Search Events & Matches

Malcolm O'Garro Champion - Major No 2 West Essex Golf Club
Friday 09 May 2014, 07:00 - 10:00
Hits : 2870
by David Williams
Contact Pro Shop: +44 (0)208 529 4367

It's O’Garro Again....The Legend Continues......                      

As the 21st ACGA season moved on to its 3rd event of the year, the refrain of “that’s my baby” from June Parsons as she greeted the announcement of hubby’s Colin win at the last event, is still managing to raise to smile to all those who where there to witness one of the more memorable events in the long history of ACGA.MO - Winner Major 2 2014

Unfortunately, Colin won’t have the chance to follow Mark Cato and add his name to illustrious band of members who have done the “Back to Back”. The official version coming from the Parson’s household is that he is holiday; however, those in the know reckon Colin is trying to avoid the mickey-taking that will surely come his way next time he deigns to appear at an ACGA event, after June’s comments at the Warwickshire.

Incidentally, the select band of ACGA members who have done the “Back-to-Back” is shown in the table below.

THE BACK TO BACKERS

Year

Member

Event

1994

Frank Skinner

Manor   of Groves, The Essex

1996

Daryl Oxley

Austin   Lodge, Princes, The Essex

1996

Meenesh Patel

Des   Orms, Princes

1998

Ty Carter

Bar   Hill, Windlesham

2000

Meenesh Patel

Hever Castle, Brookmans    Park

2002

Basil Byroo

Benton   Hall, Goodwood

2005

Daryl Oxley

Hemstead   Forrest, Guildford

2008

Dean Witter

Woburn, Cannons Brook

2008

Stuart Austrie

Wildwood,   Tudor Park

2009

Roger Goddard

Cambridge Menzies, The Essex

2011

Ty Carter

Muswell   Hill, Collingtree    Park

2012

Keith Murray

Foxhills,   Muswell Hill

2013

Mark Cato

Nizels,   Lingfield

Note: ACGA Legend Daryl Oxley remains the only member to win 3 majors in row way back in 1995.

So back to the 138th Major, Colin was one of the few members missing in a very good turnout. The 40 strong field (including 4 guests) meant that the Winner of this major have to dig deep. Especially as the course facing them is expected provide a thorough examination of every aspect of the golfer’s game.

The James Braid designed, West Essex maybe on the short side playing only just over 6000 yards off the yellow tees but as Steve Garner and Raf Roberts will gladly endorse, size isn’t everything! This course is not ranked in the top 5 in the county without reason. Blind fairways, undulating greens, tree lined … and then they ask you to land your ball on the smallest green in the country … the par 3, 5th known as the Frying Pan is only 14 yards wide from a downhill tee box. According the statistics provided by Sky Caddie it is half the size of the Royal Troon’s famous 3 par 8th The “Postage Stamp”. The evil folks on the Committee then decided this would be a fitting hole for the Nearest the Pin Prize! Fun and Games guaranteed for sure.

Even before the day of the major though, there was signs that members were taking the West Essex challenge very seriously, the Pro Shop reported a very brisk trade in ACGA members having a sneaky look. No prizes for guessing the member who reportedly played the course 6 times in the weeks leading up to the major. For those who need a clue - lets just say he needs the practice given the number of shots he has been cut by following his recent exploits.

Before the opening tee shot from the first group, thoughts of the likely winner focused on the usual suspects. Ausbet was giving the shortest odds for Randy Plowright, Roger Goddard, Mark Cato and Malcolm O’Garro. But the form watchers would make good cases for the in form Cass Browne, The King of Spain - Raf Roberts, the ever consistent duo of Gary Cameron and Danny McCleod. And though those in the know would not put too much cash on the mid to high handicappers winning, today just might be the day for the likes of Tunde Adeshokan, Woody Woodstock or Mickey Dancehall Griffin.

Everyone was present for the roll call, bacon rolls and captain address. The ACGA’s latest attempt to limit slow play was announced and explained and after a quick photo call and sorting out the “lifers” and other victims, the first group made their way and teed off right on time.

