Story and Photos by Noel Rowsell*
The Western Sydney Veteran Golfers Association hosted the 2018 NSW Veteran Golfer’s Association Strokeplay Championships from 26th-28th March, with rounds played at Richmond, Dunheved and Stonecutters Ridge golf clubs.
A capacity field of 144 golfers entered for the three-day tournament, with Sam Smaile (Royal St George GC, England) and Russ Vatcher (Stoneridge GC, Idaho, USA) taking the honours as the most travelled competitors in the event.
Perennial winner Col Kenning (Kiama) and 2017 champion Laurie Cupples (Leonay) were both highly favoured again this year but were ultimately upstaged by scratch marker Ricky Allison (Camden Lakeside).
Allison recorded rounds of 76,71 and 80 over the three days of the tournament to finish with a total score of 227, just two shots ahead of a fast-finishing Cupples (second on a countback) and Kenning.
Cupples had seemingly been out of contention after the first two days, trailing Allison by a staggering nine shots and Kenning by six shots.
A final round of one-over par 73 allowed Cupples to surge back into contention, eventually leap-frogging several players to claim second place, just pipping Kenning on a count-back.
Kenning may have been upstaged by Cupples in the race for the major scratch prizes but was still richly rewarded with the Runner-Up trophy in the Nett division, just one shot behind winner Robert Lewis (Windsor).
The Age Champions trophies were won by Geoff Cranfield (Long Reef) in Division One, Drew Simonsen (Castle Hill) in Division Two and Gary Poland (Fox Hills) in Division Three.
Sponsorship from The Richmond Club, Frasers Property, Guardian Funerals, NSWVGA and Warren Saunders Insurance Brokers allowed the organisers to not only keep the entry fees to a modest level but also to award a total of thirty-one individual prizes, in addition to Nearest the Pin prizes each day.
*Noel Rowsell is a regular veteran golf competitor and also runs the www.photoexcellence.com.au website