A White-Wash at Calcot Park

Jon WhiteJon White (Saunton) won the battle of the West Country Warriors when he went head to head with Somerset’s David Dixon (Kelland Plant Sales) at the glorious Calcot Park over the last two days.

The classic Harry Colt designed course provided a stern test of both the skill and the patience for the players, with visual trickery and undulating greens waiting to trip them up.

Both Dixon and White had, “under the radar”, first rounds of level par to sit 3 shots behind day one leader Roberto Laino (Woburn) and with four players, Nick Cunningham, Robert Harrhy, Adam Hedges and Sam Whitehead on one under par the second day would be interesting.

We were greeted with a gorgeous sunny summer’s day for the start of the second day and the members of Calcot Park turned up in some numbers to support their home players, Alex Lodge and Tim Newton.

It seemed that the par four fourteenth was causing a few problems to the players and it proved to be the graveyard for several player’s hopes and aspirations.

Dale Whitnell came to the fourteenth on 5 under par for the round and 3 under for the tournament only to bogey that and the fifteenth to drop back and finish on one under par and the clubhouse lead.

Ben Loughrey was also going well at 3 under par for the round but he also fell foul of the fourteenth and followed a bogey there with another on the sixteenth to drop back to one over par for the tournament.

Meanwhile Dixon and White where having their own “duel in the sun” and reached the infamous fourteenth on level terms at 2 under par but Dixon made an uncharacteristic double bogey 6 to drop back to level par, whilst White made a par.

In the final group, Laino had suffered from a double on the first having failed to get a drop from a poor lie and a bogey on the third which put him back to level par for the tournament but in a show of guts and determination then made 3 birdies to regain his position at the top of the leader board by the thirteenth.

White and Dixon were playing darts on the fifteenth, with both players putting their second shots to within 4 feet of the stick, for excellent birdie chances.

Dixon was first to putt and narrowly missed but White made no mistake with his and the birdie put him to 3 under and tied for the moment with Laino, who was two groups behind.

Dixon made a welcome birdie at sixteen to close the gap to two shots but White shut the door firmly in Dixon's face with a great birdie on the last hole to finish on 4 under for the tournament.

Laino meanwhile climbed aboard the Bogey Train on the fourteenth and failed to get off it, apart from a par on the seventeenth and finished a disappointing 4 over par for the round and one over for the tournament.

This left Jon White the delighted winner by a clear 3 shots from David Dixon and Dale Whitnell and Jon thanked the club and the membership for hosting an supporting the event and praised the green staff for presenting the players with an immaculately prepared golf course.

Calcot Park also hosted the Pro-Am which preceded the tournament and the winning score of 92 points by the “3 Tenner’s” Team was helped along by their professional, Will Bailey, who carded a 6 under par 64 to also win the Pro Prize.

The members of Calcot Park and the professionals who played in the Pro-Am also contributed £400 to Jamega Tours Charity “DreamFlight” to see tour pro Tom Hayward’s shoulder length blonde hair shaved off and you can see the video of the head shaving on the Jamega Tour’s Facebook page!!

It is very satisfying to see players from all levels of the game competing on the Jamega Tour, either to gain experience, regain some confidence or even to earn some money but it is sad that as a tour we cannot move their careers onto the next level via a structured promotion system that may one day enable them to get a full European Tour Card.

Lloyd Banks a Jamega Win

Lloyd KennedyLloyd Kennedy lead from the word, go at The Players Club near Bristol and on the first day kicked things off with a brilliant 7 under par 65 which was only marred be a bogey at the last.

Kennedy’s fellow Challenge Tour player Jamie Moul managed to keep tabs on him compiling a “Pick and Mix” bag of Birdies, Bogeys and Pars that eventually added up to a 5 under par round of 67.

Ricki Brackenbury (Orsett GC) was a shot further back on 4 under and he was one ahead of Gary Gilligan (Aloha GC) on 3 under par.

