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Rookery Park GC duo march on to nationals

PUBLISHED: 14:04 22 October 2010

Rookery Park GC's David Porter and Brian Bidwell

Rookery Park GC's David Porter and Brian Bidwell

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DAVID Porter and Brian Bidwell, after winning the Seniors' Opens at Ufford Park and Chelmsford, entered the "HowDidiDoIt" National Matchplay Championship.

To reach the regional final they had to win their matches at Bungay, Rookery and Lexton Wood, Colchester, before going on to meet Manor of Groves in Hertfordshire. Before emerging victorious they had to get through two extraordinary matches.

In the first they had to play against a pair on their own Colchester course.

Porter, renowned for his vigorous pre-match warm-ups, injured his back. In excruciating pain he insisted on trying to hit his first drive but sent it only a few yards along the ground.

The Rookery pair now faced a tough decision, concede the match or carry on with Porter a virtual passenger. Facing a formidable pair by himself, Bidwell was soon two down. Whilst unable to swing a club, Porter maintained a careful watch on the proceedings and noticed that when an opponent putted to go three up he had patted down a pitch mark instead of repairing it properly.

This infringement of the rules meant that Rookery were awarded the hole. Porter had won his team a hole without hitting a shot.

The boost to Bidwell and the psychological blow to his opponents, meant that he was able to hold on until late in the game when he hit his only bad drive high and wide.

The ailing Porter decided that he had to endure the pain and have another try. He could only scuff the ball along the ground and he did exactly the same with his second shot.

After scuffing a third shot his brave effort seemed doomed to failure. Gritting his teeth, however, he somehow managed to hit the ball onto the green and hole the putt for a par five. Stunned by the events for the second time, his opponents three putted and Rookery won the hole and held on to win the match.

In the area final the Rookery pair had to play opponents who again enjoyed the advantage of being on their own course and with the support of a home crowd.

On one of the opening holes it was Porter’s turn to play the approach shot first.

He noticed that his low handicap opponent, who enjoyed local knowledge, had taken a wood out of his bag and was swinging it in readiness to play next.

Deciding to learn from that, Porter took a wood himself and launched into the shot with his usual venom.

His ball was last seen still rising as it cleared the green, and headed for the main high street. Bidwell soon realised that gamesmanship was at work, took a 6 iron and put it on the green.

Learning from the experience, Porter was ready the next time the tactic was tried and it led to him playing the shot of the match.

Instead of being lured into laying up he took his rescue club, cleared trees and bushes to hit the green on a dogleg hole and record another win. The victorious Rookery pair are now set to play in the national final at Southampton.

David Batley

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