BACK

Here is my report of the Marion Masters Golf tournament.

Several weeks ago there was a qualifying tournament for the Marion Masters golf tournament. About 140 amateur golfers played a round of golf at the Pine Oaks golf course in Ocala, FL. The top 50 scores and ties advanced to the finals which was to be held at a later date. I was one of the participants and shot 78 which was good enough to make the cut at 81. The finals were held this last weekend, May 16-18, at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Country Club at the Villages, Stonecrest Country Club in Summerfield, and the Country Club of Ocala which is where I live.

The first round was played at the Nancy Lopez Country Club using the Ashley Meadows - Torri Pines 9's. This course is rated at 72.6 with a slope of 138 from the back tees which played at around 6767 yards. A total of 63 players were in the championships. Some of the eligible players were unable to participate. The qualifiers were joined by past champions and those who finished in the top 5 from last year. Tee times started at 11:32 am and stretched out to 1:24 pm. I had a 12:20 pm tee time and was paired with John Yoders and Mike Ihrig who both work at local golf courses in Ocala. They both started to struggle after the 6th hole and finished the first round at 81 and 84 respectably.

Hole	Yards	Par	Score	Putts
1	346	4	4	2	
2	392	4	5	2 f
3	536	5	5	2 f
4	174	3	3	2
5	418	4	5	2 f
6	389	4	5	1
7	412	4	3	1 f
8	212	3	3	1
9	507	5	5	2
	3386	36	38	15 4/7 5/9 gir
10	554	5	5	2 f
11	224	3	6	2 Hit OB left off tee
12	331	4	4	2
13	366	4	4	1
14	429	4	4	1
15	398	4	4	2 f
16	370	4	4	1 f
17	168	3	4	2
18	541	5	4	1
	3381	36	39	14 3/7  4/9 gir
	6767	72	77	29 7/14 9/18 gir 2 penalty strokes
Here are a couple of links to the local newspaper articles.
http://www.starbanner.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030516/NEWS/205160348/1026/SPORTS
http://www.starbanner.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030517/NEWS/205170311/1026/SPORTS

The second course was at Stonecrest Country Club in Summerfield. It has a rating of 72.7 from the back tees with a slope of 131. Summerfield's greens were not in very good shape and it seemed to me that they had the course playing quite a bit shorter with almost all of the pins in the middle of the greens. Even with the bumpy greens, scores were lower here. I was again paired with John & Mike and we were in the 2nd to the last tee time. On the 17th hole the weather started to get bad with the wind blowing and a few sprinkles of large raindrops. On the 18th hole, lighting was in the area and I wanted off the course, I rushed a bit which might have led to my bogey at the last. Stonecrest is a bit more open and so even when I missed the fairway with my drives I was still in pretty good shape to get to the green. I hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation (missing the 6th when I pulled it way left and on the 18th). One disappointment was not getting a birdie at the 10th after I hit a 4 wood to just off of the green and pin high from about 230 yards out.
Hole	Yards	Par	Score	Putts
1	517	5	6	3
2	175	3	3	2
3	413	4	4	2 f
4	379	4	3	1 f
5	377	4	3	1 f
6	195	3	6	3 (pulled left into water off tee)
7	391	4	4	2 f
8	430	4	4	1 f
9	594	5	4	1
	3471	36	37	16 5/7 8/9
10	567	5	5	2 f
11	181	3	3	2
12	359	4	3	1
13	386	4	4	2
14	155	3	3	2
15	410	4	4	2 f
16	516	5	4	1
17	374	4	4	2 f
18	401	4	5	2
	3349	36	35	16 3/7  8/9
	6820	72	72	32 8/14 16/18 gir 1 penalty stroke
The third and final round was played at the Country Club of Ocala. I am very familiar with the course as I live on it and play it several times a week. It is a tougher course than the other two, but usually I can manage my game play decently there. However this was not to be as I had one of my worst rounds in a couple of weeks. The plus side to the round was that my wife, her parents and my dad were watching me. Unfortunately they watched me as I mostly struggled.

I was expecting the course to played from the tips, but they played the round from the Dark Green tees which usually measures 6556 with a rating of 72.1 and a slope of 139. They moved quite a few of tees back from these normal tees so that the course was more of the same distance as the other two courses. There are a lot more trees on our course and it seemed that I was determined to play under them. On the front 9 I had two bad holes. I pulled my tee shot left on 4 to be right next to some small trees. I could only go for the fairway in front of the green. On 9, I pulled the ball left into the water. I laid up as trees were in my way to the green and then hit a poor wedge shot to the green. Another poor putt gave me a 7. The only really bad hole I had on the back was on 12 when I went OB to the right and then almost did it again on my next shot. I managed to come in the last 6 holes at one over par, but the damage was done as I had bogeyed 10 and 11 after getting myself into trouble off of the tee.
Hole	Yards	Par	Score	Putts	
1	529+	5	6	2	
2	370	4	4	2 f
3	376	4	4	2
4	183+	3	5	2
5	500+	5	5	2 f
6	386	4	4	2 f
7	345	4	5	3
8	134	3	3	2
9	443	4	7	2 (Pulled my drive left into water)
	3266+	36	43	19 3/7 6/9
10	501+	5	6	1
11	151	3	4	2
12	396+	4	7	2
13	358	4	4	2
14	383	4	4	2 f
15	398+	4	4	1
16	179+	3	3	1
17	410+	4	4	1 f
18	514+	5	6	2 f
	3290+	36	42	14 3/7  2/9
	6556+	72	85	33 6/14 8/18 gir 3 penalty strokes
My totals were 77+72+85=234 which was good for 19th place. Not bad, but the last round really hurt me. I hit 21 of 42 fairways and 33 of 54 greens in regulation. I had 94 putts. After the really good 2nd round I was hoping to shoot at least 75 at my course, but I didn't hit the ball very well and had 3 short missed putts which lipped out. I played the last round with Jimmy Letterly, Steve Eberle, and Mike McFarlane. We all struggled on our last round, but we had a good time. There was some weather for about 2 hours as lightning was in the area and it threatened to rain. Some of us were hoping for a rain delay so that we could regroup, but we ended up having to do that while we played.

Here is the link to the final article from the Ocala Star Banner which covered the event. http://www.starbanner.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artikkel?SearchID=73135640330839&Avis=OS&Dato=20030519&Kategori=NEWS&Lopenr=205190313&Ref=AR

Berger Warner who has been the club champion at the Country Club of Ocala for most of the last 6 years ended up winning the event by 3 strokes. Berger doesn't hit the ball excessively far, but he hits it down the middle almost all the time. I have had the privilege of playing with him and some of the other top players at our club in 'Skins' games which teaches me a lot about golf. Hopefully at my next golfing event I won't have that bad round in there.


Walter Ray



[an error occurred while processing this directive]