As the groups made their way back after the first round, it must have been pleasing to the committee to see that their slow play initiative was already delivering results with the first groups back in the allotted time. Although there were some gaps towards the latter groups it was a good start. And what was the score in the match between West Essex GC vs the Mighty ACGA – no contest – if it was a boxing match the referee would surely stop the contest now. The James Braid seducer led by 39 to nil, not a single player was able to play to their handicap. The average of 26.3 stableford points captured the morning’s efforts perfectly. But amidst the sea of mediocrity there were some remarkable shots and brilliant moments. Those with good tales to tell included birdies from some of the usual suspects: Bose Sreedharan, Dean Witter, Steve Garner and Malcolm O’Garro. There were also birdies from a few unlikely sources – Mike Woodstock and Martin Rigg. And one of our guests, Ross Spurgeon, used his local knowledge being a member allied to his impressive play, to record a remarkable 3 birdies. But nothing topped the incredible hole in one achieved by Roger Goddard on the par 3 3rd. (See a separate article for full report and photos).


For any golfer it’s your life’s ambition. The day all the stars in the galaxy are in perfect alignment and the golfing Gods tap you on the shoulder, anoint your club, bless you swing and say … “come hither it’s your turn”. Your turn to sit in that exalted circle with the privileged few. Those who have had the exquisite pleasure seeing their golf ball disappear into the hole with one sweet swing of the golf club. Is there a better feeling?

This is what happened to ACGA stalwart Roger Goddard who achieved this feat at the second major at West Essex GC on the 9th of May 2014. For most of us, the mere mortals, such as this writer, that feeling, that sense of perfect golfing serenity is still to come, but for others, such as Roger, this was his third.

“I guess if you swing it well enough and play long enough, it will come eventually” are the words of Professor Jack Scheids of the National Hole-In-One Society. However, whilst this is true the stark facts about those achieving a hole in one tell a different story; one of how difficult it is to score an ace (as they say across the pond). The odds of a tour player making a hole-in-one is 3000 to 1; for a low handicapper the odds rise to 5000 to1 and for a mid handicapper and above its 12,000. So what are the odds of the same player making 3 holes-in-one is 560,000 to 1. (Note 1)

So these were the odds facing Roger as he stood on the par 3, 3rd at West Essex, the James Braid design hole is rated the 12 hardest on the card and second hardest par 3. This hole plays downhill with a drop of 20 meters according to the club’s website and measuring 148 yards to the front of the green off the yellow tees.

Approaching the hole, Roger said, “I had just shot bogey, bogey and although I wasn’t scoring well, I know I was playing well I was just a bit unlucky, so I approached the hole with confidence”. Roger continues “I checked the yardage and direction of the wind and thought it suited my 9 iron, I knew it required a smooth swing to the left of the flag because the slope on the green was left to right. I fancied getting it close but expected the ball to roll towards the middle of the green with the flag towards the left.”

Roger had the honour for this hole and his playing partners: Ossie Roberts, Peter Bennett and I watched attentive for clues about the impact of the wind etc as he prepared to take on the challenge, none of us had the faintest idea what was about to unfold.

Roger picks up the story: “When I hit the shot it felt really good and flew exactly as I imagined the shot, but the closer the ball got to the green the more it moved on a left to right flight. When the ball pitched on the green just past the flag, I thought "that's close" then it checked and spun right towards the hole ….

This is the moment when many of us who have had the good fortune to hit one close and the elation of setting up a great birdie chance quickly turn into feverish excitement of … could it be, is it possible … time almost stands still as you begin to will the ball into the hole and almost every time it trickles and weaves a teasing dance towards the hole and … stops above ground.

But this time as Roger continues “… it disappeared. I realised it was in the hole when the noise from my fellow golfers hit me, I then turned and jumped at the nearest person to me. There was lots of high fives and I also heard the cheering from the group ahead of us. It was a great feeling, a great moment!”