A chasing pack of Roberto Laino (Woburn), Paul Streeter (Lincoln Golf Centre), Reece Phillips (The Warren GC) and local hero Jon White were poised to strike on the second day five shots off the pace on 2 under.

It was a delight to play in dry conditions for a change and even a chilly wind did not detract from our and the players enjoyment of some sunshine for once.

On the second day Mason Papple (Millenium International Forwarding) put together a tremendous round of 5 under to finish on level par and just miss out on getting into the prize fund.

Paul Streeter swept into the clubhouse lead with a solid 3 under par 69 but Kennedy was playing somewhat erratic golf over the front nine to turn in one over par and really had to settle down on the run for home.

Kennedy did find a swing at the start of the back nine and birdied the eleventh to redress the balance and then proceeded to pretty much cement his win with an eagle on the twelfth.

Roberto Laino, in the penultimate game, carded a solid 3 under par 69 to join Streeter on 5 under par for the tournament and Gary Gilligan in the same group held his form and breasted the tape to finish with a one under par 71 and a 4 under par total.

In the final group of the day it became a procession for Kennedy, who now held a comfortable lead standing on the eighteenth tee and duly parred the hole for a 4 shot victory and a boost to his confidence.

Both his playing partners Brackenbury and Moul played steadily and joined Laino and Streeter in a tie for second place on 5 under par.

To a man the players expressed their congratulations to the green staff on preparing the course to a very high standard and we would certainly recommend it as a course to visit and enjoy.

A Battle for Ruebotham

James Ruebotham

James Ruebotham (Welwyn Garden City GC) battled through some ferocious winds for two days at The Shire London to be the only player to finish under par and win by a single shot from Craig Adams (First Choice Villas) and Challenge Tour player Jamie Moul.

The iconic Seve Ballesteros designed golf course provided a stern examination for the players this week and when the gale force winds were factored in it became a brutal test of skill and patience.

Ruebotham made his intentions known when he posted a 2 under par 70 to sit atop the leader board alongside Elliot Groves with James Tinworth (Outforce) with Jamie Moul a single stroke behind.

Indicative of how tough the conditions were was that only a total of 8 players equalled par or bettered it out of a field of nearly 90 golfers.

The second day carried on in the same vein as the first, with gale force winds that gusted to nearly 50 mph on occasions and made life very difficult for, not only the golfers but also the local birdlife, who were grounded by “Fowl Traffic Control”!

Of the earlier starters, second round specialist Ben Loughrey, added a fine one under par 71 to his disappointing first round 77 and hoist himself up the leader board and into the prize fund.

Recent back to back EuroPro winner Gary King also redeemed himself by adding a one under par 71 to his disappointing first round score of 6 over par and just creep into the prize money.

The biggest move of the day came from Craig Adams who battled away to card a 2 under par 70 and establish a clubhouse target of level par and with the card wrecking wind increasing in its ferocity it could well have become the winning total.

Jamie Moul, in the penultimate group, joined Adams at the top of the leader board on level par and both had the agonising wait to see if their totals could be beaten or would they be continuing in a play-off?

Word from the on course scorer was that with Tinworth and Groves out of the running and Ruebotham dropping a shot on the tricky fifteenth hole to go back to level par for the tournament it was looking more and more like a three way play-off.

Ruebotham negotiated the sixteenth and seventeenth in par and so came to the Seve signature hole with its “S” shaped water hazard guarding a wide but very shallow green needing a par to force a play-off or a birdie to win.

As cool as a cucumber Ruebotham found the green with a superb second shot and duly rolled in the putt to claim a well-deserved victory by a single shot.

It is always a pleasure to come back to The Shire London and be welcomed and looked after by the friendly and enthusiastic staff and they always provide the players with a well presented golf course to play.

We are at The Players Club near Bristol next week and are looking forward to some decent warm weather for a change, so fingers crossed.