Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Muhley holds his nerve to secure Reading and District league title

HENLEY had the edge to secure to run out winners of the Reading and District

HENLEY had the edge to secure to run out winners of the Reading and District League knockout final against Calcot Park at Sand Martins Golf Club.

The format of the competition is four matchplay contests played off scratch, being two singles matches, followed by two foursomes matches. If the match score was tied, the final foursomes match continues on and plays sudden-death extra holes until a winner is found.

First up was Martyn Metcalfe who found himself two down after two but by the turn the game was back to all square as the Henley player ground his opponent Darren Gatward. The back nine saw Metcalfe take control of the match, having gone one up at the 10th with a birdie and two up with a par at 11. Although Gatward fought back to be one down on the 16th tee, Metcalfe won 16 with another birdie and 17, to seal a three and one victory.

Next up was Marcus Lovelock who was in good form. Missing only one green all day, the Henley scratch knockout champion was three under par for the first seven holes he played which gave him a commanding three-up lead that he never looked like surrendering. Further birdies at 10 and 12 left his opponent five down with six to play, and two more pars were good enough to secure a five and four victory and leave him five under par for the 14 holes played.

Alan Wilson and Ian Heggie were Henley’s first foursomes pairing. The duo started strongly over the first seven holes with some solid ball striking. Opponents James Darvill and Jeff Turnbull were equally solid early on, but were undone by a three putt on the fifth hole and when they failed to get up and down at six they found themselves two down.

A rare chipping error and poor drive from Heggie at eight and nine respectively sent the match back to all square. A birdie at 12 gave Calcot the edge and a bogey on 15 sent them two down. Pushing too hard on the difficult par five 16 saw Henley surrender the match, finishing three and two losers.

In the final game Marcel Petrie and Pete Muhley took on George Wilson and Charlie Guest from Calcot. The Henley pair found themselves behind from early on but they showed resilience and despite going three down around the turn battled back to be only one down standing on the par five 16th tee.

A bunker off the tee led to a six for the Henley duo, whilst the Calcot pair plotted their way safely to a par five, and a two-up lead. Henley needed to win the last two to halve the match and secure the cup, and when Guest from Calcot put his tee shot into the water on the par three 17th, the door looked open. With all players from both teams congregated around the 17th tee, Muhley found the water too. Calcot eventually conceded the hole, winning the match and leaving the contest all square overall.

At the extra holes Muhley showed composure to plant the tee-shot at one down the right side, catching the edge of the heavier rough. Next up Guest also found the right side, this time in the semi-rough only a couple of yards closer. Petrie produced a good recovery shot, hitting his rescue to the left greenside bunker. Wilson followed this with a shot to the right greenside bunker.

After Muhley had put his bunker shot to 15 feet, Guest succumbed to the pressure, leaving his bunker shot in the trap and up against the face. Wilson could only advance the ball to the edge of the green, and when Calcot chipped to seven feet, Henley had two putts for it. But there was still a twist left as Petrie prodded the first putt three feet past the hole. Wilson rolled in the seven-footer for a six, and Muhley was left with a three-footer for the match. Holding his nerve he found the bottom of the cup and Henley had won the trophy for the second time in three years.

Henley finished third in Division 1 in the Reading and District Scratch League. Henley had put up a decent challenge for the title, finally being undone in the penultimate game at home to a strong Goring side, losing two of the three fourball matches in tight contests, which saw Goring secure the title.

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