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2003 TOUR

The Tour was a new event for 2003. Fundamentally the idea behind it is that all competing players get to choose 2 courses and then all players play this course together in a Stroke play style. After all the courses have been completed the winner can only then be determined.

This inaugural year for the tour saw the following players take part...

Rolfy Tomlinson READ BIO
Brent (BMan) Mariner READ BIO 
Simon Assirati READ BIO 
Steve O'Grady READ BIO 

The courses selected were...

Falconwood, Addington, Surrey PLAYER SCORES
Sweetwoods, Kent PLAYER SCORES
Rusper, Surrey PLAYER SCORES
Tilgate Forest, Sussex PLAYER SCORES
Gatton Manor, Sussex PLAYER SCORES
West Malling (Hurricane Course), Kent PLAYER SCORES
Hassocks, Kent PLAYER SCORES
West Malling (Spitfire Course), Kent PLAYER SCORES


Throughout the event the News broke as follows...

Release 28th May 2003
A controversial course to begin the Tour - potentially the easiest of all the courses, it was hoped by a number of players that this would appear towards the end of the tour to get the best scores. However Falconwood is out of the hat first and will scupper a lot of tour strategies. 

The players go into the first game with a lot to think about. Last weeks final warm up round at Warlingham GC proved to take some prisoners and 
dent some players confidence should they end up in the sand!

First tee off is 8am on Sunday, Falconwood, Addington, Surrey.

Release 2nd June 2003
After an initial delay in teeing off first tee nerves were extreme with players physically shaking under the pressure of the first match. After the first tee all players started strong, with pars galore and O'Grady taking a birdie!!!. At the end of the front 9 there was only 3 shots between first and last position.

However concentrations were damaged at the 10th Tee when two rogue players tried to sneak on. However the "Azz" - "had a word in their shell" and they seemed to see the error of their ways - this interruption subsequently caused all manner of disasters and saw most players score badly on this hole.

The first match of the Tour proved to be an exciting one every player at one point was leading and the leader board moved around many times. Finally Simon Assirati took first position with a score of nett 88.

14 AND OUT, 9th June 2003
Round 2 of the 2003 UYOA TOUR, saw a return for only the second time to Sweetwoods Park in Kent and strong winds would prove to play a major factor in this weeks golf. 

After a week of pondering, analysis and some further practise - all 4 players came to round 2 in the knowledge that they all had a genuine chance of a win. If any body was least favourite it was surely the "Azz" after a totally disastrous score here last time.

By the third Brent was leading, by the 6th there was only 1 shot between all 4 players, by the 9th there was still only 1 shot between 3 players, and by the 13th three players were all leading . . . but then there was the 14th!

Stroke index 1, this hole took more prisoners than President Bush. One 9, one 8 and one 7 saw 3 beautiful rounds destroyed. Had it not been for "golf god luck" Simon's second shot would have also been a gonna and his score would have followed suit - but having made the carry over the tree's (even Simon didn't think it had!) he was homeward bound with a comfort zone.

15 to 18 were played very sombrely with little of the joviality experienced earlier in the day - Simon eventually putted in on the 18th to take a 4 shot clear lead, and take the number 1 spot two weeks running.

It is now clear who the enemy is, it's name is "Assirati" !

A GAME OF TWO HALVES, 16th June 2003
The pressure was starting to show as the Tour reached its third venue - Rusper golf club in Sussex. The "Azz" with two consecutive wins under his belt was coming to his favourite and most played course - leaving the three other players to approach Rusper with surely a defensive game plan!!! Combine this with a 7.30am shotgun start, and expected temperatures of 280+ this game would prove to be a real test.

Rolfy started aggressively paring the first three holes, and a steady first 9 holes saw him surprisingly leading the pack at this stage. At the turn there was 10 shots between first and last place.

Despite 6 shots off Rolfy at the turn, the start of the second nine saw Brent start to attack the course and creep ever closer to Rolfy. While Brent played attack, the other players started to let Rusper bite. The "Azz" could not make any progress on the lead and in-fact became increasingly more exasperated at his own performance - perhaps the best evidence of this was on the 13th when his club was thrown further than his ball had been hit after his 3rd shot!

By the end of the 14th it was clear that there was two battles in progress - Brent attacking Rolfy for first place and Steve attacking Simon to move up off last place. These two pairs battled it all the way home, at the start of the 18th Rolfy was still holding off a one shot (net) lead from Brent that had been the case since the 12th. Steve had a 2 shot lead from Simon and looking at at least a third position. 

Come the final putts on the 18th, Brent managed to match Rolf's score (for a shared first place) after a poor chip into the green gave B the opening he had fought so hard for all day: and after a wayward tee shot from Steve, and a faultless par from Simon on the 18th these two players completed Rusper tied for second place.

The Tour see's a 5 week break now to allow for recuperation, vacation and training for the 4th venue - the dreaded Tilgate!!!

