The match play masters was played in fine weather with a gentle southerly breeze between Ian and Leroy with Bas and Leigh playing as spectators.
Both players had massive expectations coming into the match, but they were soon shattered when the nerves took a hold on the first tee with both Leroy and Ian shanking their drives into the scrub on the left! The theme for the day was the player who spent the least time in the trees snatched the points! Given this disturbing theme it’s no surprise to hear that match play finalists were outplayed by the spectators, but to put this into context the spectators didn’t have the added pressure of the southern match play masters and a potential move to world #1 ranking their shoulders 😉
Both played into the trees on the left (Ian ended up under a tree on the right) but Leroy got the job with an amazing approach while Ian found the bunker. Leroy +1
Ian went waaay right and had to take his second drive, while Leroys second shot ended up near the 5th green… Leroy +1
Both had acceptable drives, with Ian ending up a touch right, while Leroy just managed to clear the hazard, but Ian missed the required putt… Leroy +1
Off the tee Leroy looked to have it in the bag with his first smoking fairway hit, but his second failed to deliver while Ians second was only just short of the green. Even
While Leroy took the high road and Ian took the low, Leroy got swallowed by the sand monster in the rough. Ian +1
From here, Ian pulled out an odd tactic and hit a few tee shots short and along the ground – but almost onto the fairway far enough to get close to the green with the next shot. This proved to be the winning move, as Leroy kept finding the trees/sand.
Ian had a grubber drive while Leroy found the sandy rough, it was all looking pretty even until Leroy put his approach onto or near the 1st hole which proved the difference. Ian +2
Ian not only had a grubber drive but a grubber second and third… Leroy coater up the right hand side but stayed right and ended in the deep bunker. Ian +2
Always a tricky little par 3… Leroy went to the rough on the left while Ian hit an ugly skinny fade to end up only a couple meters short of the green, a bit of luck proved the difference. Ian +3
The 9th was always going to be a big hole, with this the only whole where Ian got a shot on Leroy. We both went blow for blow the whole way, ended up even and therefore Ian took the points. Ian +4
Wow ! Leroy’s drive smashed us all and he had the approach to go with it, picking up his first par of the day, Ian simply had nothing! Ian +3
BAM! Leroy centre of the green while Ian left his drive short, back to back pars for Leroy. Ian +2
At this stage there was a bit of talk around the group that Leroy had found his swing and the match was really starting to heat up which made for some more nervous tee shots on the 12th.
Ian was back to his grubbers and got a nice kick off the path to find his first fairway of the day! Leroy kept his drive a little right which saw the end of him for the hole… Leroys took several attempts to get out of the rough, hitting some of the cleanest shots of the afternoon but they kept finding the wood work… Ian +3
With the game in the balance, Ian pulled out his biggest drive of the match, while Leroy still had a solid start just a touch right. But it was the second shots that changed the hole. Ian +4
Leroy showed he was not going to lay down, he smashed the drive, then the second shot which set him up for an easy win as Ian crumbled under the pressure and had a dismal hole ! Ian +3
With the door being left ajar, Leroy went for it and put a bit too much into his drive with a high skyball going rather right. While Ian cracked one with a slight fade up the middle, only to lob his second shot right into the bunker… But Leroy got caught out with an unplayable lie from his drive handing the Hole and retaining the title to Ian +4 & 3, and also picking up the number 1 ranking.
The back nine actually ended up even by the 18th, with 3 holes to each player and 3 all square in the end, so it was Ian’s winning move in the second quarter that created the victory.
On the side there was a stableford comp going, with the finalists reaching a combined score of 43 points (Ian 23, Leroy 20.
Oddly enough though – with all the time spent in the trees Leroy didn’t lose a ball? And Ian’s damage was limited to just the one.
A big shout out to bas and Leigh for the during game commentary and their ball spotting skills !
Here’s your back to back MM Champ and new World Number One!