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.