As I have never had a hole-in-one and up to that moment I had never even seen one made it was all new to me. I was nearest to Roger and it was my arms that caught him as he appeared to levitate off the tee box, high on the emotion of the moment. I was genuinely as happy for him as if I had hit the shot myself. Comparing notes with Ossie and Peter I was not alone, as fellow golfers we knew how special the moment was.

Playing in the group ahead, Mark gives his perspective, “we had just finished playing and we were making our way through the gate towards the 4th tee box, we could see Roger getting ready to hit, I heard the shot and expected a good player like Roger to hit the green, so I wasn’t surprised when the ball landed on the green. However, when the ball spun to the right and went towards the hole, something told me it was going in. It started on a path and had the pace which made no other outcome possible. When it dropped we all shouted, it was good to see one go in, it is such a rare occurrence and it could happen to a better fella, I was really chuffed for him.”

Roger continues “as I walked around the course it was clear that the word had spread and I was constantly congratulated by members throughout the remainder of the round.” The ACGA camaraderie predictably kicked in and for the rest of round and over lunch, members were putting in their orders for drinks! Maybe distracted by the feat, Roger had a below average round scoring only 26 points. However, he put this right in the afternoon by scoring 31 points including 3 birdies.

During the presentations afterwards Roger’s feat was officially announced but the formal recognition had to wait until the next event at Dyrham Park when Roger was presented with a specially engraved silver plated ball holder to show off the lucky ball. In addition to this Roger claim the full payout from the Association’s Hole in One Fund of £500.

ROGER HOLE IN ONE RECORD

Year

Venue

2009

St.   George’s Hill

2012

Swinley   Forrest

2014

West Essex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you think you have what it takes to make an ace, have a look of the statistics, courtesy of the National Hole in One Registry of the USA.


Those members who didn’t or couldn’t have a practice round soon found out what folly that was. There were many a tales of if only and maybes accompanying the below par efforts as the scores were posted. Among those with surprisingly below average scores in the morning and have all to do in the second half were Roger Goddard with 25 points, Ossie Roberts 24 and Keith Murray 22. West Essex also made “teenagers of Steve Lee-Sang and Sophia Lodge. Whilst Patrick Winkle had a day to forget, with only 11 points to show for his efforts.

Full first round scores below.

Place

Players

Hcp

Round   1

Fr9

Bk9

Total

Bds

1

Mike Woodstock

17

15

17

32

1

2

Cassius Browne

11

16

16

32

1

3

Tony Johnson

13

15

17

32

 

4

Steve Garner

7

16

16

32

1

5

Ross Spurgeon

0

18

13

31

3

6

Malcolm O’Garro

5

16

15

31

1

7

Donald McLeod

13

13

18

31

1

8

William Burnett

20

17

14

31

 

9

Bose Sreedharan

9

15

16

31

1

10

Dudley Stephenson

14

15

16

31

 

11

Lee Herbert

8

18

13

31

 

12

Raf Roberts

14

17

13

30

 

13

Frank Skinner

12

19

10

29

 

14

Randy Plowright

8

15

14

29

 

15

Dave Williams

18

15

14

29

 

16

Don Stewart

10

13

16

29

 

17

Austin Simmonds

10

17

11

28

 

18

Junior Grant

18

14

14

28

 

19

Jackie    Harbor

27

14

14

28

 

20

Gary Cameron

9

11

16

27

 

21

Dean Witter

7

13

13

26

1

22

Sean Brady

13

18

8

26

1

23

Jenny Walker

18

14

12

26

 

24

Mark Cato

5

12

14

26

 

25

Roger Goddard

5

14

11

25

1

26

Tunde Adeshokan

14

10

15

25

 

27

Ossie Roberts

9

12

12

24

 

28

Wayne Cudjoe

10

11

13

24

 

29

Kevin Thomas

14

15

9

24

 

30

Martin Rigg

18

16

7

23

1

31

Mickey Griffin

18

13

10

23

 

32

Peter Bennett

10

12

11

23

 

33

Leo Faure

9

9

13

22

 

34

Keith Murray

10

14

8

22

 

