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Nearly man wins at last

Ring in the changes

Bowlers’ spirit hardly dampened

Chiangmai SportRoundup

Nearly man wins at last

Sandy Lie
After weeks of complaining that he’s usually there abouts at the finishing line, but never actually wins, Jim Catterson earned a place on the winner’s podium in the Chiang Mai Golfers stroke play competition at the Lanna course last Tuesday. However, he had to be satisfied with sharing the position with Len Matysek.

Len Matysek (left) and Jim Catterson, joint winners at Lanna last Tuesday.

From a field of 21 in piping hot conditions, Jim and Len both staggered home with net scores of 71, while the Stableford prize also produced a tie, with Gordon Langtry and Roger Mack scoring a low 34 points each.
On Thursday, Chiang Mai Golfers enjoyed having an empty Gymkhana Club to themselves. Despite a cooling breeze, a combination of the hot weather and Songkran were cited as reasons for the deserted course, but it also might be due to a 50% increase in the green fee. Nevertheless, after coming second two days before, Garry Walker got lucky this time out by winning with 38 Stableford points, one ahead of David McCunnel.
The Royal League is now well into another session of scratch play competitions at the Highlands, and last Tuesday produced joint winners - Steve Polaski and Kari Sirelius - with scores of 85 strokes. Dennis Dobrick came in third with an 86.
Steve will be cursing his recent lack of consistency, when the odd blemish has cost him the round. This time out it was a 9 on the par 5, third. Steve completed a schizoid performance going out in 38 and back in 47; while Kari’s more stable 41/44 brought the match to the wire, where Steve missed a birdie chance and Kari bogeyed via a bunker to square the match.
Despite a leg injury, Dennis produced an even steadier round of 43/43, but he won’t forget the 8 he accrued on the 11th.
On the following Thursday, in form Hong Kim notched his second win in four weeks with an impressive 39 Stableford points. Playing off 24, his five pars in the round and third place in the overall prizewinners list must give food for thought to the handicappers.
Dennis Dobrick’s gross 82 and 37 points saw him safely into second place, and he was left to rue the 3 double bogeys on his card. Steve Belair played well off his lowest ever handicap of 12. And a creditable 87 strokes and 33 points put him firmly into 3rd spot.
There seems to be no holding Kari Sirelius back these days, and his net 64, which included 3 birdies - was enough to take first in Happy Bar Std’s stroke play event at Mae Jo last Monday. His fellow Finn, Kari Laukkanen came in second with a net 69, two strokes ahead of the ever improving David Cameron.
Mike Neun took the honours on Wednesday at the Highlands, with Happy Bar coordinator, Noel O’Dwyer second. However, third placed John Gordon played the shot of the day with a 323 yard drive on the par 4, 11th. John watched his ball make the water before seeing it drop into a greenside bunker. But the lad kept his cool to secure a birdie.
Back at Mae Jo on Friday, Peter Efremgan, David Cameron and Tom Ingham came first, second and third with net 73, 74 and 75, respectively. While two players failed to finish their round when the heavens opened up on the 16th, their playing partners, Dennis Woerner and Dennis Dobrick battled on through the storm to finish 40 minutes behind everyone else.
For more information visit www.theroyalleague.com, www.chiangmaigolfers .blogspot.com or ring Garry Walker on 081 032 8803, and for Happy Bar Std’s ring Noel O’Dwyer on 089 256 5705.


Ring in the changes

Pat Black
The Chiang Mai Pool League cancelled last Friday’s programme so that most of us could celebrate Songkran by chucking ice cubes and powdered water at our neighbours and friends. There’s nothing like family fun at the festive season, and this third New Year of 2007, like all New Years, signaled a time to reflect.

This is Heaven’s Beach.

While some pool seasons might seem much the same as previous ones, this term has seen a number of significant changes. After John Whiting’s resignation from league coordinator, he followed it up with a miraculous vanishing act, which shut down the Out Back bar and made all their players redundant.
What lay behind John’s flight is likely to remain a mystery for evermore; however, his successor, Shaun Dodd of December Bar, made no secret of how the league would be streamlined. He backed a clearer interpretation of the rules, put the starting time back 30 minutes, introduced 4 more teams, arranged ultra efficient data distribution and put December’s best player in the family way - his wife, Mai.
There’s little doubt that Shaun has performed admirably since becoming coordinator, and the general consensus has given him the thumbs up, especially Mai, who recently gave birth to a baby boy.
It’s been just as well that news in the League spreads fast these days because names and venues have changed quicker than the weather. Last year’s runner up, Friends Corner is now known as Em & Em and currently props up the rest of the League. Meanwhile, La Villa has been renamed Chokdee, and they play in a bar at the back of beyond, where the balls wobble when the floorboards creak under pressure. And debutants, Maggie’s Place recently moved to the bar beer centre behind the stark empty shell of the once vibrant Out Back.
New side, Oasis, is almost as hard to find as those in the Sahara; and many visitors have expressed amazement when treading the sands of Heaven’s Beach. This soft undulating floor surface around the table not only calls for stance contortions, but it’s also rumoured that a female Number 1 Pub player lost a high heeled shoe in it.
Like Heaven’s Beach, fellow newcomers, Inter Bar subject their visitors to a crowded ambience of heavy rock and head bangers, a mere cue’s distance from the playing area - but there’s no sand.
So, what of the future? One of the few complaints of this season has been its length. A long session of over 30 matches can become meaningless for the mid table sides before half the term has been completed. One suggestion is to find three more teams and make up two divisions of 10. With 3 top prizes and 4 sides relegated and 4 promoted, more than 50% of the entire League would have an interest right up to the final whistle.
We’ll have to wait and see what Shaun has up his sleeve. In the meantime, it’s back to “normal” next Friday, and I’m sure you all enjoyed the Songkran soaking. Personally, I can’t wait to get back into the pool.


Bowlers’ spirit hardly dampened

Despite Songkran, twenty-four ten pin bowlers still fought their way to PS Bowl through a shower of premature celebrations and mustered 6 teams of 4 at last Wednesday’s Chiang Mai team event.

This week’s runaway victors are Jo, Oi, Yung and Bob.

Individual performances of note included Ron’s 257 and Garry’s 256 off handicaps of 68 and 66, respectively, and high handicappers Oi and H. Patterson both scored 253. Moreover, Yung turned in an impressive display of accuracy to complete two of his three frames with straight scores of over 200. And, this week’s team event went to runaway victors Jo, Oi, Yung and Bob.
This weekly meeting manages to create a competitive edge in an informal and very friendly atmosphere and anyone is welcome to join in. Just turn up any Wednesday before 3.30 pm and introduce yourself to Les Harvey, who picks the teams and works out the handicaps.