Encourage Shield Report

Round Four

The Coast GC played against our close neighbours Randwick GC at Woolooware.  As predicted, it turned out to be another close match, ending in a 3-all draw.

In reverse order this week, Patrick and Dhylan played in the No 1 and No 2 matches.  Patrick’s opponent was a 1-marker, filling in for the team.  Despite receiving 25 shots, 1-markers are usually consistent and ready to take advantage of any opportunity. Patrick fought hard, winning and halving several holes.  His round included the equal best shot of the day on the Par 3 9th, but unfortunately, he lost 6/5 this week.  Dhylan’s opponent was a girl playing off the same 27 handicap, but he needed to give her an extra shot on three holes (Par 5 for girls and Par 4 for boys).  The match was close for most of the day, but he found himself a couple of holes down with a few to play.  He showed great courage holing a clutch putt on the 16th to keep the match going.  In the end, he lost his match on the 17th.

Xabier and Jaxon played in the No 3 and No 4 matches.  Xabier continued his fine form this season, establishing a good lead on the front nine and building on the back. He made a great up and down from the bunker on his last hole to close out his match 6/5.  Jaxon had a tough match, giving one shot away to his opponent this week.  His approach shot to the Par 4 13th to 6-feet left his opponent gob smacked. Jaxon ran out of holes, going down on the 15th.

Archie and Ethan played in the No 5 and No 6 matches.  The pressure was on as we have not lost these positions all season.  All four players in the final matches were off 36 handicaps.  Archie started the match strong, taking an early lead.  He played well all day and was always in control, winning 5/4.  Eathan’s match was not so easy, falling a couple of holes behind early.  He eventually found some form and worked his way back into the match and went a couple shots ahead mid-way through the back nine.  Despite finding the penalty area on the 15th and needing a ruling from the team managers, he made a great up and down from the drop zone to close out his match 4/3 and secure a hard-earned draw for the team.

Next week, we play our final match of the season against Woolooware at Home, teeing off at 12:00 midday.  The kids are looking forward to playing a home match after 4 weeks on the road.

Round Three

The Coast GC played against the Cronulla Blue team at Randwick GC in Week 3.  All six players had handicaps within 2 shots of their opponents this week, some higher and some lower.  It is rare for the handicaps to be so evenly matched, so we expected it to be a close contest.

Catherine Ngo and Jaxon Firkin played in the No 6 and No 5 matches.  Catherine was 2 down early in the match, but fought back to be even after 9 holes.  The match see-sawed on the back 9.  On the par 4 14th, Catherine hit the shot of the day, a fairway wood from 160 m to 15 feet! Playing the last hole 1 down, Catherine fought back again, finishing the match all square. After a slow start, Jaxon was 4 down early in the match.  Through the next 9 holes, he traded won holes vs lost holes, eventually going down on the 13th.

Archie Galvin and Xabier Hutchison played together again this week in the No 4 and No 3 matches. Though Archie was 3 down early and behind for most of the match, he played consistently well on the back 9, eventually drawing level and winning his match 1 up.  Xabier’s match was close all day and always within 1 shot. He looked to be in control of his match until the last 2 holes when his opponent closed out the match 1 up with two pars on the tough Par 3 finishing holes. This was the hardest fought match of the day with both players hitting it equally well. A half would have been a fair result, but golf is not always fair.

Patrick Adkins and Cameron Weber played in the No 2 and No 1 matches. With two players unavailable, Cameron took some time out of his HSC study schedule to fill-in for the team this week. Patrick had another tough match, but always plays with a great attitude, never giving up.  His match finished on the 14th. Cameron came into the match low in confidence, only having played a hand full of times this year. The match was close for most of the day with a mixture of great shots and lost balls. Playing the last all square, the sprinkler system decided to turn on, requiring the players to vary their pre-shot routines to avoid getting soaked. With both players finding trouble on the last (Cameron trees and his opponent a deep bunker), Cameron prevailed 1 up.

