By Noel Rowsell
74-year old John Wilkinson blitzed a 184-strong field at Leonay Golf Club in the Monthly Medal on 5th September, shooting a round of 72 (nett 59) to beat his age by two shots.
Playing alongside two of his usual group, John said “it was just one of those days all golfers dream about when the balls all go straight where you want them to go”.
“There was nothing special about Saturday, as you know I’ve been playing in a regular group with Les Knox, Jim Braid and Billy Fawcett for quite some time. Unfortunately Les didn’t play on Saturday and it would have been nice if he did.”
“I am very proud of the round but don’t expect it to happen again anytime soon.”
John joined Leonay Golf Club in 1973 playing off a handicap of 23 but didn’t start to play regularly until around 1985, when he turned 40.
His golf didn’t really improve for the next 10 years. His golf really started to improve when when he turned 50 and has gradually lowered his handicap to a career-low of 10 about three years ago.
John shot a 74 (his age) earlier this year and then the hot round of 72 on Saturday, which included a triple bogie on the 7th hole.
“I’ve only ever been a member of Leonay Golf Club, never joined any other club but have played on many other courses all round Australia,” said John. “I have won a number of Monthly Medals over the years, had a hole-in-one on the 18th at Leonay and Billy Fawcett and I won the B Grade Foursomes Championship in 2016.”
“To be honest, I play golf with my mates for the fun of winning on the day and the bragging rights it brings purely amongst our group,” said John.
“Our Saturday group (about 14 of us) affectionately call me “Chopper” because I’ve won that award for 3 out of the last 4 years.”
“To sum up, I play golf for the camaraderie, exercise and a few drinks after the game.”
“I love Leonay, it’s my golfing home”
John is no stranger to sporting success, having captained the Australian Masters of Rugby League team on a 21 day tour of England in 2008.
A member of St Marys Rugby League for the past 62 years, John has also represented Australia six times in the over 60’s division of Masters of Rugby League but the England tour is obviously a highlight.
John last played in a Masters Tournament in Runaway Bay Qld in March, of this year, prior to the introduction of travel and sporting restrictions.