We all sang “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside” as the Jamega Tour Bandwagon headed south to Hayling Island, near Portsmouth, for the first event of the year.
With a full field jousting for the first prize of £5,000 it was going to be an exciting tournament on our first visit to a links-land course.
Oh dear! The weather that dogged us for most of the last two years returned and as the day wore on the wind increased, the rain fell and the temperature dropped.
The first day provided some excellent scoring despite the worsening conditions and Challenge Tour member Mathew Mills set a scorching pace with a 5 under par 66.
Brett Taylor was shadowing Mills with a solid 4 under 67, Glyn Bateman and Danny Belch chipped in with 3 under par 68’s.
Jonathan Poulton, Michael Bush, Andrew Richardson, James Ruebotham and Andrew Cloke made it tight at top of the scoreboard all carding 2 under 69‘s.
A host of players posted 1 under par 70’s including the laconic James Busby who was searching for the end of the rainbow and the treasure chest containing five thousand doubloons!
The start of day two was horrendous to say the least, with high, near gale force, winds and later heavy rain. However the course took everything that was dumped on it and the greens remained quick and true and the fairways playable.
One player who was not affected by the conditions and presented an unbelievable 4 under par 67 was John Banbury which put him at the head of proceedings on 141.
Most of the scores coming in were in the mid seventies and as the day one leaders got blown off course several players saw the opportunity to bring their experience into play and grind out par golf.
As John Banbury paced up and down waiting and hoping that no one could catch him. Home Pro Mark Treleaven, Matt Allen, Andrew Richardson, James Ablett and Chris Brook came close finishing on 2 over and Banbury kept pacing!
To James Busby, the dark horse from the North of England, the conditions were just like home and he plotted his way around Hayling Island steadily and got himself in the lead with a great birdie on 14. A par on 15 followed by another birdie on 16 gave him a two shot cushion, which he would need playing the treacherous 17th and 18th holes.
Busby, drawing on his experience duly made par on the last two holes, carding a final round of 2 under 69 and a grand total of 3 under par 139.
So Hayling Island proved to be Busby’s “Treasure Island” as he un-earthed Jamega’s largest first-place cheque ever, for £5,000. John Banbury, although disappointed to be beaten, soon smiled again on receiving his second place cheque for £2,500.
Hayling Island is a beautifully presented Links course with fast and true greens overlooking the Isle of Wight. The clubhouse and staff are very welcoming and we would recommend it to golfers of all standards, a tough test for one and all.
Our next event at Magnolia Park is already full, so if you want to ensure that you get a place in the remaining 18 events we would recommend that you enter them sooner rather than later so as not to be disappointed.
View Hayling Island Photographs - By Simon Murdoch