Adam Runcie wins at The Vale of Glamorgan

Day one can be simply described as a “Wash-Out”! We managed to get 5 groups teed off before play was suspended, due to flooding on the fairways, even though the greens were holding up well.

A long morning followed waiting for the rain to stop so play could recommence. The Tournament Director made the decision to re-start at 3pm and this was the cue for the heavens to open again and a torrential downpour finally put paid to the course and so play was abandoned for the day!

The start of the second day could not have been different with a bright crisp morning to greet the first group who started their journey promptly at 7pm from the first tee.

The morning continued smoothly until one of the players Fathers, who was also his caddy, unfortunately, slipped down a bank on the 6th hole and fractured his leg. However the Welsh Ambulance Service swiftly attended to the gentleman and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Adam Runcie set the pace in the sunshine compiling an almost flawless 4 under par 69 which contained 6 Birdies and just 2 bogeys. As the day wore on, no one could get near to Runcie and the weather swiftly deteriorated. Eventually we had to call a halt to play as the heavy rain returned.
During a one and a half hour delay, the Head green keeper, John, and his team, worked tirelessly to get the course into a playable condition ready for the re start.

Alan Glynn was the next player to get under par by birdying the last for a 1 under par 72 and slot in behind Runcie into second place.

Glynn’s second spot was soon taken away from him by Scott Drummond who finished with 3 Birdies in the last 5 holes to leapfrog Glynn and assume second place on 2 under par.

The elder Statesman of the tour, Matt Briggs, who was playing with Drummond, shot level par to finish 4th and win £1,000. 
However it was Adam Runcie, who had waited patiently all day, who won the £3,000 first prize with Scott Drummond second, winning £2,000 and Alan Glynn picking up £1,500 for third place.

Despite facing desperate conditions, everybody, including the players, worked hard to ensure we at least managed to get 18 holes completed on the second day.

A special thank you must go to The Vale of Glamorgan Golf Club and The Vale Hotel and Spa who made our stay a pleasure and although we suffered at the hands of the weather the golf course is certainly one of the best and most challenging that we play.


Essendon win for Mark Laskey

To be greeted by Jack Frost on the first day at the Essendon Golf Club was not what was required with a full field of 120 players but after a one and a half hour delay play finally began at 9 O’clock.

With a high quality field scoring was expected to be good and so it proved to be with no less than 24 players eventually coming in under the par of 72.

Alex Belt sat on top of the heap with a fine 6 under par 66 to lead by one from Paul Maddy and Iwan Griffiths with a further shot back laying 2 behind came Tom Haylock, Scott Fallon and Dan Brooks.

Unfortunately some players contracted the rapidly spreading disease known as “Slow Play Syndrome” which manifests itself by making the victims walk slowly and be unprepared to hit shots. This results in rounds of 5 Hours and 40 minutes for some of the players. A cure must be found!

Given the frosty start the course played extremely well, with superb greens and the sun glinting on this, up to now, hidden gem there was no better place to be than on the New Course at Essendon.

What a contrast to the start of the second day, Jamega Rain arrived to greet the early starters and continued for some time but did not cause any delays, thankfully.

Scott Drummond had the ball on a piece of string for the first 15 holes getting it to 6 under for the round and 7 under for the tournament to lead. But then the string broke and Drummond limped home with 3 bogeys to finish on 4 under and 5th place.

Mark Laskey was next to make a move for the title getting to 8 under par for the tournament before a bogey on 12 stopped him in his tracks and he parred in to take the clubhouse lead on 7 under par.

Tom Haylock put together a little birdie run on the back nine in an attempt to catch Laskey but in the end fell one short to lie in second place.

Overnight leader Alex Belt was having a value for money round with 5 bogeys a Birdie and an Eagle in his first 13 holes to drop to 4 under par! But showing grit and determination Belt birdied 2 of the last 5 holes to tie Haylock on 6 under par.

This left Mark Laskey as the winner of a cheque for £5,000 for his efforts with Alex Belt and Tom Haylock picking up cheques for £2,000 each for tying second.

