OCTOBER saw the 2015 Australian Senior Amateur Championship take place at Manly Golf Club while there was lots of action around the states.
By Denis Dale
NATIONAL: Greg Rhodes the new star of Australian Senior Golf
Following his win in the 2015 Australian Senior Amateur Championship Victorian senior Greg Rhodes has moved into the number one position in the Australian Senior Rankings.
With just one event remaining Rhodes is guaranteed the medal awarded to the leading senior amateur at the end of each year. During 2015 Rhodes also won the NSW Senior Amateur Championship with a record score of six under par and the Grange/Kooyonga Senior Classic.
In July Rhodes represented Australia in the Sanctuary Cove Trophy matches against New Zealand and in October travelled to China as part of the Australian senior team for the 2015 Asia-Pacific Senior Amateur Championships.
The 2015 Australian Senior Amateur Championship was played at the Manly Golf Club in Sydney. The large field included senior golfers from all parts of Australia plus players from New Zealand and a visitor from the USA. The course was perfectly presented for senior golf and the weather for all days was pleasant with just a little wind in the afternoon.
Round one saw some exceptional scoring with five players breaking par. Greg Rhodes fired six birdies on his way to two under par 69, a score that was matched by Queenslander Peter Hannah and local Manly member Peter Thomas. A stroke away on one under par 70 were Richard Greville(NSW) and Phil Towle (Queensland).
Rhodes continued his sensational golf in the second round with another score of 69 giving him a 36-hole total of four under par and a three-stroke lead. He has fired ten birdies in his two rounds and certainly looked the likely winner with one round remaining.
In second place was the always consistent West Australian Trevor Hughes who had been the runner up in this championship in 2014. Hughes had rounds of 71-70 to be three strokes behind Rhodes. A stroke further away was NSW senior Richard Greville who followed his opening round of 70 with a 72. With ten golfers within ten strokes of the lead the stage was set for a dramatic final round.
The third day was little more difficult with a stronger wind as the leading groups teed off to decide the 2015 Australian Senior champion. Three-time champion Stefan Albinski (75-77-70) was the first to make an impact and he finished with a round of 70 after opening with 75-77. He had climbed the leaderboard but his average opening rounds had meant he could not catch the leaders. Albinski eventually shared sixth place with Queenslander Steve Toyne (74-73-75), Victorian Ian Frost (74-72-76) and Peter Hannah (69-74-79).
In the final group NSW senior Richard Greville (70-72-88) was unfortunately struggling with an injury and he dropped out of contention quite early. With defending champion Gordon Claney unable to make a charge it did appear to be a two-man battle between Rhodes and Hughes although both players were not playing quite as well as in their opening rounds.
NSW senior David Limbach (72-78-72=221) was handling the conditions and the course very well and his good final round of 72 helped him move up the leaderboard and eventually finish in joint fourth place with Gordon Claney (74-69-78=221).
With a few holes remaining it had become a three-player race with NSW senior Mark Pearson closing the gap on Rhodes and Hughes. Rhodes was hanging on but could not make a putt and a few more bogies appeared on his card. Hughes was also struggling and could not take the opportunity to move past Rhodes.
After dropping dropping strokes at four of the final five holes Rhodes eventually finished with a round of 79. He was relieved to find he had won the title by a single stroke from Pearson with Hughes another stroke away in third place. It had been an exciting finish and once again demonstrated that golf can always provide a few surprises.
The strong Victorian team of Greg Rhodes, Ian Frost, Gordon Claney and Guy Krall were the clear winners of the Interstate Teams Trophy played in conjunction.
The 2016 Australian Senior Amateur Championship will be played in October at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide, South Australia.
There has been a change of date for the 2016 Tasmanian Senior Amateur Championship with this popular event being moved from February to November.
The venue remains the same – Mowbray Golf Club in Launceston with the new dates being November 22-24, 2016.
In exciting new Golf Tasmania has also added a new event to the senior golfing calendar – the Tasmanian Senior Masters. In 2016 this event will be played at the beautiful Royal Hobart Golf Club from November 18-20. Perhaps a great time for a golfing holiday in Tasmania.
More information on the Australian Senior Ranking competition available on the AUSOOM website – www.ausoom.com.
NSW: September a busy month in NSW Senior Order of Merit
September was a busy month in the 2015 NSW Senior Order of Merit competition with four events on courses located just a short drive outside the Sydney metropolitan area.
