Par could be impossible, says Mouland
Mark Mouland will not be surprised if nobody breaks par this weekend at the Grey Goose World Par 3 Championships.
The defending champion finished at one-under-par last year, winning by one shot, and believes the tournament will be just as close this time around.
With winds expected to gust up to gale force today, and strong winds also forecast tomorrow, Mouland said that he thought the Turtle Hill Golf Club course could play as many as five shots harder than in 2014.
“If the weather forecast is what is going to happen I'm sure nobody will break par,” he said. “It will be impossible I think if it stays as windy for both rounds, I would think it could easily be four-over winds.”
Given the conditions, Mouland said that he would be happy to walk away with par from most holes, and thinks players will need to show a lot of imagination just to survive over the 36 holes.
“The weather is difficult to say the least, but the course is in great condition,” Mouland said.
“You've just got to try and keep it low, hit the green and two putt for a par. You could so easily double-bogey every hole.
“When it's so windy a par is a great score.”
As with this week's Bermuda Open, there is a strong international field for the Grey Goose, with Mouland just one of several professional players involved.
Mouland is scheduled to tee off at 11.41 this morning alongside Graham Bannister, a fellow European Senior Tour player, and Craig Christensen, who won the senior's division of the Bacardi National Par 3 Championships.
Others involved include Gordan Brand Jr, Anders Forsbrand, Miguel Ángel Martín, and Jimmy Lytle, who came so close to winning the Bermuda Open at Port Royal Golf Course on Thursday.
In a strong field, Mouland will again be among the favourites and is no stranger to par 3 golf, having been involved with the British Par 3 at Nailcote Hall for the past 15 years.
“This is a different beast, the tournament in Britain has a lot shorter holes,” he said. “This tournament is growing, you look at the field this year compared to last year and it's getting better and better.”
Par 3 golf has often been dismissed as not being “real golf” and has been looked down upon by certain elements of the sport. Mouland said people like that did not know what they were talking about.
“You could bring the whole world here today and they would understand ‘hey, this is real golf',” Mouland said.
“Until you have done it, they've no idea. You've still got to hit the shots, this is all about finesse and feel.
“You're hitting clubs that you didn't think possible. A 5-iron under the wind going 120 yards is unbelievable.”
There is likely to be plenty of improvisation and imagination needed with wind and rain forecast for much of the weekend, and organisers have decided to start early today in an attempt to beat the worst of the weather.
The first group of Patrick Rada, Thomas Houston, and John Regan are due out at 7.30am, with the possibility of a shotgun start tomorrow if the weather gets the best of the organisers.