SHOWING all his class and experience, Lake Macquarie golfer Tony Jones (pictured left) has won the NSW Veteran Golfers Association Matchplay Championships.
The 72 year old single handicapper beat his younger rival Rod Hall, from the Port Kembla Golf Club, in a hard fought and close final at the much improved Shellharbour Links course.
Both these players have been NSW representative golfers in their time and the talent shone through during the week long event, with preliminary rounds also held at the championship Port Kembla course and The Grange at Kembla Grange.
Jones (Waratah Golf Club) has been playing golf for 57 years and needed all the guile and cunning he has built up over that time to make up for the distance he was losing on the longer shots.
Jones and Hall turned level after nine holes but a couple of birdies on the par threes saw Jones one hole ahead with one to play.
His second shot on the final hole ended up in a gully about 35 metres short of the green but a brilliant chip to within a few feet of the hole clinched the championship.
Hall, unlucky with a few very close putts on previous holes, failed with the birdie putt he needed from the fringe to force the match into overtime.
Jones was in the NSW Amateur Junior side as a 22 year old, and has won a number of tournaments over the years. In latter times he has been a runner up and frequent competitor at the Australian Men’s Senior Amateur Championships.
Jones was delighted with his Veterans win, particularly after slipping two holes behind on their back nine (they teed off the 10th).
“It was a good win but I know he can play better than that,” he said of his 62 year old matchplay foe Ron Hall.
“He’s a good player all right, he played for the state for quite a while, plus he comes from down here,” Jones said.
“Plus he’s off four and I’m off seven so I was giving him a bit of a start (they played off scratch for the matchplay), there’s ten years in age and about 30 kilograms in weight,” Jones joked.
The veterans matchplay championship has previously been held annually in Coffs Harbour and this is the first year it has moved to what looks like its permanent new home in the Illawarra.
NSWVGA secretary and matchplay tournament director Dick Farrant said whilst numbers were slightly down because of the move it had been a very successful week.
Farrant said there had been entrants from all over NSW and the ACT, with particularly strong support from the Newcastle area.
“We will definitely be holding it at the same three courses next year,” he said.
“It has been a very popular event and I’m sure if you spoke to any of the competitors involved they would have had a great week.”
Tony Jones is one competitor predicting an even bigger and better event next year.
“There will be a lot of better players next year because they will all be saying ‘if that old bastard can win it, it must be pretty easy’, so they’ll all be down here,” he said.
Marie Wins Ladies Matchplay Championship
Jamberoo Golf Club member Marie Farrant (pictured right) won the ladies section of the NSW Veterans Matchplay Championship, blaming the win on her new Lady Cobra golf clubs.
“They’re beautiful,” she said of the month old clubs.
Marie has been playing veterans golf for 13 years and was celebrating her best win.
“This is my biggest win and also the first time I have played veterans matchplay,” she said.
Marie beat rival Jane Hartmann from the Wakehurst Golf Club in Sydney. She was three up with two holes to play.
“I’m very happy, it was a good win,” Marie said. “I’m really happy with the golf sticks, really pleased with them.”
“We’ve played four games of matchplay this week and I’ve won four in a row.”
Marie and her husband Dick (NSWVGA secretary) have travelled Australia playing veterans golf and have attended all the Australian Veterans Golfers Union National Championships, which rotate around the country on a state by state roster.
They’ll be attending the AVGU National Championships in Adelaide this October.
“We’ll be going to Adelaide this year and this will be our second time around now,” Marie said.