The National Senior Masters and NSW Senior Classic were among the top events on the Australian senior amateur golf scene recently. This monthly roundup includes the latest action from around the states.
National: National Ranking Events Produce
By Denis Dale
The National Senior Masters
One of the most anticipated senior events each year is the 54-hole National Senior Masters held over the three courses that make up the magnificent golfing complex at The National on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
Round one saw local member Simon Bracegirdle open up a three-stroke lead with a great round of three under par 69 on the Moonah course. Top NSW senior Stefan Albinski was on even par 72 a stroke ahead of fellow NSW player Darryl Hearsch on 73. A large group of players recorded scores of 74 and 75 that kept them well in the championship.
Round two was on the iconic Old course and Victorian Gordon Claney recorded one of the best rounds seen in any Australian senior event with a score of five under par 67. He had begun the tournament with a round of 78 and was now right back in contention although still trailing the leader Simon Bracegirdle by one stroke who had followed his 69 with a solid 75.Victorian Ian Frost moved into the top three with his rounds of 75-70.
As it stood overnight, The National’s Simon Bracegirdle held a slim one-shot lead over Gordon Claney and Ian Frost. Both Bracegirdle and Frost were looking to go one better in 2016 after they had finished tied runners-up in the 2015 event. As anticipated, the last round went right down to the wire.
Bracegirdle had begun his final round strongly, heading out in one under par 35 over the front nine to lead by five. Frost and Claney had plenty of work to do on the back nine after front nine’s of 39 and 41 respectively. When Bracegirdle began the back nine with two opening bogies it was enough to give the challengers a sniff.
It was Frost who seized the opportunity, finishing the back nine very strongly to catch Bracegirdle on the last hole and leave them tied on a score of 220 and heading for a playoff. Gordon Claney finished in fourth position on 223 with Stefan Albinski sneaking past him into third place overall with his closing round of 74.
On the first playoff hole both fired tee shots that found the fairway, but an indifferent second shot from Bracegirdle gave Frost the upper hand. When Bracegirdle failed to get up and down from a tricky position Frost safely two putted and the championship was his.
In the 54-hole nett championship, Peninsula senior Peter Bence fired three consistent nett rounds of 73, 71 and 72 to finish on top of the leaderboard with a total of 216. New South Wales’ visitor Peter Good (The Lakes) finished in second place via a countback from overnight nett leader Tony Briers (The National) with a total of 217.
All three National layouts provided a stern test for this year’s field of 192 players who came from all over Victoria, interstate and New Zealand. Since its inception in 2010 the tournament has always produced golf of the highest quality and 2016 was no exception. Once again the hospitality and organisation was outstanding.
Pictured above: National Senior Masters Champion Ian Frost and Nett Champion Peter Bence at the magnificent National Golf Club on the Mornington Peninsula
NSW Senior Classic
The NSW Senior Classic is played on three of the very best courses in Sydney – The Lakes, The Australian and Avondale. The field is always very strong and this year another classy field was ready for the challenge.
Each individual round is a separate event in the NSW senior Order of Merit and details of these individual events are included in the NSW report that follows.
In the overall NSW Senior Classic event the 36-hole leaders were Victorian Gordon Claney (72-73) and NSW’s Stefan Albinski (74-73). They were drawn together along with Roy Vandersluis (75-76) who was six strokes behind Claney and probably the only other chance of claiming the title.
It was a very exciting final round with Claney and Albinski swapping the lead several times during the day. The sixteenth hole was critical, as Claney double bogied when his approach missed the green well right and the ball could not be found. Albinski’s par on this difficult hole gave him a one shot lead until he bogied the eighteenth to return their battle to all square.
Round three was a shotgun start and the group had begun their round on the second hole so they still had the first hole to play – a short par four. Both drove safely and found the green with their second however both missed their birdie chances and they remained level. A decision was made to declare joint winners and that did seem a fair result. Claney 72-73-78=223. Albinski 74-73-76=223.
