Leading senior amateur golfer Denis Dale provides a rundown of the great state level events to be played around Australia this year on many of the country’s top courses.
By Denis Dale
IN my previous column I highlighted the 2016 calendar of events that make up the Australian Senior Ranking system. This year there are 17 national level events that will include tournaments all the states and territories of Australia.
While the national calendar is definitely a busy one there is also a lot happening in senior golf at the state level. Most states now have a year-long Senior Order of Merit competition and a review of the courses listed below reveals that senior golfers will enjoy competition on many of the best courses in Australia.
VICTORIAN SENIOR ORDER OF MERIT
In 2006 Golf Victoria introduced a Senior Order of Merit competition for the Doug Bachli Trophy. This competition has been very successful and now also includes a year-long handicap competition named in honour of Paul Lulofs who did so much for senior golf in Victoria.
The defending champion for the 2015 Doug Bachli Trophy is Bendigo senior Ian Frost while the year–long handicap trophy went to Ignatius Duivenvoorden (Yarram) making it a remarkable five years in a row that Duivenvoorden has won this same title. Stan Davis was the leading over 65 golfer.
The 2016 Victorian calendar includes eleven 18-hole events, eighteen 36-hole events and four 54-hole events played on many of Victoria’s best regional and metropolitan courses. The competition allows golfers to use ranking points gained from their best twelve events during the year.
The courses for 2015 include Keysborough, Royal Melbourne, Yering Meadows, Black Bull, Yarrawonga, The Sands, Kooringal, ,Warragul, Cranbourne, Bright, Flinders, Sorrento, Box Hill, The National, Cobram-Barooga, Leongatha, Hepburn Springs, Heathcote, Shepparton, Tocumwal, Coomealla, Yarra Yarra, Kingston Heath, Victoria, Metropolitan, Commonwealth, Gardiner’s Run, Sandhurst, Lang Lang, Melton Valley, Northern, Bendigo, Coomealla, Ballarat, Spring Valley, Midlands, Warrnambool and Port Fairy. Twenty of the above events will also include a section for senior women.
The opening event of the 2016 calendar year was the Keysborough Seniors and a record field of 87 golfers teed off in hot, dry conditions. Peninsula-Kingswood member mark Abeyaratne finished on even par 73 to take out the major prize by one stroke from local member Robert Harvie.
Next event was the much-anticipated 54-hole Royal Melbourne Senior Classic where the winner was Australia’s top ranked senior golfer Greg Rhodes from Coomealla. This event is also part of the Australian Senior Amateur Ranking competition.
In another dominant performance Rhodes fired rounds of 73-75-74=222 to defeat NSW senior Roy Vandersluis by 9 strokes with ACT golfer Darryl Whitehead just one stroke further away in third place. Not since the days when NSW senior Stefan Albinski rode the wave at the top of senior golf has a player been so dominant as Rhodes. It’s great for senior golf so keep going Greg!
NSW senior Roy Vandersluis (78-76-77) reminded everyone that he may be getting older and a little shorter off the tee but he is still very competitive in any event. His was a solid overall performance to edge out Darryl Whitehead (72-87-73) for the runner-up prize. Whitehead must wonder what happened in round 2 as he had the best rounds of the day in the opening and final rounds but sandwiched in the middle was an 87.
Once again a top class field enjoyed the challenge of playing Royal Melbourne East, West and Composite courses. The open secret is finding a way to handle the greens and with most senior golfers unlikely to play on this type of surface until Royal Melbourne next year it is likely to be a “frustrating but enjoyable” challenge once again. There will certainly be a capacity field lined up to take on this challenge.
