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23/7/13
WALKER WINS RED CLIFFS CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
2011 Club Champion Tim Walker walked away with his 2nd Championship to the applause of his club mates as they wished him well on his journey back to Alabama in the US this week. His win in the Championship was not unexpected, but with the withdrawal of club legend Justin McPhee, it became just a little bit easier as the tournament went on. Firstly, Dale Baker emerged with a great round of 71 then Dom Vartuli sprung to life, but in the end it was never in doubt. Walker is very proud of his club and where he begun his golf career. Red Cliffs are heading down the right track and look to be getting back to the Red Cliffs of the 70's and 80's, lets hope so.

NORTH WEST WOMEN'S GOLF INC. COUNTRY TEAMS
The team to represent North West Women's Golf in the Country Teams competition in Melbourne has been announced and looks full of youth and enthusiasm this year. The team is SUE LAIRD, JODENE TUAU, MARG. BAIRD, MICHELLE BOWDIDGE, ANNE BOWEN, Coomealla, MARG. McGLASHAN, Mildura, JANET LUKE, MARG. LAMPARD, Riverside, MANDY BOTHROYD, NIA WHITTLE, NYCOLE RIORDAN, ERIN NOONAN, Coomealla, JENNY STEPHENSON, Broken Hill, SUZANNE McLELLAN, Coomealla. Graham McLellan Team Manager
This looks to be a very competitive team this year with lots of bounce and improvement and a really progressive approach. Graham McLellan adds a lot of experience at a Melbourne level as a former club leader and will be a definite plus for the team which competes early next month.

MICKELSON TOO GOOD IN THE OPEN
Phil Mickelson proved to be too good down the stretch on the back nine where it all counts. There were at least six players who could have won it, but he was the man who put up his hand. Scotty gave himself a chance again but just couldn't clinch it. Westwood too, was on the brink but hopefully his chance will come. Golf is a game of inches and opportunities, sometimes luck is also an important ingredient but the winner is always the grinner and all the others can do is look on.

MEMORIES LIVE LONGER THAN DREAMS
This is my last 19th hole. I would like to thank all of those people who have assisted with it since it began in the Mildura Midweek in 1988 including Terry Gange who was the manager at that time. Glenn Robinson has been a major supporter over the last 20 and I have really appreciated his help in several mediums. Dale Stafford was also a great assistance. We have been very lucky to have so many people that have assisted us over the years, way too many to mention here, but I wish to mention a few. Anthony Murphy at Trentham Estate has been fantastic, Tony Mathews at Southern Australia, Geoff and Graham Martin of Martin Petroleum back in the 90's. Craig Muir has also been fantastic for us with his assistance and help since 1993. One must never forget the people that helped them along the way. As a footballer I didn't fulfill my dreams or potential, but I did have a go, all be it at ten clubs in 10 years, which is a story in itself. Self explanatory I suppose. As a golfer, most local golfers would attest that I probably exceeded anticipation as my swing resembled an anaconda in a phone box, as a result of being self taught. So if you are just starting out, go up to the Sunraysia Golf Range and have a lesson.
Remember "It's always nice to meet nice people and that memories live longer than dreams"

Shane Doherty

TIM WALKER
Many people play a part in your life. Tim Walker has had enormous backing from his parents and support from the members of Red Cliffs golf club, which has followed onto to people like Garth Doherty, who gave him a start in the golf industry. He started as a ball pick up boy at the Sunraysia Golf Range and then upon returning home from his first semester in America, as a salesman. Then one night at the Sunraysia Golf Range, Dean Marks from Yamada Golf came through the door. After talking to Dean, who said he was on an expedition looking for a recruit for a golfing academy in Alabama U.S.A. , Garth responded "I've got just the boy". Twelve months later Tim is on the brink of heading to his second top University in the U.S. In the first 12 months Tim was lucky enough fall into a university that has won the National Championship and in the process forged an excellent reputation within that program. On the 8th of August he heads back to Alabama and depending on his performances in the 1st semester he will be vying for a position to be accepted into the University of South Florida, which is his preferred choice. But it is not all golf for Tim, as he is also completing a Business Degree, although that is a secondary consideration at this point. Life in America is so different to Australia. Most of the kids in Tim's team has guns, every house has one and everyone hunts deer. There is no free to air TV you have to have cable. Naturally Tim suggest that the best channel is the Golf Channel. The driving age is 16, smoking 18, drinking 21. Religion is almost compulsory and everyone goes to church on Sunday. Grid iron is the most popular sport followed by basketball. Tim lives in a town called Alexander which has a population of 10,000 people. The worst thing about living in America Tim says is the food, no vegetables. At Willow Point golf club where Tim plays golf it is not a sport it is a social occasion and when the members play they gamble, the amounts vary but can be very high. Afterwards the clubhouse conversation is about how much they won or lost (sounds familiar to my group). We wish Tim luck with his future endeavours.
