It was an epic final match in the Scratch Matchplay Tournament between Jack Maxey and Alan Key, which saw many twists and turns along the way.
The weather forecast for the day was not looking good, but both players were very well prepared with all the gear; water proofs, umbrellas, extra gloves, changes of clothing, etc. After a prolonged downpour the night before which closed some nearby courses, Burstwick had drained nicely but the bunkers were washed out meaning that they were denoted as GUR for the day. Although there were a couple of very light showers, the weather ended up fine for the match, albeit a little windy!
The match started off with Alan taking the lead on the second hole after Jack hit a nervy tee shot which forced him to chip out from the trees, causing him to bogey. On the third tee Jack still wasn't completely comfortable and hit his tee shot left onto the 11th, and after missing the green short and left, made a fantastic up and down to halve the hole.
A few more halved holes meant that there was still only one hole in it going down seven, but Jack was in trouble again on the left and ended up losing his ball and conceding the hole. At the turn Alan was 3-up. Both players halved 10, 11 and 12 but Jack was still looking nervy with his driver as he mis-hit his tee shot on 13 causing him to lose the hole, and Alan was 4-up going down 14, which was then halved.
On hole 15 Alan missed a four foot par putt to lose the hole, and then hit his tee shot out of bounds on 16 while Jack played the hole perfectly and was back to 2-down on the 17th tee. The players could both sense a change in momentum and Jack took advantage, hitting a great tee shot to 12 feet away from the flag before Alan missed the green. After hitting a reasonable chip to around six feet, Jack knocked his putt in for a two and they walked to the tee looking very different from four holes ago!
After a wayward tee shot Alan managed to hit a good 5 iron into the green on 18, and Jack replied with a lovely wedge shot, both missed birdie putts and they walked into the clubhouse for the half time break with just one hole between them.
After both players enjoyed our popular homemade Steak pie and chips they were back on the tee for the second half of the match, at this point some members, friends and family joined to spectate.
The second round started in a similar vain to the first, with Alan winning holes two and four to go 3-up after four (22 total) holes, but this time Jack fought straight back winning the 5th, 6th and 7th to get back to all square. Both players halved the 8th and 9th so it was all to play for with 9 holes remaining.
After halving hole 10 Alan managed to miss the green from 70 yards on 11 and didn't get up and down while Jack made a solid par, and the same happened on 12 but Jack birdied, you could see Jack's confidence growing and Alan was starting to show frustration. Going down 13 Jack made a good par and Alan had a tough seven foot par putt to halve after leaving his first well short. Alan holed it, Jack still 2-up going to the 14th, when he missed the green with his tee shot while Alan's caught the front edge. A good putt from Alan meant a 'gimme' three, but Jack raced his chip six foot past and missed coming back, game on!
Going down 15 the tension was growing with just one hole in it, and Jack hit a fantastic second shot to six foot from the flag, while Alan was on the fringe around 30 foot away, Jack missed his birdie put but Alan then failed to make par from five feet which meant that he was 2-down with three to play. Both players hit good tee shots down 16 and had 25 foot birdie putts each - neither dropped. 2-up with two to play, things were definitely going Jack's way.
Alan and Jack both had similar length putts on the par-3 17th after two good tee shots, Alan to putt first and it was heading for the middle of the cup but agonisingly stopped in the jaws, an inch short! Jack needed two putts from around 20 feet to seal the deal, rolled his first one up to around 4 foot, and as he was putting well it looked a forgone conclusion but the ball was heading for the hole and seamed to defy gravity, horse-shoeing back out! A lifeline had been dealt to Alan, 1-down with one to play!
Going down 18 the light was getting very dim, and Jack was looking a little frustrated with what happened down 17, whereas Alan looked like he had some belief again. Jack hit his tee shot wayward and towards the driving range net, but it was in bounds in the rough about 180 yards from the hole, while Alan hit one of his best drives of the day, middle of the fairway, 155 from the hole. Jack had a bad lie and subsequently only managed to advance his ball around 120 yards down the fairway, while Alan fired in a lovely 7 iron to the middle of the green about 25 feet from the hole, the crowd were on edge at this point as the match could go either way!
This is when Jack pulled off arguably the shot of the day; faced with a 60 yard pitch with the momentum against him and his opponent putting for birdie, knowing he needed to hit it close to give himself a chance of clinching the match. The crowd looked on as Jack hit a beautifully struck wedge shot, exactly pin high, one bounced, stop, five foot left of the flag! Absolutely fantastic shot at a crucial time. After Alan's birdie putt slipped past the left edge of the hole, Jack calmly stepped up and this time found the centre of the cup to claim victory; 1-up.
It was a fantastic match which was full of twists and turns, and Jack fully deserved to claim the victory, especially after such a fantastic shot under the greatest of pressure.
Congratulations Jack, we're sure this will be the first of many!