GOLF | Club champs off to a good start

MEN’S GOLF

Barry Shine all set to do his thing on the 10th hole. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Barry Shine all set to do his thing on the 10th hole. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

With glorious weather conditions and a course in tip-top shape there was a promise of exciting golf in the club championships. And so it proved with many players’ scores resembling a roller-coaster

The 1st round of the men’s championships, sponsored by Lachlan Commodities, was played on Saturday. Most of the 71-strong field played early, with many other activities around the community to race off to.

In the A-grade, expectation was that the in-form John Betland would produce the goods, and that he did. His 68 Scratch, compiled with two 34s portrayed his skill with the clubs. Birdies on all the par-5s certainly helped.

Runner-up on the first day was Steve Betland, with an even-par 72 round. This promises to be a titanic struggle. Most other A-graders had rounds not to speak of.

The A-Reserve Grade sees John Zannes with 82 scratch leading from Bruce Carpenter (83) and Stephen Uphill (84). John played a game of high confidence and determination to somehow keep his score going in the right direction.

The B-Grade is always dog-fight, with some many players of similar ability squaring off. David Earl did well with his 85 scratch to lead on count back from Ken Sanderson. But defending champion Ian Bown was lurking only one shot behind.

The C-Grade produced the best Nett score of the day, being a 67 nett by Geoff Drane. But the scratch leader is Craig Barrett (92) from Ash Tucker and Geoff Drane on 94, with a gaggle of players, including the defending champion Anthony Alley, on 95. In conjunction with the Championships, there is a Daily comp played, sponsored by Pool Magic. This is where the handicaps are really useful. The A-division was won by Dave Earl (69 nett) from Ken Sanderson (70 nett) on count back. It was easy to see their long-term golf course rivalry carry on with the usual tradition. The B-division was won by Geoff Drane (67 nett) from an improving Greg Webb (70 nett). Greg had the advantage of playing with some of the best putters to be members of the club, although they did not always display their talent.

The ball sweep went to 72 on count back, going to: 67 – G Drane; 69 – D Earl; 70 –K Sanderson, J Betland, G Webb, J Haley, M Wood; 71 – I Bown, J Zannes, B Carpenter, W Judge, M Browne; 72 – S Uphill, S McAlister, T Morgan, A Rees, A Tucker, A Callaghan and S Kirkman.

NTP’s: 9th – D Mylecharane; 18th – J Betland. Surprisingly there were only eight 2’s scored. Dave ‘Mullie’ converted his NTP but John missed his. The best “2” of the day went to Steve Bate. He managed an eagle on the 4th, and did not believe it despite Fred Collie’s commentary until he picked his ball out of the cup.

For most players their game was one of two halves – one good half and one bad half. The good halves were helped by good shots. Steve Bate’s eagle for one gave him a good front-9, but he fell away on the back-9. Conversely, John Zannes was a bit wayward on the font-9, but stormed home on the back-9. He was helped by a miraculous shot on the 15th. His tee shot finished among the small she-oak trees on the right side of the fairway. He had less than a shoe-box width gap between the tree stems to play a shot across the creek. But he did more than that. His low, elegantly fading ball finished up on the green, from where he 3-putted for a par.

Some had good fortune, like Brian Doyle who was fortunate to putt so well or else he would have needed an abacus to count his score. Others had less fortune, like Mike Spice and Marty Cahill who did not damage any fairways, because they did not hit any all day.

And the Golfing Gods do exist. Phil Maher was really pleased when he found his handicap had changed to 15, the highest it had been for some time. ‘More shots to play with”, he said with a twinkle in his eye. But on the 15th hole, using his newly acquired 15 handicap, he plonked his second shot into the water. It seems the golfing Gods do dispense justice.

The 2nd round was played on Sunday, and once again had a good field with 70 players participating. This became a day of records. In the A-grade, Steve Betland was ‘in the zone’ to card a 67 scratch, well ahead of Dan Bayley (73) and King John on 74. The A-Reserve shone bright with Barry Shine scoring 80 scratch, ahead of Bruce Carpenter and Richard Nixon on 83 scratch.

