IT CERTAINLY took some doing, but Port Kembla’s Rod Hall has finally taken out the NSW Veteran Matchplay Championship.
Hall was beaten by a whisker on the 18th hole in last year’s final and today it took him till the 22nd hole to topple Canberra’s Joe Marumo.
There was never more than one stroke difference throughout the match and in a golf format that can be nerve wracking at the best of times, Hall called on some 50 years of golfing experience to retain his composure.
“It can be pretty nerve wracking but I guess you just call on all the things you have done in the past and trust your ability, that’s all. Just trust your swing and go from there,” a delighted Hall said later.
“You are always disappointed when you get beaten on the last but that’s the way it goes. You’ve got to take the good with the bad. This year it just happened to be my turn.”
The fourth and final round of the matchplay event, which included four men’s divisions and two ladies divisions, was played in near perfect sunny conditions at the Shellharbour Links course.
It was a far cry from the first two days of the tournament when sometimes gale force icy winds lashed competitors (see reports below).
“I’m pretty happy. Its always good to be a winner but when you consider what we have gone through all week it is more of a challenge to be still standing at the end of the week,” Hall said.
Hall took up golf as a 12 year old when the local milkman’s son in his home town of Windang suggested “we’ll go up the golf course with dad one afternoon.”
‘The pro up there (at Port Kembla where he has been a member for 49 years) got a few of us together, he used to give us lessons on a Friday afternoon, and it just developed from there,” Hall said of his golfing career.
He went on to have a plus one handicap in his late teens, be a junior and senior NSW state representative, win 13 club championships, the state Champion of Champions title, and a host of other wins.
The 62 year old will be itching to get back next year to defend his title.
‘It’s a good event, I enjoyed it last year. It’s very well organised. Dick (Farrant) does a great job of organising it.”
His final round opponent, Joe Marumo, from the Federal Golf Club, is also highly likely to be back.
Marumo has only recently qualified for the vets (aged 55 plus) and took a week off his job as a Canberra teacher to take part in the tournament.
He needed to win the 18th hole to keep the match alive. Taking Hall to another four sudden death holes should be more than enough to inspire his return.
Ladies Winner “Over the Moon”
QUEENSLANDER Lyn Morrison said she felt “over the moon” to take out the NSWVGA Matchplay Women’s Division One title.
It was a sterling effort from Lyn, from Coolangatta & Tweed Heads Golf Club, who was by far the lowest marker in the field and perhaps the one most feeling the earlier icy conditions.
“I was over the moon. It was quite a thrill. To give 15 shots away to win is a bit of a battle, but I really enjoyed it,” Lyn said.
Lyn beat Joan Hartmann from the Wakehurst Golf Club in Sydney 3/2.
“I was lucky, I got three up straight away and it was enough to hold her,” Lyn said.
“She had the opportunity to get back because I had to give away quite a lot of shots. She played really nicely.”
In the end, Lyn finished the 16th with the three hole advantage she had established early on.
Lyn took up golf some 30 years ago because she was “sick of (husband) Dave being away and I did it to join him”.
Having been involved in lots of other sports including tennis, indoor cricket and athletics, she took to it like a duck to water.
“I enjoyed it immediately,” she said. “I started on 36 and in 9 months I was on a 13 handicap and then the following year I got to 10 and I’ve been as low as four. But in my last 2 years I have gone out to 12. I used to average six or seven but the grandchildren have taken priority.’
Lyn said she loved the Illawarra area where the week long tournament was staged, but with her Queensland heritage she wasn’t that impressed with the icy conditions that had gripped the southern states.
“I really struggled with the cold weather, it just about killed me. I am just not used to it, I was freezing. I have split fingernails and split skin from the cold. It was cold for everyone I suppose but being Cairns born and bred I am just not used to it,” she said.
In the Women’s Division 2, Janina Aird from Branxton defeated Margaret Cole from Port Kembla 2 up.
AFTER two days of freezing winds the third round of the NSW Veteran Matchplay Championship took place in comparatively balmy conditions at the Port Kembla Golf Club on Thursday.
Last year’s runner up and Port Kembla member Ron Hall continued his run for the 2009 championship title with a 2/1 win over Camden’s Joe Smuk.
Hall will face off against Canberra’s Joe Marumo (Federal), who convincingly beat Steve Mikosic from the Shoalhaven Heads club.
Much better conditions are forecast for the final round at Shellharbour Links on Friday.
The week long matchplay event, with a number of mens and ladies divisions, is not a knockout and all entrants will play a fellow competitor with the same win/loss ratio on the final day.
Round 1 & 2
ICY winds saw many competitors looking more like skiers than golfers but after two rounds of the NSW Veteran Matchplay Championships in the Illawarra spirits were still high.
Men and lady golfers from some 40 clubs and from as far afield as Cranbourne and Rich River, Victoria and Coolangatta Tweed, Queensland, were taking part in the week long event.
In the top Men’s scratch championship division last year’s runner up Ron Hall had recorded two wins and was still alive as the event moved into the third day at his home club Port Kembla.
Others unbeaten in the top division included Joe Smuk from Camden, Joe Marumo (Federal) and Steve Mikosic (Shoalhaven Heads).
This is the second year the event is being held in the Illawarra.
The first two rounds were played at Shellharbour Links and The Grange at Kembla Grange.
The fourth and final round will be at the much improved Shellharbour Links course and competitors are hoping that forecasts predicting a respite from the strong winds that have gripped much of the state are correct.
For full results see the NSWVGA website here
More final day photos to come.