 
16/7/13
WALKER LEADS RED CLIFFS CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS
Tim Walker leads the 2013 Red Cliffs club championships by six strokes after 36 holes of the 54 hole tournament from promising youngster Dom Vartuli. The club had cancelled the first round the previous Saturday to allow the division 1 pennant team an opportunity to have a practice round at Coomealla Golf Club the day before the pennant final against Riverside. This proved to be a correct decision, as the club won its first div one pennant in 21 years. On Saturday a shock swept the club when multiple club champion and equal favourite for the title this year, Justin McPhee had to withdraw for family reasons. This left Tim Walker as the hot favourite from last years surprise winner Brad Steer. On Saturday night all the clubhouse talk was about the prodigal son, Dale Baker who lives in Adelaide, but commutes home on a semi regular basis to have a hit with his mates on the old home track. Dale plays off three at Flagstaff Hill Golf Club and came in with a 71 to lead Walker by one shot. On Sunday Walker lined up in the morning and duly equalled Baker's score with his own 71. Later in the day with the conditions a bit tougher Baker shot a disappointing 78. Vartuli shot another impressive round of 76 and is still hanging in there with a slender chance. Brad Steer is on the fourth line but is a long way behind. After playing well the week before he would have been hoping for a stronger title defence, but not everything goes your way on a golf course. Walker though, should really bolt in as an under par score is beckoning and he would love to go back to the US next month having secured his second club championship.

RYAN LAIRD HAS THE BELIEF
Ryan Laird began playing golf at the Mildura Golf Resort at the age of nine in 2003 with his mother Sue. Sue has gone on to be the premier lady golfer in Sunraysia golf in the last three or more years. Ryan began on a 36 handicap and won his first competition with a handicap of 36 at Mildura. It really gave him a taste of what to come and by 2005 he had given up football and tennis for his new sporting love. By the age of 12 his handicap was down to 12 and in 2009/10 he was chosen in the State development squad and head hunted by the Commonwealth Golf Club to represent them in Colts pennant. Traveling back and forth became a real chore and with schooling becoming more demanding he backed off on the Melbourne journeys and golf in general took a back seat to school. Ryan was still playing at home and represented Sunraysia at Country Week in Melbourne during 2009/11/12 playing at number one last year. In January he won a spot in the Victorian Open at 13th Beach which was his biggest thrill in golf, to be teeing it up alongside some great names in such a prestigous tournament. Though he missed the 36 hole cut by just three strokes, it was a life changing experience for him. He gained an inner belief that he belonged in that environment and felt during that week that he had respect from people in his industry. That is so important at such an early stage in any sportsman's development. Commonwealth were also impressed and elevated him into senior pennant where he won two matches out of five for the season. Back home he led the Red Cliffs Open before his playing partner Justin McPhee birdied four of the last five holes to beat him by one shot. Ryan's next tournament will be the last Sunraysia District Golf Association Open Championship at Coomealla Golf Club next month followed by the Club Championships at Mildura and Melbourne Country Week. On the 1st of January he begins his three year traineeship as a golf professional at Kingswood Golf Club in Melbourne underneath David Capaldo. Following his traineeship he plans to play the circuits around Australia for a year then try his luck on the Canadian or Asian golf tours. At the age of 16 Ryan decided that a life in golf was his destiny and with the support, complete backing of his parents, Sue and Tom, it gave him the belief to embark on his dream. At 19 he has the world at his his feet, he has the tools for success, it is now up to him to continue working hard and believing that Ryan Laird has what it takes to make it.

