The King Challenge travelled to Sydney recently for the 2013 King Challenge tournament. Tour veterans Steve and Mike, were joined by seasoned campaigners Rohan and Richard for the three round stableford event.
Round 1 – Pacific Dunes
The King Challenge teed off at Pacific Dunes, located in Port Stephens, about two hours north of Sydney. Pacific Dunes proved to be a tough opening round on a layout designed by James Wilcher, that is carved through gum trees, deep rough and wetlands. Mike opened with a par as the rest of the field struggled off the tee, though his lead was short as his game collapsed on the front nine and Rich took over the lead. Pacific Dunes requires accuracy off the tee and survival golf was the best description of the front nine. Rich and Rohan lead after 9 holes from Steve, with Mike having a shocker. As the course moved into the wetlands on the backnine, scoring improved. Mike and Rich both joined the par train, and consistent golf meant that there was nothing in it after 18 holes. Rich was clubhouse leader with 26 points, the rest of the field all within 3 points.
Round 2 – Oatlands Golf Club
After much needed bacon inspired breakfast, the King Challenge returned to Sydney and headed to Oatlands Golf Club. Oatlands is situated in Parramatta in Sydneys Northern suburbs, Steve is currently a member, and hosted the King Challenge second round. Oatlands is a shorter but strategic layout, well treed with quick, true greens. Conditions were very challenging with gale force winds, which were pushing thick smokeclouds across Sydney from the Blue Mountains fires. Richards lead was short-lived with Mike grabbing a share of the lead on the 2nd hole and moving into outright lead on the 3rd. Despite the conditions and a lack of accuracy of the tee, Mikes short game kept his lead through to the 9th hole with the rest of the field just a couple of shots back. Rohan started a run on 8, and took the lead on the 13th. Steve then grabbed the lead on the 14th with a 5 pointer birdie. Mike finished strong and grabbed the clubhouse lead with a small lead over Rohan and Steve. Richard was a long way back after struggling during the second round.
Round 3 – Riverside Oaks
The King Challenge final round was played at Riverside Oaks, north of Sydney. Riverside Oaks winds through a bushland setting with numerous waterhazards and bunkers. The final round was Loudmouth day, with the field styled up in Loudmouth golf shorts. Mike and Steve traded shots early in the round, with Steve grabbing a share of the lead on the 6th hole. Again Mike was able to cling to a small lead despite having lost control of his driver off the tee. By the 10th hole, Mike had a 3 pt lead over Steve, with Rohan and Richard further back. Rohan started his attack on the lead on the back nine as his swing started emerging from a long hybernation. After 14 holes, Mike had a 5 pt lead but then poor shot selection and errors and some quality golf from the rest of the field narrowed the lead. Standing on the 18th tee, Mikes lead had reduced to 2 pts over Steve and 3 over a fast finishing Rohan. All drives found the fairway on 18, with a par for Mike sealing a close win. Mike wins the 2013 King Challenge by 3 pts over Steve, Rohan a point further back, and Rich paying for his costly second round in last place.
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