THE KENT MINIGOLF CLUB
"unus putt rego lemma totus"
THE KENT OPEN 2011
NOVEMBER 13TH 2011
Lost Island Encounter Golf Course, Sidcup World Of Golf
For the full results click here and for the KMGC photos from the event click here
Just two weeks after the World Crazy Golf Championship, the nine regular-playing KMGC superheroes returned to action at Sidcup over the Kent Open weekend. With the KIT final on the Saturday followed by the final strokeplay tournament of the year, Kent Open on the Sunday, the Explorer’s course once again played host and delivered some more epic minigolf drama.
It’s usually this time of year in the tennis calendar where injury and fatigue from a long season starts to affect players. It was the same in minigolf where the build-up to the weekend when dominated by illness and injury. HIOK was suffering from a bad back though at least that wouldn’t affect his minigolf. The Force still had a small chance of ending 2011 as the British Number 1 but that was but ended by illness. He still competed at both events but was unfortunately unable to replicate his British Open form. But the biggest concern was for Freebird. A press release was sent out on Monday evening informing the nation that The Bird had suffered a paper cut whilst opening a cardboard box and that the defending Kent Open champion was a serious doubt for the weekend. The state of Freebird’s finger obsessed Great Britain as much as David Beckham’s metatarsal had done so years earlier. The Sun newspaper printed a front page photo of the now infamous digit and another photo on page three under the headline, ‘Cross your fingers for Freebird!’ The nation prayed and the paper-cut healed, allowing Freebird the chance to retain his title.
The other story in the build-up also concerned Freebird but this time it was The Bird’s brain that was the story as he suggested that every hole at Sidcup should have a special name. Suggestions from the KMGC came in and Freebird set-up eighteen separate polls for people to vote for their favourites. Some of the best names chosen were The Slope Of Hope for hole 4, Derek And Clive for hole 15, and Death Or Glory for hole 17.
First up was the KIT final on the Saturday. The main stories for this event were HIOK retaining the title by 7 shots after 2 consistent rounds of 33 and 34 with Mr X heading for 2nd before a 7 at Death Or Death saw him drop out of the top 3. But with HIOK managing to avoid penalty shots this year, the most newsworthy story of this event was Perfect Par receiving the honour of British minigolf legend Big Top Ted caddying for him in the tournament – but only whilst Perfect Par scored aces or 2s! Sadly a 3 on the 2nd hole meant that Big Top went back to his practice in record time! HIOK won to give him 200 ranking points, Freebird, still in great pain from his finger, came 2nd for 100 points, whilst The Force equalled his position and ranking points from last year by finishing 3rd after an excellent play-off victory over TK Max.
Kent Open factoid #1: The KIT winner has still never gone on to win the Kent Open!!
Onto to the
Sunday and the tournament with so many factoids that Rafa Benitez considered
playing. Freebird had the ‘special’
idea of using a one-ball tournament with a unique KMGC course ball being the
only ball players were allowed to use. That guaranteed plenty of excitement
especially on the dreaded hole 18, now named
3 rounds would decide the winner. Past history would suggest that HIOK as KIT champion and Freebird as defending champion could be ruled out and with The Force hindered by illness, there was a real chance that this event would not be won by the three players who had won every BMGA tour title this season except the British Championship and the Midland Open. But who would the one ball format favour? Captain Ruthers was installed as favourite after some fine form on the Saturday with a whole host of KMGC players just behind him. Mr X was hoping that his luck would even itself out whilst AK47 was looking to improve on the 2010 Kent Open when one unlucky pipe exit on hole 13, now named Tri Pipe Swipe, had cost him a place in the play-off for victory. He certainly deserved a victory for his 2011 season but the big question was whether he could cope with the devastation of losing to TK Max on the Saturday? Rumour has it that he shed a few tears for that defeat on Saturday night but boy in blue was back to his colourful best on Sunday.
