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STEWART JACKSON
SETS GRAND PRIX RECORD
By Rich Curtis
President, United States Croquet Association
Posted April 5, 2008

Related Links
This Year's Grand Prix, to date, from USCA Website
How the New USCA Grand Prix Works, by Bob Alman
Interview with Rich Curtis, by Bob Alman, 2005
2007 Grand Prix, complete final standings - excel file


Stewart Jackson won the 2007 USCA Grand Prix and in so doing, obliterated the previous record for Grand Prix points set by Jeff Soo in 2002. Soo's record of 25,600 points had stood for five years before Jackson easily surpassed it with a total of 30,792. This was the first time that the East Hampton, New York and West Palm Beach, Florida resident had earned the top spot, but he won it going away with Ron Lloyd, a distant second, more than 10,800 points behind.

Stewart Jackson at the National Croquet Center, West Palm Beach, where he volunteers as General Manager. Photo by Leo Nikora.
Jackson put together one of the most impressive seasons ever. He started out the 2007 season with a singles win in the prestigious Palm Beach Invitational in January and followed that up by winning both the singles and doubles in the Beach Club Invitational. He won the Association Rules National Doubles Championship with Archie Peck in April (while tying for third place in the singles) and then completed a rare "double" by winning the American Rules National Doubles Championship with Brian Cumming in October. Only Jeff Soo and Paul Scott have pulled off that feat, and they did it together in 2002.

For Ron Lloyd, the Pinehurst teaching pro, it was his third straight year in the top ten and second year on the podium, with a third place in 2005. Brian Cumming, the 2005 winner, took third place, followed by John Osborn and Mik Mehas, both prior Grand Prix champs themselves. The top ten was rounded out by: Johnny Mitchell; last year's winner Ted Knopf; Leo McBride, Jeff Caldwell and Tim Bitting. For both Caldwell and Bitting, it was their first top ten finish.

Ron Lloyd is croquet pro at Pinehurst. Photo by Leo Nikora.
The Grand Prix competition tracks the performance of players in all USCA sanctioned tournaments over the course of the year. Points are awarded based upon the strength of each tournament, the type of tournament (i.e. national championship, regional, invitational, etc.) and a player's order of finish. However, only the five best singles and doubles results for each player are counted towards the total for the year.



Hamilton tops the three-to-five handicap range

THE ORIGINAL GRAND PRIX was created by Jack Osborn in the early days of the USCA to track results in the USCA game, in singles only. That system was dormant for several years and then re-invented on a broader basis by a committee headed by Rich Curtis and re-introduced in 2002. The new Grand Prix awards points for all USCA sanctioned singles and doubles games, for both American Rules and Association Croquet. Under discussion in 2008 are various ways to include USCA sanctioned Golf Croquet results in the Grand Prix as well.

The race in the three to five handicap group was tighter than for the overall with Bill Hamilton grabbing the top spot by less than 160 points over Tony Mayo. Perhaps coincidentally, these two were doubles partners at the National Championships at The Meadow Club. Ron Huxtable came in third place, just nosing out his life partner, Linda Huxtable. Fifth place went to veteran Bass Winmill.

Summer is the six-to-eight champ

Steve Summer of North Carolina won the six to eight handicap grouping. Second place went to Dick Johnston with Joyce LeClair coming in third. Jack Chase and Ken Northrop completed the top five.

Connie McQuade takes the 9-to-11 honors

In the nine to eleven handicap category, women players dominated the top four sports with Connie McQuade of the Green Gables Croquet Club in first place, followed by Keppy Babcock and two New York Croquet Club members-Jen Megalli and Rebecca Begofsky. George Blackburn took fifth place.

Scanlon triumphant in the 12-plus grouping

Brian Scanlon took home the honors in the twelve and over competition. Diane Saunders was second and Eva Carlson was third. They were followed by Blair Brickman and Carole Crow. Look for these players to be competing in lower handicap groups next year.


 
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