Story and Photos by Noel Rowsell.
The Western Sydney Region Veteran Golfers Association (WSRVGA) once again had the privilege of hosting a NSW premier senior golf event, the 2019 NSW Veteran Golfers Association (NSWVGA) Stroke-Play Championships over 25th-27th March, at Richmond GC, Glenmore Heritage Valley GC and Stonecutters Ridge GC.
Incessant rain hampered the organisers at Richmond on Day 1, with Tournament officials finally calling an end to the day’s play mid-morning due to flooded greens and fairways.
Day 2 at Glenmore saw a field of 138 golfers treated to brilliant Autumn sunshine, with the course in great shape despite days of preceding rain.
SOOM leader Matthew Taylor (Stonecutters Ridge GC) was a non-starter at Glenmore due to work and personal commitments and his absence eliminated one of the big threats from the race for the major title.
Dubbo GC had one of the largest representations of players in the field and the subsequent results would show the country golfers had arrived in Sydney with a purpose, not only to get much of the spoils on offer but to also push their claim for hosting rights for the Championships in 2021.
Mudgee GC member John Osborn set the pace on Day 1, finishing two shots clear of the field with a round of 73, ahead of Richard Wood (Cumberland CGC) 75, 2018 champion Ricky Allison (Lakeside Golf Club, Camden) 75, Glenn Rosewall (Pymble GC) 76 and David McClelland (Wyong GC) 76.
The battles were just as strong in the lower grades, with Phillip Maher (Dubbo GC) 82, Karl Stindly (Dunheved GC) 84, David Laing (Dubbo GC) 85, Matthew Kumjew (Hurstville GC) 85 and Christopher Sharpe (Richmond GC) all striving hard for the B Grade title.
WSRVGA Auditor Mick Toohey (Wallacia GC) was setting the pace in C Grade with an 89, ahead of Gordon McConnell (Leonay GC) 92; Carl Young (Dubbo GC) 94, Neil Davidson (Howlong GC) 94 and Steve Pegler (Stonecutters Ridge GC) 94.
Day 3 saw Taylor return to the field and the big man showed his class, scorching around the testing Stonecutters course with the days best round of 70, while Geoff Cranfield (Long Reef GC) made a serious challenge for the overall title with a solid 71.
Osborn dropped back from the pace of his Day 1 form to finish with a 75 but his total score of 148 would see him claim the Des Coady Memorial Shield and first place prize-money, just one shot ahead of Cranfield on 149.
Kumjew had back-to-back nett scores of 69-69 (138) to claim the Nett title, two shots ahead of David Laing (Dubbo GC) on 68-72 (140).
Allison took out the 55-63 Age Scratch title with 75-75 (150), Drew Simonsen the 64-70 Age Scratch title with 80-76 (156) and English golfer Sam Smale (Royal St George’s, UK), who was back for his second attempt at the Championships, won the 71+ Age Scratch title with 78-81 (159)
Another long-range visitor Paul Edwards (Darwin GC) won the 36-hole Division One (0-10) Scratch prize with 78-75 (153), Geoff Yates (Leonay GC) the Division Two (11-16) Scratch prize with 83-86 (169) and Don Holland (Leonay GC) the Division Three (17-36) Scratch prize with 94-94 (188).
Nett winners in the above divisions were Chris Collins (Cabramatta GC) 141, Martin Painter (Forster-Tuncurry GC) 141 and Peter Keep ( Shelley Beach GC) 146.