The first round saw the main contenders all grouped at the top with O’Brien a couple of shots ahead and Ryan a couple of shots off the pace, but all 5 were very much in contention. The players retired to the “Beautiful Room” to escape the elements and recharge their batteries with the usual excellent homemade fare of soup, bread, cheese and cake. The bread was so freshly baked it was actually hot. Scores were compared, tales were told and the players were re-grouped by score for the afternoon round.
The lead group consisted of O’Brien, Robins, Webber and Wilson. Starting on hole 1 which requires an uphill drive over a stone wall 75m from the tee, into a raging headwind, is not what you need when you want to ease yourself into the second round! It doesn’t get much easier after that either, as Wilson found to his cost when he crashed out of bounds on 2 and 3. Webber set back his cause when he drove out of bounds on 3 and promptly put his next shot back into the wrong field, taking a 7 in the end. O’Brien also faltered with a few errant shots and missed putts, but Robins avoided the pitfalls and went from strength to strength with 6 deuces and just 3 fours for a round of 51. This was 9 shots better than the rest of the lead group and put him into a 7 shot lead overnight.
The forecast for Sunday was for rain and high winds, and sure enough we got exactly that, although the rain was not as strong or persistent as feared, and thankfully it was quite mild. Robins played good solid golf in the testing conditions, and pulled out a few magic moments to get birdies and finish with a score of 55. O’Brien tried to apply some pressure, but the gambles didn’t come off when he attacked the baskets, and he slipped further back, to trail by 10, just 2 ahead of Webber who shot a very tidy 55. Ryan was struggling to find his best form in conditions that he never encountered in California, and he was getting no love from the baskets.
The nine hole final started in the wildest conditions of the weekend. The extremely strong and gusty winds carried sheets of rain horizontally across the fields. Even a 10 shot lead could easily be squandered in these conditions by an inexperienced player, as Oran Villiers-Stuart could testify, but Robins prides himself in knowing how to play the wind, and even grabbed a couple of birdies to ensure that the door remained firmly closed to any challenge. The battle for 2ndplace was very much on, O’Brien had started with a 2 shot advantage over Webber, but on the last hole he had to sink a very testing put to tie the scores.