The final round was robbed of some of its drama when NSW senior Lester Peterson was unable to play because of an urgent work commitment. Peterson had opening rounds of 73-74 and he was expected to figure in the finish. His turn will certainly come soon.
Third place went to the 68-year old NSW senior Denis Dale who charged home with the day’s best score of one under par 70. Dale’s opening rounds at The Lakes and The Australian were 79 and 78 and he finished four strokes from the winning pair.
Joint fourth place belonged to Ken Brewer (NSW) who finished the tournament very strongly with rounds of 81-74-74=229 and Roy Vandersluis who recorded scores of 75-76-78=229. Brewer regularly figures in the finish of senior ranking events while Vandersluis has been around for many years and although he is edging closer to age 70 he just keeps on shooting good scores on good courses.
Another ageless veteran Vince Clark was next with rounds of 80-76-75=231. Greg Matheson also had an excellent tournament with rounds of 79-74-79=231. The tournament will be on again in 2017 when competition for a place in the field will again be keen.
NSW: Big Month of Golf for NSW Senior
Order of Merit Players
The Lakes Senior Medal
Kingston Heath senior Gordon Claney won the prestigious The Lakes Senior Medal after an excellent round of 72 on this demanding championship layout.
Teeing off in the first group of the day Claney began slowly and was three over par after four holes. He then played beautiful golf recording four birdies and just the one dropped shot to finish at level par.
Second place went to the recently turned 55 year old Lester Peterson who had quite a different start birdieing the first two holes. He then played some exciting golf with a mix of birdies and bogies that had him one under par on the seventeenth tee. Dropped shots on the closing two holes saw him finish on one over par 73.
Third place went to well-known senior Stefan Albinski who again played his usual controlled golf for a round of 74. Local member Roy Vandersluis used his course knowledge to good effect in recording a score of 75 to be alone in fourth place.
The Lakes course was a genuine test today in a very strong field of low handicapped senior golfers only 12 players recorded scores under 80.
The Australian Seniors
Queenslander Phil Towle fired the only sub-par round of the day with a great score of 71 at The Australian Golf Club. It was a round of what could have been with Towle positioned at 5 under par with just four holes to go after he had started on the tenth tee. To be 5 under par at any stage of a round on The Australian course is something special!
However, as all golfers know the game of golf has a way of levelling things out and Towle then closed with bogies on each of the last four holes for his overall outstanding round. Towle’s 71 saw him win The Australian Senior Medal.
Second place at The Australian was shared by Gordon Claney and Stefan Albinski after both recorded rounds of one over par 73. Claney’s round was very interesting – fifteen consecutive pars followed by two bogies and a closing birdie. Albinski struggled early but a back nine of two under par gave him yet another good round in a major event.
Avondale Senior Medal
Often considered the best course on Sydney’s north shore Avondale was produced in excellent condition and with some tight pins it was ready to challenge the top class field of senior golfers.
The winner was experienced Twin Creek’s senior Denis Dale with an excellent round of one under par 70. Dale’s round was highlighted by some accurate chipping and bunker play and several nice birdie putts.
Dale received the Avondale Senior Medal for his round of 70 with Ken Brewer finishing as the runner up four strokes away on 74. Together on 75 were Vince Clark and Gary Wood.
All the players had enjoyed the Avondale course and found it a wonderful way to end a three-day tournament that had begun with rounds at The Lakes and The Australian. This tournament will be on again in 2017 when competition for a place in the field will again be keen.
NSW Senior Foursomes
South coast golfers Graham Leake and Eric Greentree made the trip north to the Belmont Golf Club near Newcastle very worthwhile with victory in the 2016 NSW Senior Foursomes Championship. Played over 18 holes on the beautifully presented Belmont course the pair played outstanding golf to finish with a score of one over par 73.
Members at the Links Shell Cove Golf Club south of Wollongong the team of 5 handicappers defeated quite a few lower handicapped pairs to claim this prestigious state title. In their round Leake and Greentree recorded two birdies and three bogies in a very tidy display of foursomes golf.