Champion senior Stefan Albinski won the 2015 Shelly Beach Senior Amateur by five strokes after recording a very good round of 74 on the testing Central Coast layout.
Played in conjunction with the Shelly Beach Open the busy day also included events for open age, juniors and mid-amateurs as well as the seniors. Four golfers tied for second place on 79 including Don Brown (Long Reef), Trevor Ratcliffe (Kogarah), Graham Leake (Links Shellcove) and Graeme Howland (Dunheved).
A large field made the pleasant drive north of Sydney to the Magenta Shores Golf Course, also on the NSW Central Coast, ready for the inaugural playing of the Magenta Shores Senior Amateur.
A new course with a great reputation had attracted a large field and they were not disappointed. In excellent condition and with the tees a little forward the real design features of the course came into play.
Every hole presents a a challenge off the tee and a missed green usually means a dropped shot. The greens are generous but with quite a few humps and hollows. Most agreed it was a wonderful test of golf.
The winner was Chris Gordon from the New South Wales Golf Club. Gordon played beautifully to record a score of four over par 76 to win by a stroke from Greg Smith (Avondale). Gordon’s round was marred by a triple bogey early but from there on it was all top quality golf.
The handicap competition went to Newcastle’s Eric Butler with 36 Stableford points on a count back from local member Ross Liddle. A highlight of the day was a hole-in-one by Port Kembla’s Ron Hall.
Toronto golfer Michael Musgrave made the trip down to Port Kembla, just south of Wollongong, a worthwhile one with his victory in the Port Kembla Seniors. On a testing day the challenging course proved the winner with only Musgrave managing a score under 80.
Musgrave’s score of 76 gave him a comfortable 4 stroke margin over Manly’s Darryl Hearsch and Bankstown’s Steve Stanton. In an unusual occurrence the same three golfers also recorded the best three handicap scores of the day.
A very good field of over 80 senior golfers enjoyed a beautiful day on the Camden Golf Club, south west of Sydney, for the playing of the 2015 Camden Seniors.
The winner was Twin Creeks senior Denis Dale with a round of three under par 68. Dale started with a birdie, a few holes later had his only bogey, and, thereafter played solid golf hitting the closing fourteen greens and finding three more birdies.
Runner up was the defending 2014 champion Noel Wood with a par equalling round of 71. Wood has been a dominant player in the Camden area for many years and continued this with another great showing in a major event in his home region.
Bankstown senior Steve Stanton finished alone in third place with his round of 73.
The Camden Seniors tournament was once again generously sponsored by well known senior golfer Bob Zelesco and Camden Tyre Service where Bob is always ready to do a good deal for a fellow senior golfer.
More information on NSW Senior Order of Merit events here – www.golfnsw.org
VICTORIA: Frost Dominant in Hometown Win
Ian Frost has claimed the 2015 Bendigo Senior Amateur. Both days of the 36-hole event saw conditions typical of a Central Victorian spring, warm sun with a light breeze to keep the players cool.
The local Bendigo member opened with a great round of four under par 68 to open a lead over Mick Kaufman (Goonawarra) in second place. They were followed by Ken O’Brien (Rossdale) on 74 and Robert Wallace (Midlands) on 75.
Frost gave no one a chance in the second round with another four under par 68. His 36-hole total of 136 would have tested any player of any age. His nearest rival was Ken O’Brien who played with Frost in the second round and returned 72 to follow his 74. O’Brien was two over par for 36 holes on 146 but amazingly was beaten by ten strokes. Mick Kaufman and Cobram-Barooga’s Ross Percy tied for third place on 148.
Frost is currently leading the Doug Bachli Trophy this year notching up a recent victory at Kingston Heath and interstate at the South Australia and Queensland Senior Amateur events. The race between Frost and the defending Doug Bachli champion Gordon Claney is on now for the title, with the results of the upcoming Victorian Senior Amateur potentially deciding the winner out of this pair.
The overnight leader in the women’s competition, Bendigo member Lyn Lindsay, was unable to play in the second round allowing Alison Woodman to take the top honours in the scratch Stableford section with two rounds of 25-24 totalling 49 points.
In the women’s handicap, Tina Cowie from Tambo Valley took home the winning prize with rounds of 33 and 36 points to be six points clear of Sandhurst’s Janine Foot. Cowrie plays in many Golf Victoria senior events across the year and was very pleased with her win.
