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Dust clouds in on golfers

Chiang Mai Pool League

Local couple making splash in golf scene

Chiangmai SportRoundup

Dust clouds in on golfers

Sandy Lie
Beating the elements is as much a part of golf as perfecting a grip or swing. Bone hard greens, heavy rough, wind, rain and even snow are thought to be common place, but it’s difficult to believe that golfers in Chiang Mai would be fighting their way through smog.
Last Tuesday possibly produced the worst conditions so far, with visibility down to a long par five. Although it made for a cooler round, there must have been a few dry throats come the 19th hole.

Royal League Scratch Champion - Steve Polaski.
Despite the gloomy conditions, Royal Leaguer Steve Polaski wrapped up this season’s Scratch Competition with two rounds left to play. Nevertheless, he was made to fight all the way last week in a match decided on the 18th. All square with Dennis Dobrick after 14, Steve birdied the 15th, Dennis the 16th, and after halving the penultimate hole, Steve parred the last to win by a shot. Kari Laukennan came in third on the day with an 86 - three strokes behind Steve.
With Steve the new champion, it now looks certain that Dennis Dobrick will take second place in the overall tournament and Grahame Curry third.
In Tuesday’s other event, Chiang Mai Golfers scored well in the smoke during their Stableford competition at Lanna Golf Course. Kjell Hanssen played a devastating round to win with 45 points – enough for handicap coordinator, Roscoe Butler, to scratch his head and reach for the calculator. Gerry Guetre must have been disappointed to finish only second after accumulating as much as 42 points and Garry Walker came in third after carding 37.
Self-confessed nearly man, Jim Catterson finished one point off the leader board, complaining that no matter who he plays with this season, he ends up just outside the frame.
Scorching weather had cleared some of the recent haze away from Chiang Mai by last Thursday and Icelander, Gunti Sigurjonsson, who is used to colder climes, burnt up the Highlands to win the Royal League’s Stableford event.
Going out in 37 strokes, 23 points and back in 36/20, an impressive Gunti carded 3 birdies, 9 pars, 5 bogeys and a double to push Hong Kim into second place. Twenty-seven handicapper Hong also made the turn on 23 points, but came back to earth on the back nine by recording 16.
While achieving 37 points is often enough to push for first place, Kari Sirelius and Jon Haid had to be content with joint third on this occasion.
In fact, 37 points were enough for Kari Laukannen to take the honours in Happy Bar Std’s Monday Stableford event. Kari played a steady round of golf, narrowly missing an eagle putt on the par 5, 16th, but “The Flying Finn” was pushed all the way by David Cameron and Don Petersen, who came second and third, respectively.
Don Petersen is there or there about in most of his tournaments, and Wednesday proved no exception in Happy’s stroke play competition at the Highlands, where he came in with a net 71 to take his third win in four weeks.
However, it was Ian Fyles on the winner’s rostrum at Green Valley last Friday after blitzing the course with a gross 83 - net 61. Not much runner-up Kari Sirelius could do about that with a net 67.
It has be mentioned that before parring the 2nd and 3rd at Green Valley, Noel O’Dwyer had started his round and finished his chances on the first with an eleven. And to make him feel better, Kieran Savage emulated the feat on the last.
For more information visit, contact Noel O’Dwyer on 089 256 5705 for Happy Bar Std’s and 081 032 8803 for Garry Walker of Chiang Mai Golfers.

Chiang Mai Pool League: Top teams trounced

Pat Black
If anyone thought the title race was over after Blue Sky Bar opened a two point gap at the top of the Chiang Mai Pool League, they were badly mistaken, as two of the leading four teams were soundly trounced last Friday.

Gip playing for Happy Bar.

Blue Sky Bar fell through a quicksand at Heaven’s Beach, where the hosts took full advantage of their seashore conditions and heavy metal rock music to down the League leaders, 7-2. At 4-1, young Willy had an opportunity to stem the tide and keep The Bar in with a chance, but having to use the rest and being a bit on the short side - the lad stretched, potted the black and, unfortunately, also the white.
Currently fourth, Enjoy Place suffered a similar fate at December Bar. Their attempt to fight back at 0-3 down was met by a December backlash, with the home side polishing off the remaining 5 frames for a resounding 8-1 victory, which puts them 5th above Oasis.
Meanwhile, Half Moon Pub applied pressure on the league leaders with a clinical performance at home to Chiangers and Bangers. At one time this fixture would have been full of expectation. Chiangers were a top side coming third in the last two seasons, but at the moment they are a shadow of their former selves. The Moon eased into a 4-2 lead at the break and rattled off two of the doubles to record a 6-3 win and move one point behind Blue Sky Bar.
Inter Bar also closed the gap at the top by making no mistake at The Local. Their 6-3 win keeps them firmly at third, two points off the lead, while The Local stay sadly rooted near the bottom.
In other matches, a resurgent La Villa kept up their winning form with a well earned 5-4 win over Rock Hard Bistro. While La Villa stay in joint 10th spot with Heaven’s Beach, Rock Hard - at fourth from the floor - must be cursing their atrocious away form of winning only once on the road so far this season.
In mid table, Happy Bar came through a thriller at Blue Sky Garden, which contained a combination of good play and comedy of errors. Happy won the first frame on a scratched black, and in the eighth, Bob should have wrapped up proceedings for them, but instead made a miserable hash of the last ball. And in a nip and tuck finale, The Garden gifted Happy with a decisive ball in hand.
Elsewhere, Number 1 Pub did well to overcome high flyers Oasis, 5-4 at home. This win saw them rise above Maggie’s Place, whose turn it was to miss a match. And Em & Em’s short lived winning streak didn’t get past The Wall, who had won last Friday’s encounter before the start of the doubles.

Local couple making splash in golf scene

Lance Lewis
For the first time in memory a husband and wife team placed 1st in the same golf tournament. It happened on March 10 at the difficult Samkapang Lamphun Golf Course. Veerasak (Kang) Wongmalee who has won many local amateur tournaments had 6 birdies en route to a net score of 68.

Kang and June seen in a recent photograph - a family affair on the course.

His wife Suchada (June) Wongmalee was a first time winner with a net score of 67. Here final score was especially remarkable given her slow start - a double bogey on the first hole before blazing her way around the course for the winning score.
Kang and June will play next in the Nike Open at the demanding Blue Canyon course in Phuket which recently played host to the Johnnie Walker Classic. Kang has played well in this tournament in the past and fully expects to do well this year.
Last month the US Consulate in Chiang Mai made it possible for Kang and his son Cue to attend the US Open Golf Championships at the famed Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh in June where Kang was chosen to assist in staffing the event.
This is the 8th time US Open has been held at Oakmont. Past winners at Oakmont include Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Ernie Els. It is believed that Kang is the first Thai to attend in a staff capacity.
The Wongmalee Family has been very active in local charities, most notably the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children or FERC.