35

Del Mandelson

13

13

9

22

 

36

Ernie Owusu

13

11

10

21

 

37

Mayhe Bernard

16

9

11

20

 

38

Steve Lee Sang

9

10

9

19

 

39

Sophia Lodge

18

11

7

18

 

40

Patrick Winkle

16

6

5

11

 
 

Average

12.2

13.8

12.5

26.3

13

But it was Mike “Woody” Woodstock, the wily seasoned campaigner who led them in for the tasty lunch served up by our host. His 32 points although matched by Cass Browne, Tony Johnson and Steve Garner, was better on count back. Lying in wait though were a bunch of past major winners such as Lee Herbert, Malcolm O’Garro, Danny McCleod and Bose Sreedharan, this slew of hardened battlers were ready to pounce in the knowledge that most majors are won coming from behind.

Then there were others such as Dudley Stephenson and William Burnett desperately hoping today would be the day that lady luck smiles benevolently on them and present them with their first major. With only two points separated the top 10 after Round One it was all to play for in the afternoon and despite West Essex lying in wait, even those on 4 or 5 points back such as Dave Williams, Austin Simmons or Captain Jacqui Harbor probably felt they still had a chance.

So before you could say “fore right”, the afternoon groups made their way back on course to play the round that would either bring the sweet raptures of glory or the agonising pain of another hard luck story.

As the cards came in and the scores were posted, it soon became clear that West Essex was in no mood to grant any reprieve, she was still hungry for more victims – she was chewing up and spitting out ACGA members left, right and centre. The bigger the reputation … the harder the fall from grace. In many ways the afternoon was a repeat of what had gone before, the average score in the afternoon was lower than that of the morning, at 26.0. Once again no one shot their handicap although one person came very close, more on that later. And as before only one-quarter of the field managed to make 30 points plus.

A few did managed to improve on their morning efforts: Keith Murray and Leo Faure had a creditable 28s but it wasn’t hard to improve on their 22s in the morning. Roger Goddard and Dean Witter weren’t too far behind with 31s to go with their 25 and 26 respectively, both just missing out of the top 10. But the turn around player of the day goes to Ossie Roberts who made up for his dismal 24 points in the morning with a much better 33 in his second attempt, good enough for the top 10.

There were those though who must have wished they stayed in the club house after the first round, as their second round was not as good. Stand up Steve Garner (ohh he is already standing) and Dudley Stephenson both of whom had 24s in their second knock which pale in comparison to their 30 something’s in the morning. Both go from top 5 to just inside the top 20. But the turn around player (in the opposite direction) of the day goes to Lee Herbert who must have surely ate a different lunch to everyone else as he followed up his impressive 31 with a paltry 19 to prop up the bottom end of the table.

And how about those whose best effort in the afternoon just served to confirm that their poor first round effort wasn’t a fluke? Step forward, Sophia Lodge, Peter Bennett, Steve Lee-Sang and Mickey Griffin and remaining standing a member who is making this group is very own - our hard working Secretary Ernie Owusu!

Those playing steadily in the morning and afternoon included Tunde Adeshokan and Gary Cameron both had scores in the more respectable half of the 20s for each round however this was not good enough to make the top 10. Randy Plowright showed the form in the afternoon that made him one of the favourites but his 31 points in the afternoon could not force him into the top 5. ACGA Living Legend Frank Skinner (incidentally the first to go Back to Back) showed that he is regaining some of the form of his youth by carding a fine 31 to finish with a creditable 60 about 10 shots fewer than his age. The ageless wonder that is Mr. Skinner must fancy another crack at a major soon but on this occasion has to make do with 6th place. Full listing of the 3rd round scores is shown below:-

Place

Players

Hcp 

Round   2

Fr9

Bk9

Total

Bds

1

Ross Spurgeon

0

20

15

35

4

2

Malcolm OGaro

5

17

17

34

1

3

Ossie Roberts

9

17

16

33

 

4

Donald Mcleod

13

15

16

31

 

5

Frank Skinner

12

14

17

31

 