STEVE DARMODY IN THE BEGINNING
In 1987 Steve Darmody was the Coomealla Golf Club professional
and approached me to manage a golf shop for him in Mildura. I had been operating a cleaning business for 12 years and was looking to begin a golf tours business attracting groups of golfers to Sunraysia. I promised Steve 12 months, sold our business and we opened Steve's Golf Factory in May 1987. It was great start to my golfing life after only having played competitive golf for eight years. Steve taught me about some of the basic golf business essentials, he was somewhat of a golfing technician and for a golfing outback destination such as Coomealla he was really way ahead of his time. I wasn't, so he provided me with a real springboard of knowledge of the industry. In 1993 he decided it was time to move on and offered to sell me the shop, which located in 9th street. He moved to Melbourne for a short period before relocating to the Gold Coast and ultimately Sanctuary Cove, where he is the head golf professional. Steve has really made a name for himself on the Coast, is a AAA teaching professional with other credentials that are measured on a world scale. On Monday Kym and I caught up with him and reminisced about those times. It was nice. He hadn't forgotten what a hot head I was in those days, but we discussed our lives since. Denise, his first wife, passed away several years ago but he now has two small children aged 3 and 7 and a lovely partner. Life is great on the Coast for the man who gave me a beginning in the wonderful world of golf.

THE OPEN AT MUIRFIELD
The most prestigous golf tournament in the world will be conducted at the Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland this week. The golf course which is hosting The Open for the 16th time is held in such revere by Jack Nicklaus that he named the first course he designed in the US, Muirfield, in it's honour. This week all of the world's biggest names in golf will assemble to become almost a god of golf if they win. Last year we sat drooling as Adam Scott went within a shot of his ultimate dream of emulating his hero Greg Norman who won the Title twice. Can he do it this year? Jason Day is our next big chance but don't write off Leishman or Senden. For the first round leader I like the chances of England's Chris Wood or Ireland's Shane Lowry, but I have a feeling it will be a European who wins this year. Germany's Martyn Kaymer, England's Justin Rose or Luke Donald. We crave an Aussie win so Scotty is our number one man. It is going to be a sensational golf tournament, maybe the best ever, enjoy it, I certainly will.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
Some super scores form around the district with Dale Baker having 71 off the stick in the Red Cliffs club championships on Saturday to be bettered by our sponsor Garth Doherty who had a blistering 67 at 'Merbein. At Riverside Hans Schulz and Greg Chandler were five better than handicap to match Gaye Gray at Red Cliffs. Ned Klemm was one better at Riverside but this weeks Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week winner is Tevis Wright at Coomealla with seven better than his mark. Well done Tevis, you can collect your prize of one dozen Taylor Made "Burner" golf balls from the House of Golf 347 Ontario Ave where the catch cry is "see you down at the range".
Contact me with your golf news or views at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
11/7/13
MURRAY DARLING GOLF ASSOCIATION
The Sunraysia District Golf Association in conjunction with the North West Women?s Golf Inc hosted a combined Pennant Final dinner on Sunday night at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting club to celebrate the pennant season, acknowledge, recognise and applaud the winning clubs and runners up that day. It was a sensational night with 160 golfers from seven district clubs including 13 people from Broken Hill in attendance. SDGA President surprised most people with the announcement of the new name for our association to be adopted in October once the amalgamation process has been completed as the Murray Darling Golf Association. ( I guess it will grow on people like me who are Sunraysia/Mildura orientated) The new name, amalgamation and mixed committee will be a whole new beginning and challenges for our district which now spreads from Robinvale to Broken Hill and takes in all of the sub district clubs around Ouyen. Riverside Golf Club are to be congratulated for having their two A grade teams in the men?s and ladies finals, both went down but to reach the finals against such classy opposition was an achievement in itself. Sunday provided the most perfect day for the last ever day of SDGA/NWWG pennant with sensational golf topped off by a superb closing function providing a springboard for the future for golf in Sunraysia.
