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Nerves of steel on the last hole
PRESSURE putts are far from a speciality of mine, so holing a testy five-footer to beat my biggest golfing rival by a single shot was a moment to savour.
After 17 holes of excruciating golf, my brother-in-law, Steve, and I were level on 97 shots. It promised to be a thrilling final hole – and for once the hype was justified.
The last hole of the course we were playing was a par-five with a second shot played over water, or, in short, a nightmare for the pair of us.
Our tee shots ended up a bit too far away from the water, giving us a 150 yard carry and a difficult decision to make.
Steve went first and opted for a bold choice of shot, taking on the hazard. Fortunately for him, the resulting duff ended up short of the water.
I hit a safe chip to put myself in a better position but my next two shots could easily have ended up in the water as I struggled under the pressure.
Still, it could have been worse. Our friend Paul, one of the other players in our fourball, put his ball into the shallow water at the edge of the pond.
Not content with that disaster, he proceeded to play the ball. He got it out, but at the second time of asking and only after completely soaking his delightful red chinos.
Things weren’t going much better for Steve, who duffed his approach into a bunker, but both he and I managed to get up to the green with our fifth shots.
Having spent the day cursing a string of appalling chips, I actually managed to hit one well, getting to about five feet, while Steve’s first putt almost hit my ball, ending up about six inches further from the hole.
So after four hours and 103 shots, avoiding last place in the fourball came down to a pair of five foot putts. Steve was up first but he pulled his effort just past the hole, giving me a shot at glory. With nerves of steel I stepped up to the ball and found the centre of the cup for a glorious one shot victory.
The trouble is, now he wants a rematch. I’m not sure my nerves can take it!
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