6

Randy Plowright

8

15

16

31

 

7

Dean Witter

7

16

15

31

1

8

Roger Goddard

5

14

17

31

3

9

Mike Woodstock

17

14

16

30

 

10

William Burnett

20

17

13

30

 

11

Sean Brady

13

17

13

30

 

12

Cassius Browne

11

16

13

29

 

13

Bose Sreedharan

9

15

14

29

2

14

Raf Roberts

14

14

14

28

 

15

Leo Faure

9

14

14

28

 

16

Keith Murray

10

15

13

28

 

17

Gary Cameron

9

13

14

27

 

18

Tunde Adeshokan

14

16

10

26

1

19

Tony Johnson

13

13

12

25

 

20

Austin Simmonds

10

16

9

25

1

21

Jenny Walker

18

15

10

25

 

22

Wayne Cudjoe

10

12

13

25

 

23

Martin Rigg

18

12

13

25

 

24

Del Mandelson

13

15

10

25

 

25

Mayhe Bernard

16

14

11

25

 

26

Steve Garner

7

12

12

24

 

27

Dudley Stephenson

14

10

14

24

 

28

Dave Williams

18

11

13

24

 

29

Junior Grant

18

10

14

24

 

30

Jackie    Harbor

27

9

14

23

 

31

Kevin Thomas

14

10

13

23

 

32

Steve Lee Sang

9

13

10

23

 

33

Mickey Griffin

18

12

10

22

 

34

Patrick Winkle

16

12

10

22

 

35

Don Stewart

10

13

8

21

 

36

Sophia Lodge

18

8

13

21

 

37

Peter Bennett

10

11

9

20

 

38

Ernie Owusu

13

11

9

20

 

39

Lee Herbert

8

9

10

19

1

40

Mark Cato

5

9

4

13

 
 

Average

12.2

13.4

12.6

26.0

14

And so to the minor places: Cass Browne continuing his excellent form this year had another podium finish and even more silverware. So far this year, this underachiever in the Murray/Browne golfing family dynasty has a 2nd place in the Champion of Champion, 4th place at the weekender and 5th place now. Surely his first major must not be too far away although 3 more events like this could see him becoming the 2nd golfer from the Murray/Browne clan to win the Order of Merit. His other committee members must hope his “downward slide” from 2nd to 5th continues if they are to have chance of getting a “look-in” for the £20 Committee Challenge.

William Burnett – a 2014 re-joiner had his best ever major placing with 4th. Although he couldn’t match the 31 of this morning he was one of only 5 players to post 30+ in both knocks. This disproved the theory that high handicappers wouldn’t fare well at West Essex. With this showing he is keeping some very exalted company indeed and a hopefully a good sign that better things are just around the corner from the quiet understated elder statesman from Berkshire.

Mike “Woody” Woodstock proved those knowing glances about his chances were not misplaced. This two time major winner came up mere 3 points short. Opening with a birdie on the 1st must have given Mike a sense that his 3rd major was there for the taking. But how he must rue those blobs on the 4th, 8th, 12th holes and particularly the relatively straightforward uphill par 3, 15th. And thus he take away happy memories of good moments but ultimately the pain of knowing he was so close permeates and resonates … deeply.

And he is not alone. Danny McCleod, a winner of a single major nearly 10 years ago and finishing consistently in the upper reaches of the order of merit for many years in between without picking another title. Dan wore the expression of a man who knew today could have been the day when he rose to the acclaim as champion once again. But he too finished 3 shots short of glory although he took second place on count back. He will wander how the opening and finishing holes were so different to the rest of a very tidy round. A 6 for blob on the opening hole wasn’t the start he wanted and then “burning up” in the “Frying Pan” 5th, the so called easier hole on the course must have been disheartening. A birdie on the difficult par 5, 8th would have repaired some of the damage of the two bogeys on the front but the 9th hole blob was the kick in the teeth he could have done without. Despite 3 blobs on the front, he still managed to go to the turn with a creditable 15 points. And he kept his round going nicely on the back picking up 5 pars to go with 3 bogeys. He must have stood though on the closing 18th par 5 knowing that he needed a good score here to trouble the leaders. So it must have been bitterly disappointing to not even trouble the scorers with his only blob on back nine. So it proved, he need to find a par on the 18th to take the title. But it wasn’t to be. Second place would be the scant consolation and the knowledge that there is enough good golf in his game to break the near 10 year drought of waiting for his second ACGA title.

