Weekend of great shots as club championships tee off

CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY: Stuart French whips through his tee shot on his way to a good score. Photo: Supplied.
CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY: Stuart French whips through his tee shot on his way to a good score. Photo: Supplied.

By Short Putt

The Forbes golfers were keen to make a good start in the Club Championships and welcomed the sunny conditions. Some golfers excelled that day, while others played their best shots amidst showers on the Sunday.

The opening day of the Club Champs, sponsored by Lachlan Commodities, saw many players among the 107 starters take some time to get used to the faster greens. A few putts slipped by resulting in scores being not as good as hoped, although a handful of players excelled.

The A-grade looked set to be closely contested. Dan Bayley fired early with 71 Scratch, leading John Betland (72), Caleb Hanrahan (74) and a group on 75 including defending Champ Steve Betland, Andrew Dukes and Shane Sallaway.

The A-Reserve had Mike Spice (75) in front by three shots from Charlie Dwyer (75) then a little gap top Andrew Quirk and John Zannes on 80.

The B-Grade is the largest group with many strong players. Ben Robinson (81) revelled in the conditions and has a good margin over Jake Shaw (83) and six players on 84.

The C-Grade is quite tight with Matt Coles (89), Jake Hemming (90), Mike Prior (91) and Stuart Thomas (92) chasing hard.

The second day of the champs saw the scores drop markedly, with the slight damp conditions easing the nerves on the still running greens. Many players had become accustomed to the greens and despite the damp conditions the ball still ran well.

Steven Betland dominated the A-Grade with a 66 Scratch, But brother John (71) and Caleb Hanrahan (72) are still in touch. The A-Reserve saw dynamic performances by Kim Herbert (76) and Harry Callaghan (78), while Stuart French is right there with a 79.

The B-Grade may become a two horse race if Ben Robinson and Jonathan Morell maintain their pace, with each scoring 77. In the C-Grade Dave Tildsley did well with an 87, while Steve Grallelis (90), Trevor Toole (91) and Jake Hemming (92) are in hot pursuit.

After two rounds the leaders in the Champs are:

A-Grade S Betland (141), J Betland (143); A-Reserve K Herbert (157), S French (160); B-Grade B Robinson (158), J Morell (162); C-Grade D Tildsley (181), J Hemming (182).

On both days there was a daily comp, sponsored by Pool Magic. This year we are fortunate to play in three Divisions. The results for each day are:

Day 1:

Div 1 Winner M Spice (63 nett), Runner-up A Dukes (68 nett on c/b).

Div 2 Winner B Robinson (66 nett), Runner-up J Shaw (67 nett).

Div 3 Winner F Donohoe (59 nett), Runner-up M Coles (61 nett).

The ball sweep went to 72 nett on c/b. The NTP's went to - 9th: R Pike; 18th: L O'Connor. The 3rd Hole Super Pin went to B Robinson (83 cm). There were 11 two's. The visitors included: Bill Crothers (Sussex Inlet), Andy Brownlow (Peak Hill) and Riaan Niall and Alec Edwards from Parkes.

Day 2:

Div 1 Winner K Herbert (66 nett), Runner-up H Callaghan (67 nett on c/b).

Div 2 Winner B Robinson (63 nett on c/b), Runner-up J Morell (63 nett).

Div 3 Winner D Tildsley (64 nett), Runner-up S Grallelis (66 nett).

The ball sweep went to 71 nett on c/b. The NTP's went to - 9th: C Greenhalgh; 18th: R Smith. The 3rd Hole Super Pin went to J Coulthurst (Hole-in-One). There were five 2's, and no visitors.

What a great weekend with two superb performances, backed up by strong play through the grades. Saturday's performance was undoubtedly the 59 nett scored by Frank Donohoe. It was a day when everything clicked for him. Off his 34 handicap he managed two pars in each side, and was consistent despite a triple-bogey start.

The second superb effort was on Sunday and the hole-in-one by Josh Coulthurst. This certainly helped his card. He book ended his front-9 with pars, his ace on the 3rd tidied his score to a 39 at the turn. He steadied on the back-9, having gotten over his excitement, and came home in 39.

These highlights were supported by strong play through the field. And as per usual there were good and bad events.

Stuart French kept his opening hopes on the first day with a timely birdie on the 15th. Not all that remarkable, except he was putting for an eagle. His second shot was drifting wide and right, then struck the trees, bounced around for a bit then rolled onto the green. His eagle putt barely missed but the birdie was most welcome.

Barry Parker was set to head home after the 1st tee shots. He had two OB's and managed to get his 5th shot onto the course. He eventually opened with an '8', staying with his group to encourage them all the way.

A few wayward shots, such as OB's by Caleb Hanrahan and Todd Callaghan and water dunks by Andrew Dukes, held some players back. However, consistency is important and Tony Cogswell showed how it was done. The first six holes on each half had the same scores - 4, 6, 4, 6, 5, 6. It was just a shame the other holes where not any good.

Sunday had some stories also. Generally the scores were better overall, despite the rain. However, it may have affected the grip for some players, as many players were seen traversing all over the place in apparent disarray.

One such example was Matt Coles, who still managed a passable score. His drive off the 6th tee was a wicked slice (he is a leftie) that missed all the trees and rolled into the middle of the 11th fairway about level with the 100m marker. He had to dodge the players up the 11th as he waited for the 6th green to clear, then putt his second shot over the green. A deft chip and nice putt gave him a birdie and quite a story.

Some of our returning players did well. Ken Sanderson managed nets of 68 and 69, while Jeff House was pleased with his nett 72 after many months away. Jack Clarke fired a smooth 71, and Jordan Brett a scratchy 76.

Here is the news:

With improving weather there is the opportunity for golf equipment companies to begin their Demo Days. The first one available is Mizuno golf clubs, which is scheduled for 11 Nov 2021. Contact Adam at the Pro Shop for more details and to book a session.

The 2021-22 'Summer Sixes' competition commenced this week, with many new and keen players itching to get some good swings in. We have 34 teams participating, and some spaces for individuals if you were unable to get into a team. Contact Adam to find a spot.

Some players took advantage last week to get some practice in and get a handicap card in. The handicaps for the first two weeks of play can be adjusted for those who are 'an unknown quantity'. Thereafter it will be normal golf.

Remember, the carrot at the end of the comp is the First Prize of a golf trip to the Hunter Valley for the team. Let us make this the best Summer Sixes yet.

There are a couple of Programme changes:

28 Nov 2021 - Mixed Foursomes Championships over 27-holes.

12 Dec 2021 - 3-P Ambrose Medley with substantial prizes.

It is crystal ball time:

Sat 16 October is the third round of the Club Championships, sponsored by Lachlan Commodities, with the Final round on Sunday Oct 17. On both days there will be a men's daily comp, sponsored by Pool Magic.

The men's comp on Sat 23 October is an 18-hole Par event, sponsored by Peter Dawson. The scheduled VW Scramble on Sun 24 Oct has been cancelled due to COVID restrictions.