“I’ve got to play hole 18 three times
with a course ball? I can barely contain my excitement!” – HIOK looks forward
to a fond reunion with
Round 1 was a shotgun start with players starting from all over the course. Fast starts were the order of the day and so it proved. Freebird aced his first 2 holes, Path To glory and Continental Drift to move -2 after 2 whilst HIOK aced holes Pillars Of peril and Right Is Wrong to be -2 after 3.
best start was from TK Max. He
started on the 12th and to the amazement of his playing partners,
not to mention the Sky Sports viewers, he aced Double Up, Tri Pipe Swipe and
The Climb for an astonishing hat-trick of aces. Hole 13 may have been lucky but
holes 12 and 14 were among the hardest holes to ace with the course ball that
played more like a golf ball, and those were brilliant shots. Suffice to say
that was the only hat-trick of the day. Never mind 50 points in the Season Only
Rankings, surely that hat-trick was worth 5,000! Unfortunately that was as good
as it got for TK Max. As AK47 has been kind enough to remind him
several times, he scored more aces in his opening three holes than in the next
51! Worse than that, a somewhat risky shot whilst attempting a 4th
consecutive ace on Derek And Clive - some people are so greedy - resulted in a
4. A 3 followed at
“My round was very good. Until I started!” – Mr X accepts his bad first round with typically good grace!
Freebird and HIOK were unable to maximise their brilliant starts. HIOK dropped a shot at Double Up for a 35 whilst Freebird had an unusually eventful round by his standards. He scored further aces at the Wookie Hole (back to that later) and Derek And Clive but 3s at Elevation, Downtime, Mind The Gap and Death Or Glory for a 36.
AK47 had a fantastic first round with
the exception of
Donkey Gringo had a very consistent 1st round. 16 pars, an excellent ace at Death Or Glory plus a 3 at the Wookie Hole that equalled a 36. Mr X scored also scored a solitary ace in round 1, also coming at Death or Glory. But a pair of 3s at Mind The Gap and Derek And Clive plus a 4 at Double Up gave him a 39.
A BMGA tour first took place at the Kent Open when Freebird decided on an ingenious prize for the player with the biggest improvement in score between their first and third rounds. Both Double Trouble and Perfect Par were clearly playing for this prize. Double Trouble started 3-4 on Wookie Hole and Downtime. She scored zero aces and dropped 11 shots for a 47. You might have thought she would be last after that score but Perfect Par, ever the perfect gentleman, saved DT from that fate after a very eventful round of his own. He started brilliantly with an ace at his first hole, Double Up but followed that with a 5 at Tri Pipe Swipe. He scored an excellent ace at Just Passing but a total of 15 dropped shots including a 7 at Death Or Death left him with a 49.
After round 1, 6 of the KMGC were well placed and close enough to challenge for the title. Captain Ruthers led by 2 after an outstanding 33 but along with Freddie ‘Blackburn Rovers’ Shaw and Clockwork Orange, the KMGC were ready to try and out-gun The Rocket!
“We don’t want any special shots of Sean!” – Donkey Gringo demands high standards of decency for DT’s Daily Clicker Project!
A two minute silence was observed at 11AM on Remembrance Sunday. For the religious-minded minigolfers, prayers may well have been sent for some friendly bounces on Niagara Falls. Round 2 was also a shotgun start with most groups teeing off around 9 holes later than round 1.
Whereas there were 5 players under par in round one, only two players recorded ‘green’ figures in the 2nd round. One of those was Clockwork Orange who recorded a 2nd consecutive 35 with aces at Path To Glory and Just Passing, plus a 3 on Wookie Hole. That 35 was equalled by Mr X but that score didn’t do justice to his resilience. His second hole saw him score a 5 at Death Or Bigger Death but a faultless last 16 holes that included aces at Continental Drift, Just Passing, Tri Pipe Swipe and Derek And Clive saw him bounce back with 35.