The B-grade had some dramatic changes. Mike Spice pulled out all the stops to finish with 84 scratch, just ahead of Ian Bown and Paul Pymont on 86. The C-grade seemed to settle into a steady race. Rod Besgrove wound back the clock to score 91 scratch, five shots ahead of Anthony Alley and Ash Tucker. In the Daily Comp, the A-division was won by S Betland Nett 68 on count back from D Bayley. In the B-division F Donohoe (69) was the winner ahead of R Besgrove (70). The NTP’s went to: 9th – J Haley; 18th – B Doyle. And once again 2’s were scarce with only five (7%) scored.

The leaders after two rounds are:

A-Grade Scratch – S Betland (139) from J Betland (142); A-Reserve Scratch – B Carpenter (166) from B Shine (168); B-Grade Scratch – M Spice (172) tied with I Bown (172); C-Grade – R Besgrove (186) from A Tucker (189). Handicap leaders for each grade are: S Betland (141), B Carpenter (143), I Bown (143) and R Besgrove/G Webb (144).

Once again there was a wide variety of ability demonstrated. And some records made. One player recorded his worst ever score on the Forbes course, after over 20 years of playing.

Another scored the most consecutive 3-putts in one round (this being six). Much of this misfortune was perhaps contributed by the faster greens and slightly adjusted pin positions, which combined to throw most golfers askew.

The coveted ‘Oleander Prize’ was earned by Brian Doyle, who found this on his very first drive on Sunday. Some players witnessed the ability of top golfer John Betland. Betland pushed his drive off the 13th tee onto the 14th fairway, near the hazard. He had to dodge drives from players tee-ing off on the 14th tee, before he stepped to his ball and plonked it onto the green with less than four feet to putt.

Things to note: The Nissan Classic is fast approaching and the time slots are filling fast. So race on down now to get your name down, and tell your mates also.

Do not forget the equipment demonstration days, organised by Simon. The dates are: 17 Nov – Ping: 10am to 2pm, 18 Nov – Titleist: 8am to 12pm. 

It is crystal ball time: October 22-23 is the 3rd and 4th rounds of the Club Champs. Note that a seeded start time, across all grades, will be used on the Sunday. This will allow for spectators to watch and compare the talent of the contestants.

October 28 is an 18-hole Stroke sponsored by The Manna Group, with the Rotary Charity Day scheduled for October 29.

LADIES GOLF

The 1st round of the championships began October 14 with a good field of players in two divisions and the greens in the best condition ever made for some good scores. Division One Stableford (0-23) Winner Colleen Bratton 38 on a count back from Judy Hodge who was Runner Up.

Division Two winner was Jean Judge on 38 with Briana Duncan on 36 as Runner Up. NTP 9th Jenny Fletcher and 18th Barb Drabsch. Sweep to Colleen, Judy, Jean, Jenny, Briana and Verna Lane on 35. October Monthly Medal was played also with Colleen Bratton winning Division One 70 nett who also won the putting competition with 26 putts, Division Two Winner Judy Hodge 69 and Division Three a new player Gabby Alley 75.

Day two Stroke have three leading the A-grade Scratch Jenny Fletcher, Julie Hurkett and Heather Davidson 184. Leading Nett is Jenny Fletcher 144 followed by Colleen Bratton and Heather on 150. The B-grade scratch leader is Briana Duncan 194 followed by Ev Uphill 201 and Barb Drabsch 206. Briana also leads the Nett scoring with 145 followed by Gabby Alley 151 and Ev Uphill 153.

Medal of Medalists qualifiers October 28 are Kerry Stirling, Jenny Fletcher, Heather Davidson, Julie Hurkett, Denise Squires, Colleen Bratton, Fran Smith, Bev Gerdes, Jill Cripps, Alison Kingston, Colleen Venables, Robin Lyell, Verna Lane, Judy Hodge, Robin Toole, Sarah Black, Jenny Schall, Julie Wood, Doreen Barnes and Gabby Alley.

October 25 is a Stableford, Shot Gun start and cake day sponsored by Forbes Boat and Car wash in Two Divisions with Heather on cards.