole, to make the final 4 would be great, it would be great to win this cup back from the the west islanders, and I already have the time of from work leading up to the open and getting to catch up with Dave from the Australian team who i spent a lot of good times playing with and getting to know in Croatia back in September. But back to the action after this rambling having been out of the writing for a couple of months.
The standard of play is at a high level which is great to see, the 9 previous events has definitely up’d everyones skill level. My first 3 rounds are steady nothing amazing but nothing terrible and heading into the final round I’m top two with a few shots up my sleeve.
Round 4 now this is a round I’d like to not repeat next weekend in the NZ Open, maybe lack of focus, complacency maybe I’m not sure, but I have some terrible holes early in the first nice and have 23 at the turn. Coming home I have a couple of aces in a row and narrowly miss the 3rd in a row on the 14th. Holes 15 thru 17 almost cost me a spot in the team. I got through these with two 4’s and a 3. I close out with a 45 and probably 5 to 6 shots off where I’d want to be.
We tally the scores, two a confirmed, John and Matt Ansley who will be joining Bobby and myself at this years WAGM, and there is a 3 way tie between James Astrop, Murray Cramp and myself for the final 2 spots. Its great to See Murray play so well and be in with a chance to make the team as he’s been one of the dedicated players over the last year. We move over to the 1st hole on the Safari Course, a very aceable hole and we will play this on repeat until we have the final 2. We all make 2 the first time through. The second time through James and myself make 2’s and Murray lips out for the ace but leaves a long second from the back wall. Unfortunately for him he pulls it slightly left which leaves James and myself as the final 2 to book our spots for Fridays Trans Was Cup. It got a lot close than I would have likes but by the skin of my teeth I got through.
After all the concentration for to try make those 4 spots the rest of the day (the final pro league event over 4 rounds on the safari course) seem very chilled and everyone is a little more relaxed. Having said that we’ve all been on the course since before 10am and we still have 4 rounds ahead of us. All I want to do for this last even is put myself in contention going into the last round. Its a little slow for these rounds as its a nice afternoon and the public are out in their masses, some playing in groups of 6 and taking photos, so we have to jump a few holes then come back to complete the missed holes. After the first three rounds I’m right where I want to be, rounds of 38, 37 and 38. I have a 3 shot lead going into the last round over Bobby Hart and 4 shots over mister consistent John Ansley, and being mister consistent means he takes out the first overall pro league champion title. The last round I drop a couple of shots mainly due to nerves, after the last few events being close to the lead into the last round and not converting I really wanted to hold on for the second win on the season. Playing 18 I knew I was in front of John but didn’t even take notice of how close Bobby was, if he had aced the last we would have gone to playoff holes, same as the last event when played on the same course which I ended up losing on the third hole. Thankfully I held on for the 1 shot win.
It was a long day and and barring the one shocking 45 in the last round of the qualifying for the trans tas cup it was a solid warm up for the NZ open next weekend. Now being back in in the writing mode I should be able to get something out after next weekends Trans Was Cup and NZ Open. Its going to be a big year in mini golf and I’m looking forward to the challenge.