Runner-up in this year's Grand Prix was Leo McBride, making his first appearance among the top ten finishers. Leo won both the Mid-Atlantic/New England Single and Doubles trophies in 2002 as well as finishing second to Soo in the National Singles Championships. Rounding out the top five were Kenster Rosenberry (up from 72nd last year), Mike Jenner (tenth last year) and Doctor G himself, Doug Grimsley.
Although Soo has been a frequent presence in the top five finishers during the four years since the Grand Prix has been reinstated - including his win of the 2000 Grand Prix - fully 18 of the 25 players finishing in the top places in each of the five handicap groups this year had never posted a top five finish.
Women rule the 3-5 handicap range
Martha Ramey finished second to Billie Jean in the 3-5 range. Missy won the USCA First Flight Doubles National Championship with her father, Lou Fusz, and finished fourth in singles. Barbara Leeming completed the trio of top women players, grabbing fourth place. Rounding out the top five Grand Prix finishers in 3-5 were Aaron Kurtzman, placing third, and C. LeeThomas, placing fifth. Lee was the USCA First Flight Singles Champion in 2002.
In the 6-8 range, it's Richard Sullivan, Paul Embry, and Jim Armour
Richard Sullivan captured the 6-8 handicap group. Richard won the Merion Invitational and was the top finisher in theWaterford doubles at Merion. Paul Embry finished second in the group and Jim Armour finished third. Stephanie Paduano, who graced the cover of the Fall 2002 Croquet News, finished fourth, in part due to her Mid-Atlantic/New England 2nd Flight Singles win. George Blake, another New York Croquet Club member, took the fifth spot in the group.
Stetson tops in 9-11 handicap range
Four women placed in four of the five top spots amongst the 9-11 handicappers. Jo Stetson, with solid performances in a number of tournaments and a second place finish in the First Flight of theNational Club Teams, finished first. Second was Eileen Holberg, who hones her game during the summer at theClaremont in Maine and in Palm Beach during the winter. Ed Walter of the Patuxent Club finished third. Joy Guernsey-Diesel and Janet White were fourth and fifth, respectively.
University of Virginia student wins in 12 and up category
The Grand Prix does not reflect the best players in any handicap range, but rather, those players who posted the best performance over up to five tournaments during the year. Players earn handicap points for each USCA sanctioned tournament that they enter during the year. Singles and doubles are counted and both American and International rules tournaments are included in the Grand Prix. The Grand Prix points are calculated based upon a player's finishing rank, the strength of the other players in the tournament and whether the tournament is a club or invitational, a regional championship or a national championship. The full listing of all players in 2002 is available on both CroquetAmerica.com and www.CroquetWorld.com. Anyone interested in the actual formulas can contact me by email at: RGCRover@aol.com.
The 2003 Grand Prix has just begun...
One of the main differences between the new Grand Prix and the old Grand Prix is that players with limited tournament time can still win as a reward for consistent high performance. Although only the five best finishes are counted for each player, the more tournaments entered increase your chances of doing well. That said, even a few good tournament performances can result in a high Grand Prix total. In 2000, Jeff Soo won the Grand Prix despite playing in only four singles events and two doubles events. If you play in as few as five events and perform consistently well, you could win top honors in your handicap range.
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