After all the hard luck stories and near things there was one beacon on brilliance that lit up West Essex like a car headlamp on a country road at midnight. That was the golfing excellence of Mr. Malcolm O’Garro. Coming fresh off his incredible effort at the testing Woodhall Spa, Malcolm decided to give the rest of us mortals a break at the Warwickshire before turning up at West Essex. His rounds of 31 and 34 points showed the tenacity of true champion and a supreme golfer who knows how to peak at the right time. Not for him setting the pace to be shot at, this multiple major winner knew he had to get his best round in last in case he needed it as insurance in the event of the tie breaker called count back, but that wasn’t necessary as he won easily in the end by 3 shots. What makes this result even more remarkable is that this was achieved immediately after being chopped 2 shots for winning the champion of champions and he was therefore playing off the joint lowest handicap of any member playing on the day. Sterling, stirring stuff. The mark of a true champion, cementing his legacy and embellishing his legend. This victory takes Malcolm to joint 3rd in the all time ACGA honours Board, only Daryl and Ty sits above him. He sits alongside Frank Skinner with 9 titles. Malcolm achievement now reads as follows:

TITLE

Won

Details

Majors

4

Meon Valley, Donnington Grove, St. Omer, West Essex

Order   of Merit

1

2009

Birdie   Champion

2

2007;   2010

Singles   Champion

1

2007

Champion   of Champions

1

Woodhall   Spa

Total

9

 

He is still the only player in the 20 year history of the ACGA to achieve the Lifetime Grand Slam - winning every major title available. Some would say he also deserve to be on the Back to Back Honours Board but sadly although he has won his last events, they weren’t consecutive so he missed out on that one. But still, what a record, what a player and he is still hungry for more titles so watch out.

For completeness the record of the all time list of titles within the ACGA after West Essex is as follows.

Player

Birdie   Champion

Champion   of Champions

Majors

Most   Improved

Order   of Merit

Singles

TOTAL

Tyrone Carter

7

1

5

 

1

 

14

Daryl Oxley

   

9

 

4

1

14

Malcolm O’Garro

2

1

4

 

1

1

9

Frank Skinner

 

1

6

 

2

 

9

Dean Witter

1

 

4

 

1

3

9

Meenesh Patel

1

 

4

 

1

2

8

Basil Byroo

1

 

4

 

2

1

8

Mark Cato

   

4

1

1

1

7

Roger Goddard

1

 

4

   

1

6

Raphael   Roberts

 

2

3

1

   

6

After a very hearty dinner the prizes were handed out and these included the Longest Drive which was won by Steve Garner (told you size doesn’t matter).

The player with the most sublime to skills to land the golf on the smallest green in the Britain and nearest to the flag was George (“I’m going to win Major soon”) Grant.

The Guest prize was won by Ross Sturgeon who actually had the best score on the day with 31 and 35 and came closest to playing to his handicap. When you consider that Ross was playing off scratch you can appreciate what a good effort that was.

The presentations for the inaugural Major Madness were also done with Ernie Owusu salvaging something from the day – his selection Bubba Watson won the Masters and thereby winner for Ernie £100 cash and first choice in a outstanding collection of Caribbean rums. Second was Mark Henry and 3rd was Steve Garner.

In his acceptance speech Malcolm thanked his playing partners and fellow members. The big fella got a bit emotional as he reflected on his love for the ACGA and wonderful fellowship he has shared with members over the years. The standing ovation given he received at the end from the members left no doubt that the feeling was mutual.

Location West Essex Golf Club
www.westessexgolfclub.co.uk 0 Days 03 hours 00 minutes

Back