The final score was Cronulla 3.5 Vs The Coast 2.5.  A very close match that could have gone either way.

It was great to see Coach Seb Howell and Anthony Ragusa supporting the team on the front nine and it’s always great to have the support of the parents and carers.  Thanks also to Randwick GC for hosting and providing food and drinks.

Next week we are at Woolooware GC playing against our close neighbors Randwick GC.  Last time we played them it was a 3-all draw, so we should expect another close contest.

Round Two

Week 2 of the 2023 Encourage Shield season had our team playing against Hurstville Golf Club at Cronulla.  Half of the Hurstville team included young players from other golf clubs, not being able to field a full team from their own ranks.

Playing together in the No 6 and No 5 matches were Catherine Ngo and Ethan Alas (returning player from last season).  Catherine must have played some great golf as she won her match easily 8/7 before the late arriving team manager got to see more than 1 or 2 shots.  Ethan had a much tougher match, but closed it out 2/1 with a great approach shot on 17 from the adjacent fairway, up and over the tall trees (great shot).

Archie Galvin and Xabier Hutchison played in the No 4 and No 3 matches. Both seemed to be enjoying their games, encouraging each other to keep playing well.  Archie won his match easily 4/3.  Xabier, coming off a large win last week and a 58 Nett score on Saturday, continued his outstanding form with an easy 6/4 win.  A great result having dropped 3 shots off his handicap the day before.

Dhylan Patel and Patrick Adkins played in the No 2 and No 1 matches again this week. Dhylan was 1 down through 9 holes and his match remained close on the back 9.  He eventually went down 2/1 against his evenly matched opponent.  Patrick had another tough match this week with a 5/4 loss against an opponent with a handicap 10 shots lower.

At the end of the contest the Coast prevailed against Hurstville 4/2.  At the conclusion, it was great to see most of the team staying back and sharing stories of their matches over some hot chips and soft drinks, graciously provided by Cronulla GC.

At this early stage in the competition, this places The Coast GC equal first in the division and in a strong position.  Next week we are at Randwick GC playing against Cronulla.

Many thanks to Anthony and Heidi for performing the co-manager / starter duties again this week and also to the parents and supporters.

Round One

The 2023 Encourage Shield team kicked off their season in good form, drawing their match 3-3 with The Ridge GC at their home course.  This is a great start to the 5-match season.  With many of last years’ players graduating to the Junior Pennants team, 5 of the 6 team members were playing their very first round of competitive match play this week.

Playing together in the No 6 and No 5 matches were Catherine Ngo and Archie Galvin, both representing The Coast CG for the first time. On the back 9, both were hitting it long and straight and holing some good putts.  Both won their matches 3/2.

Jaxon Firkin and Xabier Hutchison (our veteran from last year) represented The Coast CG in the No 4 and No 3 matches. Jaxon was down several holes early in the match, but rallied on the back 9 and managed to claw back a couple of holes.  Unfortunately, he ran out of holes, going down 5/3.  Xabier, in the form of his life won his match 5/4, which was a terrific result considering his opponent reportedly played to their handicap.

New team members Dhylan Patel and Patrick Adkins represented The Coast CG in the No 2 and No 1 matches. Both were playing experienced opponents from the other team with course knowledge and much lower handicaps.  Patrick in particular came up against a formidable opponent who played well below her handicap, going down 6/4.  Dhylan’s match was close most of the day and he was always within striking distance.  With two holes to go, 1 down and the support of his teammates following, all were hopeful of a draw or possible win.  With no shots on the last 2 holes, this was a tough ask.  His opponent played 17 well, clinching the win 2/1 and the drawn match.  An exciting end to a close contest.

Many thanks to Anthony Ragusa for performing the co-manager / starter duties this week and also to the parents and supporters.  Next week we are playing at Cronulla GC against Hurstville.