A whole host of KMGC players scored 36s in round 2. That list included AK47 who aced Just Passing before dropping a shot at The Slope Of Hope, and TK Max who scored aces at Downtime and U-Bend plus 3s at Pillars Of Peril and Derek And Clive. Another KMGC 36 came from Freebird. The Bird was flying high with aces at Path To Glory, Mind The Gap and Glory Or Glory but had his wings clipped with 3s at Wookie Hole, Tri Pipe Swipe and Niagara Falls. But the best 36 in round 2 came from Perfect Par. Showing fantastic character and no shortage of skill to bounce back from the 49 in round one, he scored a 4 at Right Is Wrong and a 3 at U-Bend but aces at Path To Glory, Downtime and Tri Pipe Swipe gave him a PB at Sidcup in what has to be the round of the day.
Elsewhere it was a case of the KMGC heading in the wrong direction. Donkey Gringo matched his round 1 score on 16 holes including a repeat of the 3 at Wookie Hole and an ace at Death Or Glory Glory Man United, but additional 3s at Heartbreak and Niagara Falls gave him a 38. Also scoring a 38 was HIOK. A 4 at his second hole, The Climb gave him a mountain to climb and whilst an ace at Death Or Glory cancelled out a 3 at Niagara Falls, a 38 put him realistically out of contention.
Double Trouble did very well to knock 6 shots off her round 1 score. She scored two excellent aces at Pillars Of Peril and Downtime, and whilst she dropped 7 shots including a 5 at Right Is Wrong, a 41 was a very creditable score. That score was one better than the 42 posted by The Force who recorded the rarest of ace-less rounds for him.
With two rounds down and one to go, the scores were as followed: Double Trouble was +16 with Perfect Praggers +13 and The Force +5. Mr X and Donkey Gringo were on +2 with HIOK +1. TK Max and Freebird were tied on level par with AK47 the top KMGC player on -1, level with Captain Ruthers and one shot behind the leader, Clockwork Orange.
The two KMGC players near the back of the field ended their tournament with decent final rounds. Double Trouble played an excellent opening seven holes in -1 par after a second consecutive ace of Pillars Of Peril. She then dropped 7 shots including 4s at Tri Pipe Swipe and Derek And Clive before a super ace at Niagara Falls. If DT could have bottled that ace and sold it to one of the final threesome then she would have done so.
Perfect Par also got himself under par early on when he scored a superb ace of The Slope Of Hope. He scored four 3s in the rest of his round but another under 40 score was a great effort for Perfect Par. The Force also scored four 3s in his final round but three aces on just passing, Mind The Gap and Death Or Glory for a closing 37.
In the 3rd from last group, Donkey Gringo and Mr X still had an outside chance of victory but knew they needed to shoot 32s just to stand an outside chance. But despite decent starts, it wasn’t meant to be. Donkey Gringo aced Path To Glory and Pillars Of Peril but a 3 on The Slope Of No Hope and a horrendous 6-4 finish on Death Or More death and Niagara Fails meant he ended with a 41. Mr X scored 14 pars, 3s on Wookie Hole and Heartbreak plus aces at Pillars Of Peril and Death Or Glory for a 36.
“To play three rounds under par on that course with only a golf ball shows great discipline and consistency which have not always been the features of Seth’s game.” – TK Max pays tribute to Clockwork Orange, the only player to score 3 green rounds!
That just left the final two groups to battle it out for the title. The statistics from the BMGA tour from the start of 2010 suggested the winner would come from the final group. Would the youthful exuberance prove enough to overcome a lack of experience and titles for young pretenders AK47, Clockwork Orange or Captain Ruthers (outside of Hither Green that is)? Or would the three ancient relics of the tour of Freebird, TK Max and HIOK use their supposed maturity and wisdom to win the tournament?
The early holes brought mixed success for the penultimate group as they battled to apply pressure to three favourites. Freebird recorded six pars to stay at level par, whilst a pair of 3s from TK Max at The Slope Of Hope and Right Is Wrong dropped him out of contention. HIOK aced Path To Glory and The Slope Of Hope to move -1, level with AK47 who also started with 6 straight pars.
