English Open 2014
Lost City Adventure Golf, Nottingham
Not Lost City but more Won City
On a crisp Sunday morning in October, 27 players from across the country converged to Nottingham. The city centre venue of The Lost City Adventure Golf hosted the English Open 2014.
Preston who had never played at the venue before travelled to Nottingham after a overnight stay in Derby and this brought back happy memories for him as the last time he was in Nottingham, he won the Inland Revenue Mens Singles National Darts Championship at the University of Nottingham as part of the Winter Sports Weekend back in 2004.
Preston was playing in his first tournament as a Category Two player having risen up the Order of Merit into the Top 32 players in the country. It was going to be tough work to continue the impressive run of having won a prize in every tournament he had played in so far this season. There were six other Category Two players in the field including fellow Sussex Wasp, Steve Lovell and all were above Preston in the Order of Merit so a tough morning was expected.
Nine groups of three made their way onto the course onto different starting holes for the 9am start with the course open at 8am for practice and a vital forty five minutes of learning a new course.
Preston was with Category One player, Dave Donnelly and debutant on the Tour, Simon Farmer who was using a golf ball around the course. But this didn't prove to be a hurdle for Simon as he carded a one over 37. Dave was on cracking form in the opening round with a 30 and no dropped shots. This left Preston trialling behind after a poor 38 and a lowly 20th position after Round One.
Excuses about using a new putter from Germany and using more than two balls for the first time in a tournament were coming out of the Preston dictionary but Round Two proved to be an epiphany for him as fortunes turned around as he set a new personal best for a BMGA round of 30 and the first round without dropping a shot.
With Round Three being held tournament style, Preston was paired with James Trubridge and Geoff Farmer but the possibility of winning a Category prize was still on the cards as he lied third behind Steve Lovell and Emily Gottfried but both were crucially playing in the group behind so Preston had to set a good score for them to chase.
It turned out very well for Preston in Round Three with a blemish on hole 15 being the only blackspot on a final round of 32 and a step up to the runners-up spot in Category Two was assured. But unbelievably, a finishing tournament position of 8th just fourteen shots off the winner - Preston matching his position at the Splash Point Open earlier this season but also the first tournament finishing under par at -8.
Due to only your best four tournament finishes counting towards the Order of Merit, Preston stays 30th but with the Worlds to come, a good finish would guarantee a rise up the standings before the season ends in November. As far as the Season Only table, a Top five finish may be out of the question now after missing the Midlands Open and not taking part at Star City but a one place rise to 7th is a great showing.
The winning run continues but with the next tournament being the World Crazy Golf Championships in Hastings at the end of the month, the run will surely end....(won't it?!!).
Average Hole Scores for Tournament
1.94 1.99 2.10 1.40 2.20 2.26 1.63 2.22 1.86 1.42 2.16 2.20 1.93 1.98 2.14 1.80 2.02 2.00
Average Round Score - 33.33
Aces - 13 (24.07%)
Pars - 37 (68.52%)
Bogeys - 3 (5.56%)
Double-Bogeys - 1 (1.85%)
Triple-Bogeys - 0 (0%)
British Ranking - 30
Season Ranking - 7