The University of Gloucestershire Golf team fought hard in tough conditions to beat Bristol 4-2 in their opening BUCS fixture of the season.
The current Western Conference Cup Champions travelled away to Bristol and Clifton Golf Club only to be greeted with howling winds and chilling rain. UoG Golf team member Joe Ramsden said, “the conditions weren’t ideal to play in, the forecast looked bad and the winds were speedy. It didn’t seem like it would be nice to play in.”
UoG’s lead pair, Captain Nathan Watts and Vice Captain Tom Skinner, got off to the perfect start, going 3 and 4 up respectively in as many holes. Further back, Tom Hage and Paul Wood got off the mark nicely with Hage up at the turn and Wood all-square. Tom Hage said, “I was lucky enough to make the most of some poor holes from my opponent early on. Paul’s opponent was solid off the tee so his match could have swung either way but we were looking forward to playing a solid back 9”.
It was known from the outset that the final two matches would be crucial in deciding the outcome of this tie. Both Joe Ramsden and Anton Hotham of UoG were relatively new to competing at this elite level of matchplay golf, but showed no fear in the early stages, both taking an early lead.
As they entered the back 9 UoG were up in 4, all-square in 1 and 1 down in the other. Captain Nathan Watts led by example and dispatched his opponent on the 14th hole with a 5&4 win. Meanwhile Vice Captain Tom Skinner had been pegged back to 1 down thru 13. However, a birdie on the tough 14th, followed by two lengthy holed putts on 15 and 16, and a birdie on 17, sealed a 2&1 victory.
Last season’s stand out performer Tom Hage followed suit closing out his match on the 14th hole with a 5&4 win, Tom added, “this was a great way to start the season giving me a positive mind-set for my next match”. Despite his best efforts on the back 9 Paul Wood wasn’t able to claw his way back and was beaten on the 15th hole by his opponent from Bristol who played “a very strong back 9”.
Joe Ramsden, who had been the model of consistency all day, finally closed out his match on the 16th hole to secure the win for UoG with their 4th point. Following his victory Joe said “to get the win was a great feeling. Knowing that I had secured a definite win for the team made me feel good, especially having not played well in previous rounds.” While Anton Hotham, despite saying he had “played some of the best golf of my life” and taking his match down the 18th hole after being 3 down with 3 to play, was unable to claw it back and subsequently dropped UoG’s second point of the day.
The UoG Golf team will play their first home BUCS match this Wednesday against Bournemouth at their new home; Lilleybrook Golf Club, in Cheltenham. This fixture will provide a second straight test against a top team who UoG both won and lost against last season. Joe Ramsden added “We’re really looking forward to playing our first BUCS match at Lilleybrook this Wednesday. It will be good to play off the back of a win and we will try to carry that form forward with our home advantage.”