Though there was still a long way to go, a lack of aces from AK47 seemed to turn the battle for the title into a duel between Captain Ruthers and Clockwork Orange. Both of them had the perfect start by acing Path To Glory but Captain Ruthers took the lead after consecutive aces at Pillars Of Peril and Right Is Wrong.
Factoid #4: The past 4 Kent Opens have been won in a play-off!
Hole 7, now named Elevation, was a key hole. Freebird over-hit his tee shot down the slope but produced arguably the shot of the day to hole his 2nd putt for an excellent par. Then when Captain Ruthers dropped a shot, he and Clockwork Orange were tied for the lead.
Holes 8 through 11 was where the top 4 began to take shape. HIOK dropped a shot at the Wookie Hole and though he avoided further heartbreak by acing Heartbreak, at -1 he was too far behind. Freebird made his move with two outstanding aces at Downtime and Mind The Gap moving him -2.
Clockwork Orange moved into the lead at -4 on his own when a brilliant shot saw him ace Downtime. Despite him never having played in the final group before, his calm personality was putting him in control and if Captain Ruthers or AK47 had expected CO to crack under pressure, they were sorely disappointed. Mind The Gap was a key hole for the final 3. Captain Ruthers dropped another shot to drop back to -2 and two shots behind. AK47 had shown great discipline and patience and his run of 24 consecutive pars ended when his perfect putt aced the hole. He joined Freebird and Captain Ruthers at -2 in a three-way tie for 2nd.
“Yes!” – AK47 celebrates his superb 2nd putt at Derek And Clive.
Freebird dropped out of contention with 3s at Tri Pipe Swipe and Derek And Clive whist Captain Ruthers and Clockwork Orange scored 4 pars each on holes 13 through 16. The player with the momentum was AK47. A brilliant shot scored a rare ace on The Climb to move him within one shot of CO but an awful 1st putt at Derek And Clive left him with a tricky 5 foot putt for a par. Clockwork Orange could sense victory but AK47 hit arguably the shot of the tournament to hole the putt and remain in contention.
Once again at Sidcup, holes 17 and 18 were set to decide the title and the cash prizes. Captain Safety briefly turned into Captain Reckless to ace Death or Glory but Freebird showed nerves of steel to follow him in. The penultimate group refused to play Niagara Falls as they joined the crowds to watch the final group play Death Or Glory. Captain Ruthers had aced the hole in rounds 1 and 2. He would have done so again had he hit the putt hard enough but it rolled back in a straight line towards the tee. He took the shot again and hit a great putt on the same line in for a 2.
Both AK47 and Clockwork Orange had laid-up and scored a pair of pars in both previous rounds. AK47 was up first. Many players in his position would have taken a risk and gone for the ace but he stuck to his game plan and showed great nerve to score a 2. But still Clockwork Orange stayed strong and also scored a 2.
“Oh not again! How many bad bounces can one player get at the same hole?” – HIOK is not happy to see his first putt on Niagara Falls end up against the border to leave the most difficult putt on the hole.
It all came down to Niagara Falls. Hole 18 had unsurprisingly been the hardest hole on the course during the tournament with an average of 2.45 shots. There had been just two aces in the tournament from Double Trouble and WMD. A third ace for one of the top 5 would change everything. But in the end, Niagara Falls proved an anticlimax this time around. HIOK had an awful bounce but he laid-up for a 3 whilst Freebird and Captain Ruthers had decent bounces and holed their second putts for pars. Disappointingly for the KMGC but in a victory for producing the most deserving winner, both AK47 and Clockwork Orange were fairly fortunate to leave the easiest (but not easy) putts on the hole of less than 2 feet. Both tapped-in for pars to leave Clockwork Orange the victor.
TK Max ended his final round with 12 consecutive pars for a 38 with Freebird scoring 35 and HIOK a 34. In the final group, Captain Ruthers had ended with a 35 with AK47 and Clockwork Orange scoring 34s.