Runners up were Richard Greville (Magenta Shores) and Paul Maslen (Moss Vale) with a score of 74. This team also played consistent foursomes golf with two birdies and four bogies in their round.
Next best were the Long Reef pairing of Ross Bockman and Geoff Cranfield, Roy Vandersluis and Keith Thornley from The Lakes and Greg Gillard and Warren Gorton from Hawks Nest all with good scores of three over par 75.
Long Reef senior Geoff Cranfield and Toronto senior Michael Musgrave finished in a tie after the two rounds of the 2016 Belmont Seniors Championship with the major trophy being awarded to Musgrave on a countback.
Cranfield had held the joint overnight lead with an opening round of 75. He then followed this with a very good round of 74 to make a 36-hole total of 149 and he certainly looked the likely winner.
Michael Musgrave had opened with a round of 79 but then played outstanding golf to storm home with a great score of two under par 70. This was just good enough to catch Cranfield and they finished together on five over par total of 149.
Third place went to Bayview’s Dale Tapper who also improved in round two with a score of 74 to follow his opening 77.
Local members David Limbach and Denis Day proved too good for a top class field in the 2016 Penrith Seniors played in beautiful autumn conditions on a well prepared Penrith course. The course was very fair with the tees moved a little forward but with some very challenging pins. The overall good scores reflected this suitable course setup.
Both Limbach and Day finished with rounds of one under par 71 with the winner’s prize going to Limbach on a countback. This made it back-to-back wins for Limbach who had also won the main trophy in 2015. Third place went to the ever-consistent Ken Brewer from Concord with his round of even par 72.
Twin Creeks senior Geoff Wright had the round of the day with a net score of 67 from his handicap of 5. He was a two-stroke winner over Rob Scott (Bankstown) who returned a net score of 69 from his 19 handicap. Paul Kammel from Cronulla showed a return to form with his net score of 69 from a handicap of 5 as did local member Les Stock (net 69 from a handicap of 7).
The Over 65 prize went to Denis Dale (Twin Creeks) with a round of 75. Second place in this section went to Tom Yates (Bexley) with a score of 77.
More information on NSW Senior Order of Merit events here – www.golfnsw.org/
Cobram-Barooga Senior Amateur
The final round of the 54-hole 2016 Cobram Barooga Senior Amateur was played under overcast skies but warm conditions. The bumper field of 254 senior golfers had enjoyed a fantastic three days of golf on one of the Murray Region’s finest layouts.
In the Open Scratch event, Kingston Heath’s Gordon Claney capped a strong performance with a final round of 72 on the Old course that included a birdie-birdie-birdie finish. With his earlier scores of 71 and 68 this gave him a total of five under par 211. There are not many senior golfers who finish under par in 54-hole events and Claney can feel suitably satisfied with his effort.
Claney has been in wonderful form in recent weeks with many under par rounds. In this tournament he led from start to finish securing a dominant 14 shot win from recent National Senior Masters champion Ian Frost (Bendigo) who finished on 225.
In the men’s nett event, Bairnsdale’s Martin Farrelly finished on top of the leaderboard with a three round nett total of 210 from his 14 handicap. Runner -up was Trevor Wood (Rossdale) with a nett total of 214.
The Yarrawonga team of Barry Webb, John Wilson and Kerry Parker with 206 points won the team event for the John McAllister Memorial trophy.
In the men’s Stableford event, Cobram Barooga’s Kevin Keating took top honours with a three round total of 109 points. It was a one-two finish for Cobram members in this Stableford event with local Karle Bishop finishing in second place with 104 points.
In the lady’s event, Wodonga’s Dianne Wolfe rattled home to take this year’s event by the slimmest of margins, a single Stableford point. Wolfe snuck past overnight leader Jenny Hunter (Centenary Park) with a two round total of 99 points with Hunter finishing the event just one-point shy of the top prize with 98 points.
All players were impressed with the presentation of Cobram’s Old and West courses, a credit to the course superintendent Matt McLeod and his ground staff. The dates for next year’s event will be Monday 8 – Thursday 11, May 2017 (the week leading into Mother’s Day).