Release 28th July  2003
As the players approached the 4th course; Tilgate Forest it was clear that if we thought we'd seen the players taken the Tour  seriously up to now Tilgate took it to a whole new level.

No player admitted what they had done off the grid since the last match to work on their 'A' game; a total media lock down on any activity from the 4 of them was in place. Even on the day, any causal interaction had been replaced with poker faces. All 4 of the players were on the practice range prior to the off - Rolfy was even at an alternative range at another course so as not to give the other players any nod to what his game looked like. For the 3 players on the range at Tilgate there was not even a nod of acknowledgement between them as they remained focused on the day ahead. Even on the tee nothing more than a civil greeting was exchanged before silence fell as the match got under way.

Steve was noticeably taken aback by this depth of competitiveness and promptly shot his first shot off the tee into the woods and declared a lost ball and as all 4 walked down the first hole it was Steve who said to his fellow players "Cmon chaps aren't we taking this a little too seriously - lets lighten up a little and have fun!". This seemed to break the stone faces briefly as all 4 laughed at the situation but very soon the game faces were back in place for the day ahead.

By the end of hole 5 there had been some steady play from all 4 of them - admittedly the par 5 4th resulted in a score of 8 for Brent  and a 7 for Steve but with their adjusted nett score allocation this allowed for  this. In fact subsequently when you view Brent's stats for his par 5's they make a respectable 6.6 on average.

Tilgate takes no prisoners and through the next few holes Steve found this out personally having to post an 11 on the par 5 12th and pretty much ruling him out of contention for this round.

Somehow Brent managed to post a 9 on the par 3 15th and both Simon and Steve posted an 11 and a 10 accordingly on hole 17. Today's win was only left for Rolf who's steady play around the course allowed him to romp home the victor on this day with a 5 shot clear win despite the final 2 holes costing him 14 shots.

Release 4th August 2003
In temperatures of 30+ degrees, our contenders took the Tour battle to Gatton Manor. The player to win this match would need good stamina and maintain a strong level of concentration.

At the turn 3 players were within 2 (nett) shots of each other. Unfortunately Brent was suffering, quoted “the course doesn’t suit my game!” and a gross score for the front 9 of 61 left Brent with a massive task to get back into it.

A turn around from previous games saw Steve O’Grady be in the hunt. Steve had played inconspicuously through the front 9 but saw him in with a chance as the players started the 10th.

Brent did his best to get back into the race, but taking his now-famous high risk shots failed to pay off and a back nine that included one 8, and two 9’s ensured “game-over”.

Simon, also scored one 8 and one 9 keeping any attempt at a strong lead out of his grasp, and Rolfy started to wane towards the end and posted 15 over the last 2 holes. Only Steve kept focussed and continued to slowly creep into contention. A solid back nine with only one 7, slightly marking a very respectable performance saw eventually him take first place for the first time with a final clear (nett) shot victory of 3.

Odds of O’Grady taking first for this match were low, however with this upset to the score board, it now see’s Rolf and Simon sharing first position and Steve now attacking Brent for third place.

Next week sees’ the first of two matches at West Malling. The first at the slightly softer Hurricane course. 

Release August 10th 2003
The only thing to go over a hundred at West Malling’s Hurricane course on Sunday was the temperature! On the hottest day since records began, O’Grady took to the tour again and proved that last weeks success was not a one off.

The Tour is now reaching a critical stage, this is where the players must make and secure their move to ensure they’re still in the hunt at for the final. Each player came with a game plan, some were less sophisticated but still set clear objectives.

The Azz’s needed to beat Rolf, Rolf wanted to play non-aggressively and conserve as much energy and concentration as possible, BMan needed to finish in the top 2, and Steve’s plan was to release any pressure and play steady.

Due to the temperature this game would prove scruffy in places, and yet on the other hand offer some impressive play too.

The Azz started poorly with an 11 on the third hole, and this looked like we’d see his confidence destroyed and the end of his run. But a birdie on the 5th got the Azz back into the zone… and steady play ensured he was only 4 shots off the leader at the turn, and creeping back into contention.

Rolf hit the flagstick from 75 yards on the 6th, but still only managed a bogey. A lost ball on the 8th saw Rolf’s challenge start to wane. Two more 7’s at 11 and 14 and Rolf was potentially looking at a last place. Asked at the time what it felt like to be staring at 4 points, Rolf’s reply was simple and direct “I’ll let you know when I am!”

BMan continued to play steady and was looking to achieve his plan with a strong defence of a second spot, but it was Steve that continued steady play to remain outright leader for most of the match.

Anticipation for the enormous 610 yard, 16th loomed and with only 3 of the players having ever played it before the expectation was that it would produce some high scores. But this hole seemed to focus the players and saw some of the best play of the day. Some strong shaped shots by all the players coming up the fairway, and both Rolfy and BMan attempted putts for par on this hole. Only duffed approach shots from Steve and the Azz blotted their score sheet.

