Planet Hastings Crazy Golf Open 2014
Hastings Adventure Course
Small field but a big prize ticket
On a cool Saturday morning, a small field of 26 assembled at Hastings for the last strokeplay event of the 2014 BMGA season.
The aim for Preston was to finish in the Top 16 as the traditional prize raffle was where the fun was to be had as the chance of finishing high in the Season Only ranking was always going to be difficult once progression to Category Three and now Category Two made scoring big points all the more difficult.
The tournament organiser, John 'Ted' McIver announced the groups and Preston was paired with British Number 1, Michael Smith and Owen Johnson. Preston had the tremendous honour of playing with Michael in the first day of the British Championships at Margate so knew that even with a two round tournament the aim was to stay within five shots of Michael over the 16 hole course (two holes were out of action due to being relaid) with Holes 1 and 2 being played twice each round to make up the 18 holes.
Things started badly for Preston as he messed up the opening shot on Hole 1 clipping the right wall and finding its way around the slope and the rock placed slapbang in the middle of the hole. He recovered with a 2 and was able to gather some momentum with an ace on Hole 2 with the golf ball clipping the top of the hole and landing straight down.
The tee putt on Hole 3 was a mistake missing the ramp along the centre wall and a 3 had to be rescued to keep things ticking along nicely. Bogeys on the slopey 7th and the tricky 9th meant a outward score of 20. Things needed to be kept tidy to be in sight of the leaders.
Hole 10, a tricky short hole was aced and the rest of the round was tidy apart from one more bogey and a clubhouse score of 38 put Preston in second place behind Michael's opening 35.
As the rest of the field played their way round a damp course, Preston found his true vocation in life as a chocolatier, handing out tasty treats from Lidl (surprisingly still in date and quite nice - and most of it to Paul Johnson!!) to players made weary from some tough conditions.
As the scores after the first round were totted up, Preston found himself in joint second place surprisingly. With the field going out in reverse order this meant that Preston was for the first time playing in the final group of the second round with the maestro himself, Michael Smith.
The second round started nervously as the situation got to Preston slightly with an opening bogey on Hole 1. Dropped shots on Hole 4 by hitting the bunker on the far right of the hole and a poor tee shot on the straight Hole 11 put Preston well behind Smith who was hitting aces more frequently.
It was a case of damage limitation to try and finish in the Top 16 and with a final bogey on Hole 13 unluckily meant that Preston with a final score of 78 moved down from 2nd to 6th. The best finish on Tour but again the bogeys costing him a final position of 2nd. Preston has to iron out the bogeys for 2015 to be considered a contender for the coveted Top 16 and Category 1 status.
The final position meant that Paul was going to get a prize which one was it to be; £30, a Picture, a Steve Lovell Gnome, Door Mat, 1950s Mincer, Minigolf Hamper, Santa Claus outfit, Peter Andre and Katie Price CD, Christmas toilet seat, Floor Lamp or Street Art Mini Golf balls. It was none of these and a set of jealous eyes from Richard Gottfried as Preston picked up a vintage 1970s On The Buses board game. It will undoubtedly make an appearance over the Christmas period with the countless reruns of Bond and Harry Potter films scheduled.
A great tournament and a great end to the strokeplay season for Preston with a finishing position of 6th in the Season Only Rankings and an Order of Merit position of 26th less than 1300 points from a Category 1 position.
Average Round Score - 39.00
Aces - 2 (5.56%)
Pars - 26 (72.22%)
Bogeys - 8 (22.22%)
Double-Bogeys - 0 (0%)
Triple-Bogeys - 0 (0%)
British Ranking - 26 (=)
Season Ranking - 6 (=)