Favorites prevail in final golf tune-up
October 2, 2014
This article has been corrected.
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Even in a DODDS-Europe golf season lasting just four weeks, there was time Thursday for a championship dress rehearsal.
Nearly all of the main actors in the race for European individual gold were on hand for a final regular-season meet Thursday at Rheinblick Golf Course, engaged in a potential preview of the championship tournament that will play out here in a week's time.
"This isn't the norm, actually," Wiesbaden's Noah Shin said.
Among the cast on hand Thursday was DODDS-Europe starlet Jenna Eidem, the Wiesbaden senior back to accept a de facto career achievement award; rising wunderkind and defending boys champion Jordan Holifield of Patch; a healthy crop of contenders from deep programs Ramstein, Patch, Wiesbaden and Kaiserslautern; and a set of scrappy underdogs from Vilseck.
While the circumstances were unusual, the competition on the field conformed closely to the script.
Eidem cruised to victory with a score of 45 in the final regular-season round of her esteemed career, a likely preview of her impending fourth consecutive European championship.
Her group, including Kaiserslautern's Ana Duenas (29) and Jasmine Acker (30) and Ramstein's Megan Harvey (20), did their best to keep pace.
"For me it's just to try my best, really, and just have fun," Duenas said. "That's really all I'm here for."
The boys field was far more evenly-matched.
Ramstein's Joshua Davis edged in front of Holifield early. But the reigning champ fought back, recreating his 2013 championship rally with a steady comeback on the back nine. Holyfield finished with 46 points in the event's Stableford scoring system, four ahead of Kaiserslautern's Jeff Kidwell and seven ahead of Davis.
Neither Holifield or Davis read too much into the results, however.
"It's more important to get it together by next week," Holifield said. "I'm just looking at the course, seeing what kind of shots I can play, where I can place them."
Davis is expecting 36 hard-fought holes next week.
"I think we're all pretty close in skill level," Davis said. "Golf varies. Some days you play really well, some days you play really poorly."
Regardless of how they fared Thursday, players welcomed the extra experience with the course that holds their European fate.
"It's definitely an advantage coming here before Europeans," Davis said. Shin, a member of the hometown Warriors, is taking full advantage of his proximity. He said he also played 18 holes Wednesday, and fared better than he did in Thursday's meet. But he took the same long view as his rivals.
"Maybe next time, you know," Shin said. "The European championship is all I'm interested in."
Only a few potential European qualifiers were missing from Rheinblick on Thursday, most notably dark-horse boys contender Garrett Roach of AFNORTH and a trio of hopeful girls from Bitburg in Leigha Daryanani, Samantha Nop and Emily Nop, all of whom competed in a three-team meet Thursday at Baumholder.
The 36-hole European championship tournament is set for Oct. 9-10 at Rheinblick.
Correction Ramstein's Jasmine Acker was misidentified in an earlier version of this article.