RED CLIFFS WIN LAST SDGA PENNANT
Red Cliffs Golf Club added to its history on Sunday at Coomealla winning the last ever Division One SDGA Pennant. It is only several years ago that the club couldn?t field a division team but how that has turned around in those few short years. Tim Walker is schooling in America and his summer vacation holiday fell beautifully for him and the recently allowing to participate in every match. On Sunday he was too classy for a gutsy Chris Thomas who fought hard against the odds. Justin McPhee stepped up to the plate last week and again on Sunday just as a great player should against Andrew Thomas. Perhaps the surprise of the year to many observers has been the emergence of Dom Vartulli as a top district performer. Vartulli won the Berri Golf Club Open in May which really buoyed his confidence for pennant where he has been one of Red cliffs best players this season. On Sunday he easily accounted for a good golfer in Dave Woolcock. For Riverside, former club champion/golf professional Ben Hogan showed his true colour in a good win over young Tom Holmes. Hogan has been somewhat of a golfing nomad compared to most top golfers but after landing back in Mildura last year and securing his amateur status back, Ben looks to be now in a position to really move forward with his life and his golf. The last match saw the talented Steve Wilmann hold too many guns for a gallant Brad Steer. Six down after 18 holes Steer fought back to lose at the 17thto a player of immense ability. At the beginning of the season I had Red Cliffs favourite to win and Riverside favourites for the wooden spoon. The performance by Riverside was what makes the game of pennant so good to be involved in. For Red Cliffs to win their first top grade pennant for 21 years was enormous. That pennant will hang beside the 1992 version that boasted names like O?Brien, Pascoe, Keogh, Gursansky, Robertson and Wilson.
COOMEALLA LADIES CHAMPIONSHIP CLUB
It was the match of the day. Coming to the 18th hole the two number one players locked together, all square with two wins each in the house and a gallery of 30 people watching on from both clubs. Anne Bowen has reduced her handicap to five this year, which is an amazing effort by a mature age lady golfer. Her opponent Janet Luke similarly has slicer her handicap by two thirds in the last two years. There they stood on the tough par 3 18th knowing the hopes of their clubs rested on them. On this occasion Anne was good enough to pop her putt in at the right time but Janet can certainly hold her head high as she went in as the underdog and fought hard to the finish. Prior to that match Nycole Riordan had squared up the contest when she edged out Lynda Saunders on the 18th. Nycole has shot a 37 off the stick around the front nine which would have blown most others off the park, but not our Lynda who had stuck with like glue. This was a fantastic contest that no one deserved to lose. Suzanne McLellan had started the ?coomy? fight back by beating Caroline James after Helen Burke and Chitra Rankin had given Riverside a 2/0 lead by beating Roz Hocking and Sue Arthur. Next year?s expectation is that there will be more ladies teams and more games which will be great for ladies golf and further add to presentation and atmosphere at district pennant.
MILDURA TOO GOOD IN DIV 2
Mildura golf Resort were the only team to go through the season in any grade undefeated and on Sunday were just too classy for the Broken Hill team. Team captain Ross Mackay was the only winner for the Hill over Chris Williams at the 36th hole in a cracker of a match. Winners for Mildura were Michael cooper, Dave Murray, Greg Toma and Wayne Mawley over Glen Andrich, Glenn Williams, Jason Pearce and Tim O?Neill. This is a division that will hopefully be bolstered by more teams from other clubs next year with the view that a promotion system may be used in the years to come.
COOMEALLA CONTINUE SUCCESS IN DIV 3
Last year Coomealla won the Division four pennant but this year that team moved up to division three and duly carried on where they left off last year. Team captain Hamish Glasgow is without doubt the most passionate player in pennant but after losing 8/7 last week he was as nervous as could be by Sunday coming up against Mildura again. He dropped himself down the order to five and was cruising along way out in front of his opponent Bob Bettess only to turn a couple up. Luckily for him he was able to resurrect his game around the back for a comfortable win. Assisting him were Larry Frasca and the indefatigable Greg Butcher against Rob Foster and Ernie Sporn. Winners for Mildura were Wayne Dahmes and Graeme Irvin over Rob Narramore and Andrew Tregeagle.
