The Seniors Matchplay Champion was decided at Sutton Coldfield Golf Club on Tuesday 23rd. This 18 hole match was played between David Mason from Moor Hall Golf Club and Mike Calvert from Walmley Golf Club. Both players reached the final after first qualifying by finishing in the top 8 of the Warwickshire Seniors Strokeplay Championship and then won their first two matches in the knockout stages.
With both our finalists holding a handicap of 1 it was looking like it was going to be a tight match, although David had other ideas by driving the 1st green and taking two putts for a birdie quickly took a 1 hole lead. Shortly following this up on the 2nd with a solid iron into the heart of the green where par was enough to move to 2up.
For those of you that know Sutton Coldfield you will know that starting at the 5th hole there lies a string of par 5’s, three in a row to be exact, all of which require position of the tee and careful negotiation of bunkers and sloping greens. The first par 5 was taken by David taking him to 3 up after a good birdie, the second was a birdie from Mike thanks to an amazing up and down to win the hole after a miscalculation by David who caught the bunker short of the green. The third in this stretch of holes was then halved with par’s.
The 8th is in relative terms to the five holes directly before it quite short, but positioning being the key to get easy access to the green. Mike, hitting out of the rough unfortunately flew the green and to add insult to injury was penalised 1 shot by moving his ball accidentally in searching for it (thank fully this rule is due to change come January 2019 in the new rules). David also missing the green made a very good up and down to make par and go back to 3 up.
At the turn David stood at 1 under par for the course with Mike not far behind. The par 4 10th hole proved alittle tricky for Mike as he was forced to play back down the hole after his ball was found at the base of a tree and making a 5 against David’s 4 for the score to move to 4 holes.
With the quality and experience of Mikes golf it was only a matter of time until we saw a fight back and a perfect drive down the 12th hole it set him up with an easy par and reduce the deficit to 3 holes. Nothing changed on the next hole where a superb drive by Mike that reached the front fringes of the green and another par secured the hole to get the match back to 2.
David however may not have read the same script as a good putt for birdie on the par 5 14th was good enough for him to go back to 3 up with 4 to play. But just like all good movies there was still some action left with both players suffering on the very tough par 3 15th hole by finding the cavernous greenside bunker. Mike came out of it least effected by making a good bogey with all things considered and reduced the deficit back again to 2.
With another good drive Mike was able to take control of the 16th hole and another 4 reduced the score to only 1 hole with two to play. The Calvert cavalry had well and truly been summoned!
Two regulation pars on the short 17th hole moved them to the final hole. At 410 yards uphill and against a cold wind the 18th hole wasn’t going to be easy for either of them. After a discussion with his wife and Caddy Zara about Club selection David opted for a Club that finished short of the green however with Mike blocked out by trees on the right hand side Mike was forced to hit it high meaning it took the full force of the wind, stalled and finished up short aswell. With both players taking three shots each to finish the hole the Championship was awarded to David Mason winning by a single hole over Mike Calvert.
The match was played in good spirits and some good quality golf. Both players enjoyed the match and were glad to have finished battle. Congratulations David and commiserations Mike.
Our thanks go to all at Sutton Coldfield for hosting the match for us, it is very much appreciated.