Leading Royal Melbourne Scores
222 RHODES Greg 73 – 75 – 74 VIC
231 VANDERSLUIS Roy 78 – 76 – 77 NSW
232 WHITEHEAD Darryl 72 – 87 – 73 ACT
233 KELLY John 79 – 77 – 77 VIC
235 DAVEY John 79 – 82 – 74 SA
236 BRACEGIRDLE Simon 80 – 78 – 78 VIC
237 MASLEN Paul 72 – 85 – 80 NSW
The third event for 2016 was the Yarra Courses Senior Amateur this year played at Yering Meadows Golf Club. John Wheeler from The National recorded a good round of 76 on the challenging course to edge out Shane McCarthy (Latrobe) by one stroke. Mark Brasher (Kew) and Greg Holmes (Broadford) were next on 78.
For further information including all the dates and venues for the 2016 Victorian calendar interested golfers should visit the Golf Victoria web site (www.golfvic.org.au) .
NSW SENIOR ORDER OF MERIT
The NSW Senior Order of Merit competition continues to grow with the 2016 competition including again more than 40 events across the state. The competition uses each golfer’s best 14 events.
The 2016 calendar has events on many of NSW’s best metropolitan courses including St Michael’s, The Coast, Concord, Castle Hill, Pennant Hills, Royal Sydney, Bonnie Doon, The Lakes, The Australian, Avondale, Penrith, Stonecutter’s Ridge, Strathfield, Mona Vale, Manly, Oatlands, Pymble, Monash, Cabramatta, Carnarvon, Liverpool, Twin Creeks, Bankstown, Long Reef and Cromer.
The number of regional and country courses has again expanded and in 2016 will include Belmont, Forster-Tuncurry, Wollongong, Gungahlin Lakes, Richmond, Bowral, Coffs Harbour, Bonville, Port Macquarie, Kooindah Waters, Wyong, Newcastle, Shelly Beach, Magenta Shores, Port Kembla, Camden, Windsor, Mollymook, Gold Creek and Federal. A few other events are yet to be confirmed but once again another year of top class courses outside the Sydney metropolitan area.
The Senior Order of Merit Champion in 2015 was Denis Dale from the Twin Creeks Golf Club. Dale has now won this title for the past seven years and a total of nine times since its inception in 2006. Steve Musgrave (Kogarah) was the winner of the Handicap Order of Merit.
The 2016 year began with the 2016 Forster-Tuncurry Seniors and local member Tony Kennings showed a glimpse of the top level golfing ability that had made him a regular inclusion in Australian senior teams some years ago with round of 72. Kennings defeated Liverpool senior Gary Batman on a countback. A well-known and very talented golfer Batman was having his first round on the course and he can be well satisfied with a round of 72.
Both players had equalled par on one of the tougher courses in NSW. Third place went to Denis Dale (Twin Creeks) on 74 and he won the Over 65 prize. The Over 65 handicap winner was Terry Richardson on 72 defeating Danny Petith on a countback. Local member Ken Bullivant won the overall handicap prize after a net score of 71 with Doug Cullam second on 72.The ladies section was won by Scone golfer Lyn Banks with an excellent round of 84. Judith McKenzie was the runner up.
The second event was the St Michael’s Seniors and although Long Reef senior Ross Bockman has now moved into the Over 65 category he proved that age is only a number in claiming the major prize. Bockman fired a very good round of 74 on the championship coastal layout. Finishing equal second on 75 were Rick Allison (Camden Lakeside) and Denis Dale (Twin Creeks). Allison was playing in his first Senior Order of Merit event and only a double bogey on his final hole stopped the Camden Lakeside member from starting with a win.
In 2015 The Coast Seniors event was abandoned when wild coastal weather forced players from the course after a handful of holes. 2016 was much better and another strong field of 80 senior golfers enjoyed a fine day, a well-conditioned course and only a gentle breeze that would favour good scoring.
The winner with an outstanding round of one under par 69 was Mona Vale senior Stefan Albinski. He played well all day and reported that the putter that deserted him at St Michael’s the previous day was back in favour. Runner-up was Camden Lakeside’s Rick Allison who finished on equal par 70. Allison has played just two senior events and has finished in second place each time just a stroke from the winner.
