at the end of the day
This year’s Tour took 14 players to Salou, about an hour and a half from Barcelona where the sun shone on the righteous for five days.
Day One took us to Bonmont, straight from the airport with little time to loosen up, eat or relax, which showed in the scores as Rob Draisey ran out the winner on 33 points at least five clear of his nearest rival. Bonmont was in beautiful condition with quick greens and spectacular views, one of which hindered the putting. Runner up was Alex Heath and as usual the winner was cut two shots and the second one shot for the next day. The team relaxed and recovered at the golf-oriented Castillo Javier restaurant over a wonderful meal.
Day Two at Lumine Lakes was reckoned by most to be the nicest course of the tour. More playable than Bonmont but challenging, with water coming into play on most holes, the greens were true and the hospitality was lavish. Winner on Day Two was Steven Spencer with 34 points from Brian Woodbridge on 31. That night’s dinner at La Morera was, if possible, even better than the first night and visitors to Salou would be well advised to include it on their list.
Day Three and the competition was getting tighter. The course for the day was Costa Dorada. As the website says: You will see trees rather than houses when you play at Costa Dorada. A typical parkland design, fairly difficult and located in the midst of a Mediterranean pine forest – both enjoyable and entertaining if you have the right game off the tees. It was intriguing, with dry stone walls along and across fairways and trees scattered randomly on the fairways and even in front of the greens. The day’s winner was Derek Raphael with 35 points coming in three shots clear of your Captain, Ashok, Rob Draisey (again) and Alex Heath, all on 32.
At the end of the day the tour leader was Rob Draisey with 91 points from Steven Spencer on 86, Derek Raphael on 84 and Alex Heath on 83. With two rounds to go and with each player having the right to drop his worst round, the game was on.
Day Four was played at Lumine Hills. Not quite as pretty a course as Lumine Lakes, but in a strong and gusty wind it presented a real challenge which showed in the scoring. Top scorers on the day were Rob Draisey and Steven Spencer on 29 points with David Hardy close on their heels on 27. This meant that Rob had now been cut four shots for the final day and Steven three. This gave the chasing group of Alex Heath, Derek Raphael and Edward Sawbridge a sniff of a chance at the Foster Plate.
The last round was at the 2015 Spanish Open course at El Prat, which proved very much tougher a proposition than anything played to date. Indeed it was the lowest points total and was the discarded round choice for 8 of the 14 players. A top score of 28 by Alex Heath saw him leader in the clubhouse with 111 points waiting for the final fourball, which was floundering its way out of bunkers and lakes over lightning fast greens to the final hole of the tour. But Rob Draisey, the leader, scored only 12 points and Steven Spencer 18, which allowed them to drop a low final round from their totals, finishing on 120 and 115 respectively. Rob Draisey took the Foster Plate.
A parallel competition with prize money was run throughout the tour and proved a great incentive to those who were not up among the leaders.