Gary King takes his first win at Seve's Course
It was with mixed emotions that we set off for our 5th event of the year at the Severiano Ballesteros designed Shire London Masters Course. With Seve having sadly passed away only hours before, after fighting a deadly brain tumour for three years. It was to be a bitter, sweet tournament for us and the 132 professionals playing in the event.
As a mark of respect to Seve we gave all the pro’s a black ribbon to wear throughout the two days and to a man they all did so. This showed the immense respect for the man who did for European golf what Arnold Palmer did for American golf.
As with everything he did Seve produced a layout that was extraordinary as opposed to a traditionally laid out golf course. With 6 par three’s, 6 par fours and 6 par fives it would test the patience and imagination of all the players.
As seems to be the norm now, the first day saw an ever strengthening wind sweeping the cobwebs away from the Shire London Masters course and it was a definite advantage to go out as an early starter. This proved to be the case when the first group home included a 5 under par 65 from Tony Piccolo and a 4 under par 66 from recent winner Andrew Johnston. Gary King, playing in group 6 also produced a sparkling 5 under 65 to join Piccolo at the top table.
Guy Woodman, in group two produced a solid 3 under 67 to stay in touch with the leaders and he was joined by Martin Sell, Tommy Haylock and Scott Fallon in the chasing posse.
A stroke further back on 2 under par 68 came James Busby and Jay Beisser. Charlie Simpson, who by the way had a nasty 8 on the 16th hole in his 1 under 69, sat a further one shot behind alongside Mark Laskey, Westley Wray and Adam Carson.
With the scene set for day two with a calmer wind and bright sunshine we wondered would Piccolo hold his nerve to gain his first Jamega Tour win or would the more experienced players overtake him?
Although the conditions were calmer the scoring seemed worse for some strange reason though the exception was James Horn who shot a brilliant 4 under par 66 to rocket him up into the prize fund into joint 10th winning £360 for his efforts.
Unfortunately first round leader Piccolo stumbled a little with a closing 5 over but still finished joint 6th winning £650 and gaining a lot of experience. As the leaders reached the final holes the lead was grasped by Gary King with birdies on 15 and 16 which took him to 6 under par. Haylock who was challenging King for the lead until he stumbled giving stokes away with bogeys at 14 and 16 to eventually finish second to win £3,000.
Although with a 2 shot lead King was not home and dry yet with water playing a part in both the finishing holes. However he negotiated both with pars and stood victorious, winning by two and picking up the winner’s cheque for £6,000.
Although an emotional tournament tinged with sadness I am sure that Seve would have been proud of his legacy, his creation, the magnificent Shire Masters Course.
A true test for one and all, a “must play” for all your diaries, give The Shire a call, take on the challenge that Seve has set for golfers of all standards.
1957 ~ 2011
You will always be admired and never forgotten.