IT WAS the battle of the mo’s at the 2010 NSW Veteran Golfers Matchplay Championship final at a fine and sunny Port Kembla today.
In a tussle that went right down to the wire, Mittagong’s Cameron Fraser beat defending champion and local Ron Hall 1 up on the 18th hole.
The pair were even after the front nine but with near perfect ball striking and deadly putting Fraser was inching one and two holes ahead as they came home.
Fraser, a recent NSW Senior Amateur Golfing representative and a tournament winner on the elite senior amateur circuit, hit 16 greens in regulation.
Not bad for a player who had a 30 year layoff due to business commitments and only came back to golf seven years ago.
In fact it was his wife, Ineke Kelson, winner of the Ladies Matchplay final over Wollongong’s Trikki Young on the 19th hole today, who spurred him back into the sport.
When they met over seven years ago in the NSW southern highlands Ineke told Fraser she was a golf nut and if he wanted the relationship to go any further he would have to take it up.
“I said I’ll go and learn,” Fraser told her, not mentioning his considerable early golfing success, beginning as a 12 year old.
“I was just lucky it wasn’t hang gliding or something like that she was into,” he said.
Fraser, who plays off 4 at his home club the Highlands Golf Club, was happy with his performance during the week long event, this year played at four clubs in the Illawarra on the NSW south coast.
“He’s a very good player, I was just very happy to beat him,” he said of his close battle with Hall. “He was hard to beat but I got him.”
Hall has appeared in every final since the event moved from the north coast to the Illawarra three years ago.
He won last year and was runner up the year before – all close, tense matches that went to the 18th hole or beyond.
“It went right down to the wire again,” Hall said. “I was pretty happy with the way I played but on the day he was just one shot too good.”
“He hit 16 greens out of 18. That’s pretty clever.”
Tournament director Dick Farrant was delighted with the successful week of golf, particularly since the tournament had been threatened at the 11th hour with severe weather warnings.
As it was the seeding event on Monday had to be moved to Kiama Golf Club because of wet conditions at Shellharbour Links, with the four matchplay rounds conducted at the Links, The Grange and two at the championship Port Kembla course.
Windy and cold June weather hasn’t been kind to the tournament in the last two years but things should improve dramatically for competitors with the event planned to move to a much warmer late February date next year.
Hall tees of on the 17th – a hole he needed to win to keep the match alive.