Factoid 17 – 2011 Kent Open had the lowest average age on the podium of any event in BMGA history of 19 years old! – Thanks to our mathematical genius AK47 for that stat!
Just as there had been 3 play-offs at the World Crazy Golf Championship a fortnight earlier, there were another 3 play-offs this time around. Some players were lucky enough to be involved in two of them! Freebird had decided to keep the 4 hole aggregate play-off method that was used at the British Open so players would play holes 9, 10, 17 and 18.
First up was Freebird versus HIOK for 4th after both men had finished on -1. That was bad news for HIOK who usually loses this particular head-to-head clash. Freebird shocked the nation by winning the toss - though that’s good news for the KMGC Spitfires – and put HIOK to play first on Downtime and Death Or Glory. After 2 holes HIOK led by one shot. Possibly he should have played safe at Death Or Glory but apparently he didn’t want to be level going into HIOK’s Downfall so he went for the ace, missed, then laid-up for a 3. When Freebird inevitably held his nerve to ace the hole he led by one with one hole to play. Then he sealed the victory with a superb shot of great skill for an ace at Niagara Falls.
Freebird did not have long to bask in the glory of that victory when he faced a special play-off for the Wookie Hole title and prize on hole 8. The Bird had aced the hole in round 1 but Jes ‘Terrific Trousers’ Moon had aced the hole in round 2. The Wookie Hole would be played continuously until one player outscored the other in a kind of sudden-death penalty shoot-out for minigolf. Terrific Trousers went first and scored a safe 2 but a marginal misjudgement from Freebird left a very tricky left to right four foot putt that he just missed to hand TT the victory.
Finally we had a 4 way battle for the aces prize consisting of The Ref, Mr X, HIOK and The Force. It could have been a fantastic play-off but The Force ruined the spectacle by being far too good! He showed great skill and nerve to record aces on Downtime and Death Or Glory plus pars on Heartbreak and Niagara Falls for a superb -2 under total. That’s The Force’s first aces title and he certainly enjoyed his second moment on top of the Sidcup podium, though his illness prevented another version of the British National Anthem. But we can eagerly anticipate that in 2012!
“Great tournament today – one ball only rule worked really well!” – AK47 celebrates 2nd and looks forward to a one ball BMGA tour in 2012!
At the end of 3 rounds and 3 play-offs, the final scores and positions were as followed: Double Trouble finished on 129 in 21st with Perfect Par, soon to be nicknamed Perfect Abbey after winning the improved player prize, 17th on 124, and Donkey Gringo 11th on 115. Next up was The Force 9th on 114, with Mr X and TK Max joint 7th on 110. HIOK was 5th on 107 with Freebird 4th after the play-off win and AK47 the top KMGC player in 2nd on 105.
Freebird is already planning the 2012 Kent Open. Rumour has it that the event will again be held at Sidcup with the KMGC course ball. But instead of 3 rounds on the Explorer’s course, everybody will play Death Or Glory 18 times, Niagara Falls 18 times, and hole 18 on the Matelys course, now named Niagara Falls 2, eighteen times. Should be a thrilling event.
With 4 out of the 6 Kent Opens being won by players with first names beginning with the letter S, will we see some name changes next year? How about Stony Kelly, Sadam Kelly, Sandy Exall or Salex Pragnell?
The KIT Final and Kent Open brought the individual BMGA tour season to a close. Now our players join forces as the Spitfires and the Hurricanes battle each other and the other clubs in the season ending British Club Championship at Dorridge.
Congratulations to Clockwork Orange from all your friends at KMGC.
Until Dorridge, please remember: The future is bright. The future is orange. That’s good news for Clockwork Orange and even better news for teams who will wear orange shirts in two weeks time.
We're always keen to hear from Kent based minigolfers
- where do you play? what's your favourite course?
and if you're interested in joining the Kent Minigolf Club and want to know more
then why not drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org