Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reservist places at international golf tournament

by Sandra Pishner
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/30/2012 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- It was a scramble. And not the golf kind, although it did result in a McChord Reservist tying for second place in the Conseil International du Sport Militaire World Military Golf Championship, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 13-19.

Tech. Sgt. Stephen Rude shot 69, 72, 79, and 72 for the four day tournament, giving him a total of 293 and tying for second place. Due to tie breaker rules, Rude, a California native, received the bronze medal for the tournament. Team USA dominated the tournament taking first place with second place Bahrain 79 strokes back. Team USA men individuals took gold, silver, and bronze.

Rude, from the 446th Maintenance Squadron, made a last minute decision to apply for the Air Force Golf Tournament at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and he credits his squadron mates with scrambling to get his orders together and supporting his first foray into the military world of golf tournaments.

"I was amazed at how much support I got to go to this, considering I had only been an air reserve technician for about four months," said Rude.

Rude has been a traditional Reservist since 2009 working in the sheet metal shop for his squadron.

No stranger to local golf tournaments, Rude had never, in his 30 years of golfing, considered he would be eligible to apply for the Air Force golf team. Then, he learned from a friend that yes, Reservists could also apply. And so he did.

"The crazy part is that my friend, who's been there a few times, didn't get picked this year. Part of the reason I applied is I thought I would be able to see him," Rude said with a laugh.

At the Air Force tournament, Rude shot 76, 75, 77, and 77; earning sixth place to make it on the Air Force team and advancing to the Armed Forces Golf Tournament.

The 2012 Armed Forces Championship was held Oct. 4-10 at NAS Jacksonville, with teams from across the services. The Air Force men dominated the tournament with 9-under par and a 65-stroke lead to take the team gold for the ninth consecutive year.

Rude shot 76, 75, 72, and 74 to place seventh individually. The top six individuals were selected to make up Team USA to compete at the world championship. Andy Aduddell and Tyler Goulding, the two Air Force players, were unable to attend the Conseil International du Sport Militaire World Military Golf Championship, opening up two spots and allowing Rude to slide into the fifth spot on the team.

"I knew a couple of guys couldn't make it the next week for the world championships, so I took one of their spots, and then I took second at the world championships," explained Rude.

The world championship was also at NAS Jacksonville.

"I actually played a lot better the very last week (at the world championship)," said Rude, who lives in Graham, Wash.

"It was lot different than normal tournaments for me. There was a lot of pressure I put on myself because (the squadron) did a lot to get me there. The pressure was really immense until the very last week. I knew I wasn't the best golfer on our team, but there was no pressure at the world championship because I was as far as I was going to go. So I ended up playing a lot better."

Eleven nations competed in the seventh installment of the Conseil International du Sport Militaire World Military Golf Championship. Including the U.S., teams competing were from Bahrain, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Namibia, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Spain, and Zambia.

"The tournament it wasn't any different; golf is golf," said Rude. "But it was a different atmosphere. A lot of players spent time mingling after a day of golf and it was much more fun. I was telling people about when I met team members from Spain. First thing they start speaking Spanish to me. I have dark skin so a lot of people think I look kind of Hispanic," Rude said.

"The overall atmosphere was great," said NAS Jacksonville Director of Golf Joe Carreiro. "In each day's pairings at least one person was from a different country to promote the friendship through sport. New friendships were established this week. The camaraderie increased as the week went on."

And as with many international competitions, there was a lot of bartering and trading of mementos.

"The CISM tradition of gift sharing and trading of jerseys went on throughout the week," said Carreiro. "You also saw the team spirit when players who finished early went back on the golf course to cheer on their fellow teammates and show good will to players of other nations."

"We weren't allowed to exchange (golf) gear until the very last day," said Rude. "Then the very last day it was like a free for all; like an old world bazaar. I feel like I got a lot of stuff from every single country, except maybe Namibia," he said.

Rude is guaranteed an invitation to next year's Air Force tournament.

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