WENTWORTH TOO CLASSY IN DIV 4
In the circumstances perhaps we can bend our attitude to Wentworth?s tactics of playing a much better team in division four that in the competition?s spirit was questionable to say the least. The club, as everyone knows is battling to survive so to have a pennant victory this year was probably more significant o them than anything else. Phil Lawn is a class golfer and Nathan Gard, irrespective of handicap is also a polished performer. Thow in Darren Bottomley and this team would be competitive in Division two. On Sunday Peter Bicker added to their four one victory over a very good Mildura outfit who only had Gary Fumberger as their sole winner over Doug Rowsell. Mildura?s other participants were Kane Brown, Paul Avery, Simon Kelly and Ian Nimon. As the division would suggest, it is really open to entry level to mid handicap players who are either starting out in pennant or finishing their careers. Without making too much of a fuss over it, perhaps the new MDGA should sit down with all the clubs and discuss attitudes and plans with all clubs so that everyone is on the one page. Congratulations to Wentworth on their win, all district golfing people wish the club well and hope that next year there will be an ongoing presence of Wentworth in district pennant.
BROKEN HILL OUTBACK OPEN
The Broken Hill Outback Open is one of the premier events in the SDGA/NWWG Inc season and will be conducted on Saturday and Sunday July 20/21. The district is taking up a 50 seater coach which includes in coach movies. Cost of the coach and accommodation on Saturday night at the Old Willyama Motor Inn is $100 , plus $40 for the two day tournament. Over 30 people have booked to go so far and there are others who prefer to drive themselves. The tournament has both men?s and ladies sections and is sure to be a fantastic weekend. The golf course is excellent, rated one of the best desert courses in Australia. Do yourself a favour, if you haven?t been to broken Hill or played golf there, then live a bit, book in and be part of the fun. Contact Fran Sette on 0400 0969 473 or Email f.m.sette@bigpond.com. Entries close July 17.
SUNRSAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND of the WEEK
Great scoring around the district this week with nine players breaking their handicaps by a minimum of six strokes. Harry Bradford at Coomealla and Terry Simpson at Riverside both recorded seven better than their marks which is great golf. Ken Hornsby came in at Riverside all cock of the hoop with an excellent 64 net only to be informed that Darren Woolfrey had had a career best net 60! If you don?t mind sergeant major!
Darren wins the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week prize of one dozen Taylor made ?Burner? golf balls which must be collected from Sunraysia?s Home of Golf 347 Ontario ave, Down at the Range.
Contact me with your golfing news or views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.
 
4/7/13
FRENCH OPEN - EUROPEAN TOUR
Another great field this week with nearly all of the top Europeans pros playing. Last week I was way off line with my predictions in Ireland, shouldn't have been because I have backed Paul Casey three times this year! Great to see him back firing. This week I am looking to a couple of my usual favourites in in Ian Poulter and Luke Donald but without much confidence I might add. I have also pecked at McDowell and Quiros at long odds. Next week the Scottish Open at an absolute cracker of a course and then the big one - The Open.
GREENBIER CLASSIC - US PGA TOUR
Well, if Mickelson is going to win an event this year, surely it has to be this one. Probably as week a field as he could expect and a course that should really suit him. I just wonder whether the softer titles light his fire as much as the big ones. We will find out this weekend. Other chances I specked at were Louis Oosty the South African who hasn't fired a shot for Yonks and the Aussies John Senden and Aaron Baddeley - more out of hope than anything else. But it's big lefty for me this week.
INBEE PARK - LPGA TOUR
Inbee you star, I backed her three weeks ago and my wife Kym said she would follow up the next two tournaments, she did, I didn't. She has really taken over Yani's mantele as the far and away number one lady golfer in the world. No tournament this week so we have to watch the blokes.
