Robin Hood Golf Club once again hosted the final of The Bainbridge Shield on Saturday which saw Olton take on Harborne over the 36 hole final.
The Bainbridge Shield is a foursomes matchplay knockout tournament which starts in the Spring each year with around 60 pairs. Then by the time Autumn arrives we hope to have our finalists. This year our finalists were the pairing of Joe Macilwraith and Nick Brooker from Olton Golf Club and Max Martin and Steven Keay from Haborne Golf Club.
Both teams are strong pairings and we were in for a good final.
The first round started steadily with both teams attempting to overpower the course with the first hole being reduced to a drive and a chip. The back to back par 5’s on the sixth and seventh holes was where the power off the tee from Harbornes Steve Keay came into full force meaning Max Martin had to hit only a 7iron into the 482 yard 6thhole. This set up a putt for eagle close enough to be conceded. The Harborne side followed that up with a drive from Max right out of the top drawer in some very difficult windy conditions. Unfortunately for Olton their drive hit some trouble and then their 2ndshot got stuck up a tree and didn’t come down leading to another concession.
Olton then hit back with a good par on the 8thto go back to 1 down although Harborne then changed up a gear and went on to win the 10th11thand 12thholes with a par and two birdies. The birdie two on the 11thbeing a highlight. The wind and rain was gusting in waves straight across the hole but Max hit a fantastic tee shot pin high with a solid putt from Steve to convert the birdie.
After a couple more holes changed hands either way Harborne took a 5 hole lead at lunch.
It is important to note that throughout this time Joe and Nick were still playing some solid golf but putts they would have liked to convert just slipped by and when they got into trouble their direct route was blocked out. On the other hand, Max and Steve played some great golf but it’s fair to say that they did have a little bit of lady luck on their side as when they did miss fairways they benefited from still having clear routes through the trees.
Lunch at Robin Hood is always good and this day was no different, with quantity as well as quality meaning many of us failed to clear our plates!
After starting round two Olton were fast out of the blocks with a birdie on the 2ndand 3 pars cut their deficit back to 3 down. The 4thhole however did feel a possible turning point for the match with both teams within birdie range in two shots on the tricky 454 yard par 4, Harborne missing their birdie chance and Olton, closer to the hole, had another putt slide so close by the hole. The hole was halved but it was a great chance for Olton to keep the pressure on.
The wind played havoc most of the day and the short par three 5thwas no different with Joe’s tee shot holding up against the wind rather than drifting over to the flag like it did earlier in the day. Max’s tee shot did move and finished close enough for Steve to convert the birdie to take them back to 4up.
Power off the tee helped again on the next hole where Olton made a solid par but Harborne followed up with another birdie to return their lead to five.
Again Olton not to be outdone, dug deep and parred the 8thand 9thagainst bogeys from the opposition to claw it back to 3 down until the 11thhole which was still playing very tough and a bogey from Harborne being good enough for a win and back to four.
A great birdie on the 32ndhole from Harborne sealed the victory 5&4.
The final was played in great spirits and fantastic to see so many spectators from Harborne supporting their team. After the last putts were holed on the final green emotions were clear to see on how much it meant to the players and to those watching.
Harborne did manage to overpower parts of the course and hence were strongest on the par 5’s by being 4 under par over these holes.
Harborne were celebrating their 125thAnniversary on Saturday with a large dinner, after their performance Max and Steve had an extra piece of silverware to take along to celebrate with the rest of their Club.
Well played Joe and Nick and commiserations. But you still were one of two teams to reach the final out of 60, so its not all bad!
Congratulations to Max and Steve – 2018 Bainbridge Shield Champions!
Thank you also to Robin Hood Golf Club for allowing us to hold the final at your Club. It is very much appreciated from the Union and the players and I know they enjoyed the condition of your course.