The “Slow Play Syndrome” seemed to disappear on the second day and rounds were completed in a more acceptable 4 hours 40 minutes. Players need to be ready to play and walk swiftly between shots. Make sure any gaps in play are behind you, not in front.

Essendon Golf Club, formerly known as Hatfield, is a fantastic as yet undiscovered golfer jewel in Hertfordshire just off the M25. With 2 great golf courses, the Old and the New, and a superb clubhouse staffed by the most accommodating and helpful people you will ever find it must be a stop on every golfers quest for perfection.

Spanish Swing Report

elliot_saltmanCosta Esuri saw the start of the three event Spanish Swing and although looking parched by the long and sustained drought over the past 5 months the course was in excellent playing order. With tight, fast running fairways and true, well prepared greens the first day was very much a “make hay while the sun shines” scoring day.

Paul Doherty took full advantage of an early start and with a very light breeze to defend it Costa Esuri yielded up a 3 under par 69 to Doherty, which led for the rest of the day. Hot on Doherty’s heels came Lee James, Matt Swales and Steve Surry on 2 under par, followed by David James, Andrew Cooley and eventual winner Elliot Saltman on 1 under par.

On day 2 the fireworks really started with Neil Riley bursting through the field with a 6 under par 66 to lead in the house until Elliot Saltman gate crashed the party carding a brilliant 8 under par 64 to equal the course record and assume a 6 shot lead which was never troubled.

David James joined Riley at 3 under par and first round leader Doherty made up the trio tied for second place each winning £767. However it was the imperious Saltman who took away the first prize of £2,000.

La Monacilla

A wonderful Jose Maria Olazabal designed golf course which is long with tree lined fairways and wonderful greens that place the onus on long iron play and short game skills, both of which Olazabal was a master of.

Fresh from his victory at Costa Esuri, Elliot Saltman plucked a first round 3 under par 69 from the European Tour standard course to eventually lead by just one. Behind him sat a frustrated Lee James who let slip a golden opportunity to assume a strong lead by playing the last four holes in 4 over par after getting it to 6 under after 14 holes. He was joined on 2 under by Neil Riley who had previously finished strongly at Costa Esuri.

Saltman started the second day as hot favourite to make it 2 in a row. As the day wore on it was looking like no one wanted to win until Saltman birdied 4 holes out of 5, starting at the eleventh, to assume the outright lead. He maintained this to run out the winner by 2 shots from Steve Surry and Neil Riley, who each won £850, so it was two in a row for Saltman and another cheque for £2,000 to tuck away in his sporran!

Costa Esuri

neil_obriainHot scoring by the early starters with Scott Drummond carding an excellent 6 under par 66 to take the clubhouse lead by one from David James and two from Neil Chaudhuri. Hot, soon became scorching, as word from the course had Neil O’Briain at 8 under par playing the Seventeenth.

He duly birdied the par 5 to reach a staggering 9 under par with one to play. O’Briain just missed a 6 foot birdie putt on the last but tapped in for par to establish a new course record for Costa Esuri of 63 blows and sit on a 3 shot lead.

Day 2 was an early doors washout with a half an hour delay that was soon followed by a suspension of play due to flooded fairways and greens. After a lengthy wait it was apparent that the rain was here to stay and we had no alternative but to abandon play for the day.

As we had completed 18 holes on the first day a result could be declared and it was the delighted Neil O’Briain who took the spoils and won a cheque for £2,000 for his spectacular first round course record of 63 blows. Scott Drummond, who is finding the sort of form which won him the B.M.W PGA Championship finished second on 6 under par winning £1,000.

The welcome we received at Costa Esuri and La Monacilla was exceptional, with helpful, friendly and courteous staff making us and the players feel really at home. Beautiful and very well prepared golf courses completed the golfing package.

The Eurotel in Altura, that was our base for the Spanish swing, provided well appointed and comfortable rooms, good facilities and superb service for the length of our stay and we would hope to return there next year.