The inaugural Lang Lang Senior Amateur kicked off under clear skies at the picturesque Lang Lang Golf Club. The hidden gem, nestled within the South Gippsland district, played host to sixty three men and seven ladies who found the going tough despite the favourable conditions, with the slick bent greens and tight pin locations bringing many players undone.
Competing in his first senior event, Tony Johnson (Trafalgar) fired a classy round of 72 to take the trophy. Johnson signalled himself as a player to watch in the future after closing with a back nine of one under par 34.
The consistent play of Huntingdale’s Mick Streit continued after he returned a round of 75 to finish in second place on a countback from Queensland visitor Peter Hannah (Pelican Waters).
Veena Mali (Waverley) produced 35 Stableford points from a daily handicap of eighteen to take the top women’s prize competing in her first senior event.
In the men’s nett event, Trafalgar’s Roger Barnes produced a fine round of 71 nett from a daily handicap of fifteen to take the honours with Barry Thomson (Southern) emerging from a three way countback on a nett score of 72 to finish second.
Players ventured along the Western Highway for the inaugural Melton Valley Senior Amateur. 45 players including 11 locals took to the Tony Cashmore designed course which requires strategic placement on the narrow fairways and features it’s very own challenging Amen Corner on the back nine.
Well known senior Graeme Altmann was a very popular winner after fighting back from a poor start (4 over through the first 5 holes) to card a 76 off the stick and claim the first Melton Valley Senior Amateur Champion title. The Sands member came home strong with 38 on the back nine to take out Midlands member Rob Wallace on a countback. Altmann commended the Melton Valley Golf Club on the hospitality provided throughout the day.
Local knowledge prevailed in the handicap section with Melton Valley member Robert Grant storming home with a nett 66 off a handicap of 16 to win by 3 shots from fellow member Noel Robertson on nett 69. Grant’s round was highlighted by holing a 6-iron approach for an exciting eagle on the 3rd.
Further information on the Victorian Senior Order of Merit is available on the Golf Victoria website www.golfvic.org.au .
QUEENSLAND: Update on the latest PresCare Senior Order of Merit events
Early October saw the playing of the 2015 Brookwater PresCare QSOOM event with a total of 43 players (34 men and 9 women) competing. As usual Brookwater was a challenge, with every hole being an adventure and requiring quality golf shots and skilful play on and around the inspiring greens.
Number one Queensland senior Steve Toyne showed his class with an excellent round of 72 and a comfortable five strokes winning margin over Coolangatta Tweed Heads player Phil Towle. Both Toyne and Towle had finished inside the top ten in the recent Australian Senior Amateur Championship and continued their good play on this championship test.
The handicap prizes went to Peter Mickel 36 points defeating David Golding on 35 points. The women’s prizes went to two of the state’s leading senior golfer – Josie Ryan taking the scratch 78 and Wendy O’Connell the handicap with 36 points.
Brisbane Golf Club senior Brett Kinninmont won the 2015 Keperra Seniors title defeating Windaroo Lakes’ Trevor Box on a countback after both golfers had recorded rounds of 78 on the always well presented Keperra layout. They finished a stroke ahead of Joe McDermid (Gainsborough Greens) and local member Lindsay Brown.
Other winners on the day included:
Winner Men’s Nett: Keith Fulwood 39 points ocb
R/Up Men’s Nett: Kevin George 39 points
Winner Women’s Scratch: Kate Gadsby 93
Winner Women’s Nett: Adrienne Naismith 33 points
More information available on the Golf Queensland web site www.golfqueensland.org.au
COMING SENIOR AMATEUR EVENTS
November 5 – Twin Creeks Senior (NSW)
November 9-10 – Melbourne Senior Classic (Spring Valley & Woodlands VIC)
November 9 – Virginia Seniors (QLD)
November 10-12 – *ACT Senior Amateur Championship (Gold Creek, Gungahlin Lakes, Federal)
November 16 – Oxley Seniors (QLD)
November 20 – Lake Karrinyup Seniors (WA)
November 22-23 – Mollymook Seniors (NSW)
November 26-27 – Moyne Senior Classic (VIC)
November 30 – LongReef Seniors (NSW)
December 1 – Cromer Seniors (NSW)
* Part of the Australian Senior Ranking System