SIMON GERRANS - MANSFIELD MAN - TOUR DE fRANCE
I know, I know, it's not golf but it is fantastic. For some years now I have not missed a minute of the Tour de France. The whole coverage is first rate. The absolute best two commentators of and sport in the world on SBS in Phil Ligget and his offsider, scenery every night for a month that is spell bounding and pomp and circumstance and tradition. I could go on and on but I think you get where I'm coming from. On top of that we have a connection with a good number of people in Mansfield who have been coming to our Tri-State Masters tournament for 20 years which is where Simon's family lives. Go Gerro!!
 
2/7/13
SUNRAYSIA DISTRICT GOLF ASSOCIATION PENNANT ? FUTURE LOOKING GOOD
The 2013 Sunraysia District Golf Association pennant season will go down in the record books as one of the best ever in the associations history. Four divisions plus the inclusion of two ladies sections has increased the participation, image and importance of club pennant throughout our golfing district enormously this year. It now provides a real launching pad for an even bigger and better competition in 2014. The only thing that really brings our clubs together at any time is our pennant season. With the coming amalgamation of the men?s and ladies association at years end this mini ?togetherness? experiment has been a real plus for all concerned. Like it or not, golf clubs are in business against one another and obviously other sporting codes, so it is extremely difficult to separate those issues from the competition and social side of club golf. This Sunday provides a wonderful opportunity for as many golfing people from all golf clubs to congregate at Coomealla Golf Club to acknowledge the beginning of a whole new chapter in Sunraysia golf and vote with their feet that the SDGA and NWWG Inc are on the right track as to what is best for all golfers in Sunraysia. Men women and young children are finding out just how wonderful the game of golf can be
RIVERSIDE TO TACKLE RED CLIFFS IN FINAL AT COOMEALLA
In the premier division of men?s pennant two of the smaller clubs meet in an absolute cracker jack contest over 36 holes. Riverside have been superb in all five contests, losing only to Coomealla with the last shot of the day. Red Cliffs, who were the competition favourites from day one have had to really dig deep to reach the final but on paper they look formidable. Like most pennant finals the result will come down to the match ups. Red Cliffs has Tim Walker who should win to put them one up, after that they only need to find two winners. Riverside have no equivalent player so they need three players to put their hand up. Justin McPhee is Red Cliffs most credentialed player and should give them their second win, so then only one of Brad Steer, Dom Vartuli or Craig Gursansky has to salute. For Riverside their strongest three players are Andrew Thomas, Steve Wilman and Chris Thomas but Ben Hogan has had a reasonable year and Dave Woolcock is very capable. There could be a late change to the Riverside team if Englishman James Daly forces his way into the side after a good round at Coomealla this morning. All very secret but everything is fair in war and pennant golf. Daly would help tip the scales slightly but my tip is Red Cliffs 3/2 but it will go right down to the wire.
COOMEALLA LADIES VERSUS RIVERSIDE GOLD
The inaugural ladies final on a Sunday will be another ripper clash with home side Coomealla Blue taking on the tenacious Riverside Gold team. Both of these team surprised somewhat in making the final as Broken Hill and Riverside Green looked to be the team?s most likely in the short three match season. Anne Bowen and Nycole Riordan the ?guns? for Coomealla but both will have to give big starts in the handicap pennant format against Janet Luke (9 strokes) and Lynda Saunders five strokes. Sandra Waters then has to give Caroline James six shots making those first three contests crucial. In the other to matches Roz Hocking and Sue Arthur are well matched against Helen Burke and Chitra Rankin. There is no doubt that Coomealla have the home advantage but over 18 holes with shots given and Riverside?s fighting spirit it?s the visitors 3/2.
BROKEN HILL TAKE ON MILDURA IN DIV 2
Mildura div two were the only unbeaten team in pennant this year and as such will go into this final as odds on against Broken Hill. Dave Murray is a standout for Mildura but received a real fright on Sunday when only overcame Josef Moisidis at the 20th. Michael Cooper is a potential top A grader and Chris Williams, Wayne Manley and Barry Pilgrim are good golfers. For the Hill, Ross Mackay is their ?go to? man, he must win for them to be a chance. Glen Williams, Glen Andrich, Cameron Wells and Jason Pearce are all iffy at Coomealla so it?s a 4/1 to Mildura for me in this division.
