SEVENTY-TWO holes of golf, spanning across three days, is a marathon at the best of times.
Now factor in a golf course playing firm and fast, with brutal unforgiving rough and gusts exceeding 25mph, and you have yourself the ultimate test.
That was the test that faced 38 players at Royal Jersey Golf Club as they all bid to be crowned the 2022 Jersey Strokeplay champion.
The penal conditions were the talk of the clubhouse over the first two days of tournament play and the scores backed that up.
Sixteen-over-par was the cut mark at the halfway stage – 11 more shots than 12 months ago at La Moye – as the top 16 (and ties) prepared for a 36-hole day on Saturday to decide the victor.
Royal Jersey member James Draisey led after 36 holes with scores of 69 and 72 (+1), to lead Josh Ozard by seven stokes.
As the week progressed, conditions worsened and a stiff wind on Saturday gave the players a real test of their metal.
Draisey posted a third round 75 as eventual runner-up Steven Anderson crept into contention, having opened the tournament with an 81 (+11) to sit all the way down in 23rd. A second round 69 (-1) and third round 72 (+2) meant that the 12-stroke deficit to Draisey had been halved to six entering the final round.
The wind continued to stiffen, which presented players with the toughest test of the week on tired legs.
Draisey faltered to an 80 (+10) in the final round, while Anderson’s 74 (+4) sent the pair into a sudden death play-off.
Despite seeing his healthy lead evaporate, the Tournament Golf College player showed great resolve and navigated his way down the first play-off hole like a veteran.
Anderson, who won the event in 2016, saw his birdie try slide by, leaving his club-mate to pour his effort in from 15 feet to claim his maiden Jersey men’s crown.
Winning a 72-hole golf tournament wire-to-wire is a rare feat for any golfer.
However, to win in that vein for your first major Jersey Golf Union crown is exceptional.
That is exactly what Royal Jersey member James Draisey achieved last Saturday in the JGU Strokeplay Championships – where he led after every round, before defeating past champion Steven Anderson on the first play-off hole.
The 21-year-old said: ‘It was certainly a mental test having to sleep on the lead after each day.
‘I felt like I handled it pretty well until the final round, where I let myself get a little caught up by it.
‘Personally, I have never played a tournament in conditions as testing as that.
‘The course was so penal and made every single shot vital.
Draisey, who has developed through the Tournament Golf College on the mainland is now gearing up for a couple of Jamega Tour events in June.
He competes as an amateur golfer in the professional events – which feature some of the best amateur golfers in the country.
The exposure he has had to this level of competition through the golf college is now paying dividends, highlighted by his latest exploits back home in Jersey.