Further information on the Victorian Senior Order of Merit is available on the Golf Victoria website www.golfvic.org.au .
Flagstaff Hill Seniors
The Flagstaff Hill Seniors was played on a well-presented course but in conditions that did herald the fast approach of winter. It was cool, with strong swirling winds but the good field of 68 players were thankful that the rain stopped just prior to hitting off.
The major prizewinner was John Davey from Tea Tree Gully with a good score in the conditions of 77. After a poor start Davey played the last twelve holes under par to now record consecutive senior victories.
Second place went to Bill Winslow from Grange who came home strongly to record a solid 79. Trevor Smith from Naracoorte and Robert Crawford from Tea Tree Gully shared third place with rounds of 80.
The Super Senior section saw two local Flagstaff Hill members running first and second. Clive Renner played consistently as always for a solid 79 to claim the top prize from Paul Starrs on 83.
The Handicap section went to Gareth Greening from The Vines with a nett 75, whilst the Super Senior net section went to another Flagstaff Hill member, Chris Brown on nett 74.
After five rounds the leader in the 2016 South Australian Senior Order of Merit is Norm Cordina from Tea Tree Gully from club mate Phil Smith, who also is leading the nett event. Recent winner John Davey missed the first three events, but with strong performances in the two remaining 18 holes events and then the two national events he could go close to closing the gap.
South Australia looks forward to seeing plenty of interstaters in late August and early September when tournaments are scheduled to cover all the major courses including Glenelg, Royal Adelaide, Grange and Kooyonga plus the State Senior Championship at Victor Harbor Golf Club.
More information on the South Australian Senior Order of Merit events here – http://www.golfsa.com.au/
Carbrook PresCare Seniors
A field of 50 players enjoyed excellent weather as they teed off for the playing of the 2016 Carbrook PresCare QSOOM event although there was just a little rain as the field was finishing.
As usual, the Carbrook course was fabulous and it must be one of the most improved courses in Queensland. It is one of those courses that is always better than the last time and this is definitely a course to play whenever you have a chance.
The free breakfast and the after game luncheon were great and the service and hospitality at the pro-shop and throughout the club was again warm and generous.
Winner Scratch: Trevor Box 73
Runner Up Scratch: Mario La Chiusa 75 cb
Winner Nett: Paul Price 39 points
Runner Up Nett: John Jayo 37 points
Winner Nett: Helen Gray 35 points
The Hills PresCare Seniors
A smaller field took up the challenge of playing The Hills International course in the next PresCare QSOOM event. The weather was excellent and although this is a long and difficult course, there were some very good results that showcased the talent of our senior golfers.
Winner Scratch: Tim Deakin 72 cb
Runner Up Scratch: Phil Towle 74
Winner Nett: Greg Fraser 38 points cb
Runner Up Nett: Ray Harvey 38 points
Winner Scratch: Gwen Clutterbuck 85
Winner Nett: Julie Bevan 28 points
More information on the Queensland Senior Order of Merit events here – http://www.golfqueensland.org.au/
COMING SENIOR AMATEUR EVENTS
June 2 Manly Seniors (NSW)
June 6 Pacific Harbour Seniors (QLD)
June 10 Oatlands Seniors (NSW)
June 19 Heathcote Seniors (VIC)
June 20-22 * Australian Senior Amateur Matchplay at Coolangatta Tweed Heads
June 20-21 Shepparton Senior Amateur
June 20 Pymble Seniors (NSW)
June 23-24 Tocumwal Seniors (VIC)
June 27 Coolangatta Tweed Heads Seniors (QLD)
July 11 Laidley seniors (QLD)
July 12 Wyong Seniors (NSW)
July 15-16 Coffs Coast Seniors (NSW)
July 18-20 Coomealla Seniors (VIC)
July 20-22 * Gold Coast Senior Classic
July 25-27 * Queensland Senior Amateur Championship at Bribie Island
July 25 Cabramatta Seniors (NSW)
July 30-31 Seaside Classic at Port Macquarie (NSW)
* Part of the Australian Senior Ranking System