Gerry Adams won the handicap prize with 38 Stableford points with Gary Wood the runner-up. The Over 65 scratch went to Denis Dale (Twin Creeks) with a round of 76. Wollongong’s Alan Fensom took out the Over 65s Handicap with 33 points.
St Michael’s and The Coast are neighbouring clubs and they combined to conduct a 36-hole event that included scores from each day. Rick Allison (75-70) was the winner with a total of three over par for the two rounds. He defeated Stefan Albinski (79-69) by three strokes.
The 2016 Wollongong Seniors saw Camden Lakeside newcomer Rick Allison continue his great start to senior golf with a comfortable victory. On a day of very strong winds the exposed coastal course posed some real questions for the large field and it was only Allison who could provide the answers.
Allison’s score of two over par 72 was a marvellous round on the day and was four better than any other in the field. In the Over 65’s Vince Clark (The Lakes) edged out Ross Bockman (Long Reef) on a countback after both players had scores of 78.
All NSW Senior Order of Merit events include age categories and handicap prizes. A full calendar listing all dates and venues is available on the Golf NSW website (www.golfnsw.org)
QUEENSLAND SENIOR ORDER OF MERIT
Golf Queensland began their annual Senior Order of Merit competition in 2013 and it continues in 2016 with the sponsorship of the PresCare aged care organisation.
The Golf Queensland web site recognises that “Seniors Golf is the biggest growth area in the game in recent years and Golf Queensland is continually attempting to provide more events for this group of golfers.”
This year there will be 29 events across the south-east corner of the state with the list of hosting golf clubs including many of the states best golf courses.
Palmer Colonial, Wynnum, Bribie Island, Redcliffe, McLeod, Royal Queensland, Carbrook, Nudgee, Laidley, Hills International, Indooroopilly, Pelican Waters, Caloundra, Pacific Harbour, Coolangatta Tweed Heads, Royal Pines, Maroochy River, Gailes, Palmer Gold Coast, Keperra, Maroochy River, Brookwater, Bargara, Toowoomba City, Virginia and North Lakes.
The winners of the 2015 Queensland Senior Orders of Merit Trophies were Peter Hannah (Pelican Waters) and Josie Ryan (Headland). Hannah was playing his first year in the senior ranks and with nine top ten finishes from his nine events he proved too consistent for a strong group of senior men golfers. Ryan is well known as one of Australia’s leading senior golfers and she had four wins in claiming the 2015 title. Trevor Box was the winner of the Super senior trophy for golfers over 65.
The opening event of the 2016 Order of Merit year was the Palmer Colonial Seniors with the men’s scratch section won by Gainsborough Greens senior Joe McDermid with a good round of 76. He defeated Coolangatta Tweed senior George Spillane by one stroke with another stroke to Charlie Bevan (Beerwah). The women’s scratch winner was Cheryl Sternberg with an excellent round of 81. Twin Water’s golfer Annie Llewellyn finished in second place.
All the information you need to play in any or all of the Queensland Senior Order of Merit events is available on the Golf Queensland web site (www.golfqueensland.org.au).
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SENIOR ORDER OF MERIT
The South Australian Senior Order of Merit competition began in 2012 with a six tournament competition and continues to grow each year. The SASOOM events are stroke rounds with events for the Over 55s and also the Super Seniors (over 65 years).
The winner of both the year-long Order of Merit in both sections is determined by aggregate points awarded over seven events. A points loading applies depending on if the event is a one, two or three round event. A minimum of four events must be contested.
New to 2016 is a Handicap Senior Order of Merit Trophy that will be awarded to the player accumulating the most points from the season‘s nine events.
Schedule – 2016 Senior Order of Merit
Event 1 – 8th February – South Lakes
Event 2 – 29th February – Blackwood
Event 3 – 21st March – Mt Osmond
Event 4 – 4th April – Tea Tree Gully
Event 5 – 2nd May – Flagstaff Hill
Event 6 – 22nd August – Glenelg
Event 7 – 29th August – Royal Adelaide
The 2015 South Australian Senior Order of Merit champion was Norm Cordina from Tea Tree Gully Golf Club with Chris Claxton from Blackwood the winner of the Over 65 competition.