COOMEALLA AT HOME TO MILDURA IN DIV 3
In a replay of Sunday?s match at Red Cliffs where Mildura were too strong for Coomealla, it is back into it again this week. Coomealla will be more at ease on their home turf than at the Cliffs with seasoned homies such as Hamish Glasgow, Larry Frasca and Rob Narramore heading up newer members in Brad Mottram and the irrepressible Greg Butcher. Mildura will go in super confident after wins by Ernie Sporn, Wayne Dahmes and Graeme Irvin on Sunday and excellent performances from Rick Foster and Bob Bettess who both lost at the 18th. I can?t see Coomy putting in two bad ones in a row so it?s the NSW team 3/1.
WENTWORTH LOOKING UP AGAINST MILDURA IN DIV 4
I love a happy ending story more than most and it would be as such if Wentworth were able to clinch the division four pennant flag on Sunday from the might of Mildura Black. Alas it will not happen! Kane Brown is the absolute top liner in this division and will win. Gary Fumberger is also very handy. Throw in Travers Zanker, Paul Avery and Simon Kelly and this team looks very formidable. The back room boys from Wentworth include Darren Bottomley who is Wenty?s top player, club president, greenkeeper, Robin Hood and everything else at Wentworth golf Club Keith Pain, Doug Rowsell, Alan Travetts and Mark Lyall who make up the opposition. It is terrific for SDGA pennant that Wentworth have secured a finals berth, an achievement it itself really but Mildura Black, unless feeling some opposition love, should win easily 4/1.
SUNDAY NIGHT ? SDGA/NWWG PENNANT FINALEE CELEBRATION
On Sunday night the SDGA and NWWG Inc will host the inaugural Pennant Dinner at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club for everyone associated with a golf club in Sunraysia. There are over 2000 players, officials and supporters that would be eligible to attend, if you are reading this you are one of them that would be made most welcome. Whilst the catalyst of the night is to celebrate and recognise the feats of the winning five pennant teams, runners up and all other participants, it is also an opportunity to come together as an association and celebrate each other. Call SDGA President Steve Henshall to book your group in on 0400 238 004 today. Make up a table or come by yourself as it will be a night to remember.
SWAMPY JAMES ? ORIGINAL CAST MEMBER OF THE IFONLY?S
Ron ?Swampy? James was I man I came to know through his nephew Gary Kerr. A wonderful bloke, a good bloke. During my stint as a radio golf presenter n 3MA we decided to do a golf serial based on our Social Golf Club within our shop at the Sunraysia Golf Factory. Part of that inspiration was the opportunity to incorporate the distinctive voice of Swampy James. The serial went for ten weeks and we produced a CD of it for our families, it really was great fun. Only one character played themselves ? Swampy. All who knew him loved he was that type of guy, probably how most of us want to be remembered, as a good bloke. R I P Swampy.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Good scores across the district this week without anything too outlandish. Colin Robson and Jim Stephen went six up at Riverside to be equal fourth best of the week where the ladies also fired up. Betty Fisher and Marg Dunlop both came in eight better than their marks in grand performances. The Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week though, goes to Robert Bell at Coomealla for his 44 points just nudging out the girls at Riverside. Robert must collect his prize of one dozen Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls from the House of Golf 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday night where everyone meets ?Down at the Range?.
