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Osborn captures 2001 Grand Prix

by Rich Curtis
Posted March 5, 2002

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How the new Grand Prix works
Grand Prix 2002 year to date

No, it's not the old Grand Prix of the eighties and early nineties - it's the all-new and improved USCA Grand Prix whose full-scale introduction has been delayed for several years while programming flaws were being analyzed and corrected. What's new is that it is fairer and much more inclusive than the old Grand Prix - in includes American and International rules on an equal basis. What's even newer is that the programming allows frequent updates to track the progress of players throughout the year. We didn't have that in 2001. But we already have it in 2002. By early February 2002, the first results were online, and the list of players and results is growing with each weekly update. If you have played in a sanctioned USCA event this year, you're already in the game. Now the only question is: How hard are you going to play?

Johnny Osborn becomes the USCA Player of the Year for the second time in three years after scoring the most points in the 2001 Grand Prix. Osborn had 19,975 points, followed by Dick Brackett with 16,708. Last year's winner, Jeff Soo, finished third, Bill Berne finished fourth and Paul Scott, the USCA Singles and Doubles National Champion, was fifth. Rookie Mike Jenner, who played in 17 singles events and 11 doubles events, finished tenth.

Johnny Osborn (right) lectured while Robert Fulford demonstrated peeling tactics during the Croquet Festival 2002 at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach.

Canada's Audrey Willie is top woman player of 2001

Osborn's point total set a new Grand Prix record, bettering the 18,332 accumulated by Jeff Soo last year. The player showing the most significant improvement from 2000 was Steve Johnston, who moved from 52nd place last year with 4,545 points to ninth place this year with 12,627 points this year. Audrey Willie took top female honors over Jackie Jones, who won last year.

The USCA Grand Prix measures a players performance over the course of the year based upon his or her tournament results. Points are awarded for each tournament played based upon the average handicap of the tournament, whether the tournament is a USCA titled tournament and the player's finish in the tournament. All USCA sanctioned tournaments are included and points are awarded for both singles and doubles events. In the event a player plays in more than 5 singles or 5 doubles events, only the 5 best results in each category are counted toward the overall standings.

Chilton is top scorer in 3-5 handicap range

In the 3-5 handicap range, Texan Bob Chilton captured the overall title with 5,797 points. Bass Winmill, Billie Jean Berne, Bo Menton and Chuck Perry rounded out the top five in that order. Gene Bryan scored the most points in the 6-8 handicap range followed by Mary Cate Walter, Gene Nathanson, Clarence Thomas and Lou Fusz.

Women dominated the top spots in the 9-11 and the over 12 handicap groups. Phyllis Butts edged out Barbara Powers, with Sally Winmill coming in third amongst the 9-11 handicappers. That makes two top 5 finishes for the Winmill family in 2001. Curtis Toops and Sandy Brent finished fourth and fifth in the group. Sherrill Lyon, Frank Caplan, Louise Logan, Kent Babcock and Mary Wilson were the top 5 finishers in the over 12 group.

The 2002 race for player of the year has already. Johnny Osborn staked a claim in the defense of his crown with his tenth win in the Palm Beach Invitational, but he was soon surpassed by the man he beat in the final, Peter Just. Just - also a Palm Beacher - proceeded to win the Laura Hart Invitational and along with other victories, giving him an impressive total of more than 7,000 points by early March. The new Grand Prix game is volatile. One big victory can make a huge difference. Anything can happen over the course of the year. Follow the up-to-the date results on the Websites.

If you're a USCA member, click here to see where you stand in the current rankings for this year. If you're not a USCA member, check it out anyway.

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