More information on the South Australian Senior Order of Merit can be found on the Golf SA website (www.golfsa.com.au/)
WEST AUSTRALIAN SENIOR ORDER OF MERIT
The 2016 Men’s Senior Order of Merit competition in Western Australia commenced in the latter part of 2015 and will conclude in August 2016.
The current list of courses hosting one day Senior Order of Merit events include Araluen, Lakelands, Hartfield, Joondalup, Cottesloe, Wanneroo, Lake Karrinyup, Sun City and Mandurah. In addition there are two major events that also count for the Australian Senior Amateur Ranking System.
Royal Perth Senior Open– March 20-21, 2016 (36 holes)
WA State Seniors Championship – April 6-8, 2016 at Melville Glades (54 holes)
The current leader of the 2015-16 WA Senior Order of Merit is Paul Chappell (Hartfield) on 245 points. He holds a good lead over John Wallace (Lake Karrinyup), Michael Dunsmore (Hartfield), Bob Gamsby (Joondalup) and Stephen Graham (Lakelands). However, with two major events and a number of one day events left in the season including the season ending Mandurah Senior Open the title is far from decided. The 2014-25 WA Senior Order of Merit champion was Ian McPherson.
At the conclusion of the season (the Mandurah Senior Open in August, 2016) the three players with the highest number of ranking points along with the leading WA player from the 2016 State Seniors Championship are invited to form a representative WA team to compete in the 2016 Australian Seniors Championship.
The 2016 WA Women’s Senior Order of Merit competition commences with the Hartfield Silver and concludes with the Royal Perth Silver in September. The 2014-2015 champion was Sharon Dawson (Lake Karrinyup) who narrowly defeated Glenys Ferguson (Wanneroo).
More details on the WA Senior Order of Merit is available on the Golf WA web site (www.golfwa.org.au).
COMING SENIOR AMATEUR EVENTS
Feb 29 – March 1 Cranbourne Seniors (VIC)
Feb 29 Blackwood Seniors (SA)
March 1-3 * NSW Senior Amateur Championship – Duntry League GC
March 7 Castle Hill Seniors (NSW)
March 8 Pennant Hills Seniors (NSW)
March 11 Gungahlin Lakes Seniors (ACT)
March 14 Redcliffe Seniors (QLD)
March 14 Royal Sydney Invitational (NSW)
March 17-18 Alpine Seniors at Bright GC (VIC)
March 17 Monash Senior Masters (NSW)
March 20-21 * Royal Perth Seniors (WA)
March 23-24 Golf Australia Seniors vs ADFGA at The National GC
March 21-23 Mornington Peninsula Seniors at Flinders and Portsea GCs (VIC)
March 23 Mt Osmond Seniors (SA)
March 21-23 NSW Veterans Championship – Richmond, Penrith, Stonecutter’s Ridge
March 28 Bonnie Doon Seniors (NSW)
March 30 Sun City Seniors (WA)
April 1 McLeod Seniors (QLD)
April 4-5 * Golf Australia Seniors vs ADFGA
April 4 Tea Tree Gully Seniors (SA)
April 6-8 * West Australian Seniors at Melville Glades (WA)
April 8 Box Hill Seniors (VIC)
April 10 Jubilee Seniors at Bowral GC (NSW)
April 12-14 * The National Senior Masters (VIC)
April 15 Carbrook Seniors (QLD)
April 18 The Lakes Seniors (NSW)
April 19 The Australian GC Seniors (NSW)
April 20 Avondale Senior Medal (NSW)
April 18-20 * NSW Senior Classic (The Lakes, The Australian, Avondale)
April 22 Laidley Ladies Classic (QLD)
April 27 NSW Senior Foursomes at Belmont (NSW)
April 28-29 Belmont Seniors (NSW
* Part of the Australian Senior Ranking System