Standing on the tee of the 18th, Steve remained out in front with 3 clear shots off anybody else. But 3 shots separated the remaining 3 players. BMan held number 2 position with one shot from Azz, and one shot from Rolf. This was going to be a battle for second place.

If you could pick out 2 characteristics of BMan it would be that he’ll play the low percentage shot every time – and that pressure still affects him applied by nerves. 

His 18th tee shot proved a good demonstration of the latter as he fired his drive straight into bushes. BMan’s face was again a picture of disappointment. Seizing the opportunity The Azz hit a booming drive up the fairway, with a mid iron into the green. Rolf’s tee shot too was strong, with a 5 wood finishing only 10 yards behind Azz, but a slightly pulled second shot due in part to the now fading light meant he missed the green. 

BMan closed his round with a 7, but a 6 from Rolf ensured that B shared third place to limit the final damage. 

This outcome has shaken the scores around and now means that anybody can still win the Tour. There is no forgone conclusion – and the appointment of Tour champion will not be decided on until the final match is complete.

All credit to Steve who had a disastrous first few matches now seems to have settled into the groove and seems to be a viable late contender for the title.

And should Steve win the next match too, then surely the headline must be…
”You once, twice, three times O’Grady!!!”

Release 31st August 2003
Hassocks – the penultimate venue on the tour and maybe the single most important match. Players had to remain in contention at the end of this game to be in with a chance of the final.

Rolf arrived concerned and knew a point less than “The Azz” was what was required

Steve arrived with plenty of spirit – unfortunately most of that was from the night before and needed help from his friend Diet Kick to keep him stimulated.

Brent appeared and (apparently) declared no game plan at all!

The Azz returned surprisingly quietly confident after a couple of weeks away at his secret training camp in Cornwall. His attitude started out very relaxed and he could even afford to hum his way around some of the early holes.

Rolf’s first tee shot went straight out of bounds. But everyone else started well. The Azz started strongly for the first 3 holes and looked comfortable. But then an errant tee shot and the chinks in his armour were starting to show.

A front 9 concluded with all players within 3 shots of each other. The scores would have been closer had Brent not attempted a ballsy tee shot on the 9th and subsequently found water twice.

The return to the 11th saw almost all the players struggle. This hole encourages the brave but then laughs at them when they don’t make it!!! Brent, Steve and The Azz got laughed at!

Rolf played the holes safe and managed to score a 6. 

The 15th proved to be the final wound to the confident Azz, a wayward tee shot and subsequently a dropped shot and then a claim that his original ball was found didn’t impress the officials and the dropped shot was taken. The Azz expressed his dismay at this decision in no uncertain terms and the air was blue and then uncomfortably quiet straight after this outburst.

Arrival at the 18th tee saw the field separated into 2 clear halves – Steve and Brent were level on 91 (nett) shots each and Rolf and Azz were on 88 each. 

Each player was playing the 18th to finalise their position. 

The Azz missed a 6 foot putt to give Rolf the edge to sink a 4 foot put to win, but the ball snaked around the hole and these 2 finished in joint first place. Steve parred the 18th and took second position, leaving Brent to take third.

The final can now only be won by either Rolf or The Azz. Third place is to battled out between Brent and Steve. 

Let the battle commence…

Release October 6th 2003
Only days before the final match of the Tour, an error on the scoring has come to light that changes quite dramatically the potential outcome of the tournament.

Steve O’Grady’s score at Rusper had been posted in error. Steve came joint second with the Azz and hence should have only scored 2 points instead of the 3 points posted. The scores have now been adjusted and re-posted. 

This incident means that the battle for first place can still only be fought out between Rolf or the Azz, but some scenarios could mean now that Steve could draw second with Rolf. This is dependant on Steve having a stonking day and Rolf playing like a monkey!

Brent now also has to pull his finger out to avoid last position; and the Azz can only finish now first or second.

All in all the last game of the Tour will be very interesting!

Release 11th October 2003
The expectation for this day had been building since the first match – and now the day was here the relief even before all players started was clearly evident. Relaxed, joking and chatting all the players appeared to get up to the first tee with little nerves and really just wanted to enjoy the day.

For October the weather was superb, clear, bright and sunny – perfect conditions for this year’s final.

All players started steady, and for Steve who had never played the course before he seemed to be holding his own. But most of the players had some dodgy hole, including Rolf on the 5th having to play a shot onto the green with one foot rapidly sinking into a bog. Only the Azz managed to remain steady, and at the end of the first nine he held a small but clear lead over the rest of the field.

Rolf started the back nine attacking The Azz for shots, but despite shots such as his drive on the 11th par 4 landing only 10 yards from the green he failed to take the advantage when he needed to. 

Brent’s plan to move up on Steve also failed to deliver and as each hole passed the final outcome looked inevitable.

Despite the Azz clearly starting to show signs of fatigue as the last few holes were completed he eventually putted out on the 18th to take the title of 2003 Tour Champion with a final round score of (nett) 92 – 4 shots ahead of second place. 





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the UYOA Tour rules



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