Contact me with your golfing news or views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
SUNRAYSIA DISTRICT GOLF ASSOCIATION PENNANT ? FUTURE LOOKING GOOD
The 2013 Sunraysia District Golf Association pennant season will go down in the record books as one of the best ever in the associations history. Four divisions plus the inclusion of two ladies sections has increased the participation, image and importance of club pennant throughout our golfing district enormously this year. It now provides a real launching pad for an even bigger and better competition in 2014. The only thing that really brings our clubs together at any time is our pennant season. With the coming amalgamation of the men?s and ladies association at years end this mini ?togetherness? experiment has been a real plus for all concerned. Like it or not, golf clubs are in business against one another and obviously other sporting codes, so it is extremely difficult to separate those issues from the competition and social side of club golf. This Sunday provides a wonderful opportunity for as many golfing people from all golf clubs to congregate at Coomealla Golf Club to acknowledge the beginning of a whole new chapter in Sunraysia golf and vote with their feet that the SDGA and NWWG Inc are on the right track as to what is best for all golfers in Sunraysia. Men women and young children are finding out just how wonderful the game of golf can be
RIVERSIDE TO TACKLE RED CLIFFS IN FINAL AT COOMEALLA
In the premier division of men?s pennant two of the smaller clubs meet in an absolute cracker jack contest over 36 holes. Riverside have been superb in all five contests, losing only to Coomealla with the last shot of the day. Red Cliffs, who were the competition favourites from day one have had to really dig deep to reach the final but on paper they look formidable. Like most pennant finals the result will come down to the match ups. Red Cliffs has Tim Walker who should win to put them one up, after that they only need to find two winners. Riverside have no equivalent player so they need three players to put their hand up. Justin McPhee is Red Cliffs most credentialed player and should give them their second win, so then only one of Brad Steer, Dom Vartuli or Craig Gursansky has to salute. For Riverside their strongest three players are Andrew Thomas, Steve Wilman and Chris Thomas but Ben Hogan has had a reasonable year and Dave Woolcock is very capable. There could be a late change to the Riverside team if Englishman James Daly forces his way into the side after a good round at Coomealla this morning. All very secret but everything is fair in war and pennant golf. Daly would help tip the scales slightly but my tip is Red Cliffs 3/2 but it will go right down to the wire.
COOMEALLA LADIES VERSUS RIVERSIDE GOLD
The inaugural ladies final on a Sunday will be another ripper clash with home side Coomealla Blue taking on the tenacious Riverside Gold team. Both of these team surprised somewhat in making the final as Broken Hill and Riverside Green looked to be the team?s most likely in the short three match season. Anne Bowen and Nycole Riordan the ?guns? for Coomealla but both will have to give big starts in the handicap pennant format against Janet Luke (9 strokes) and Lynda Saunders five strokes. Sandra Waters then has to give Caroline James six shots making those first three contests crucial. In the other to matches Roz Hocking and Sue Arthur are well matched against Helen Burke and Chitra Rankin. There is no doubt that Coomealla have the home advantage but over 18 holes with shots given and Riverside?s fighting spirit it?s the visitors 3/2.
BROKEN HILL TAKE ON MILDURA IN DIV 2
Mildura div two were the only unbeaten team in pennant this year and as such will go into this final as odds on against Broken Hill. Dave Murray is a standout for Mildura but received a real fright on Sunday when only overcame Josef Moisidis at the 20th. Michael Cooper is a potential top A grader and Chris Williams, Wayne Manley and Barry Pilgrim are good golfers. For the Hill, Ross Mackay is their ?go to? man, he must win for them to be a chance. Glen Williams, Glen Andrich, Cameron Wells and Jason Pearce are all iffy at Coomealla so it?s a 4/1 to Mildura for me in this division.
COOMEALLA AT HOME TO MILDURA IN DIV 3
In a replay of Sunday?s match at Red Cliffs where Mildura were too strong for Coomealla, it is back into it again this week. Coomealla will be more at ease on their home turf than at the Cliffs with seasoned homies such as Hamish Glasgow, Larry Frasca and Rob Narramore heading up newer members in Brad Mottram and the irrepressible Greg Butcher. Mildura will go in super confident after wins by Ernie Sporn, Wayne Dahmes and Graeme Irvin on Sunday and excellent performances from Rick Foster and Bob Bettess who both lost at the 18th. I can?t see Coomy putting in two bad ones in a row so it?s the NSW team 3/1.
WENTWORTH LOOKING UP AGAINST MILDURA IN DIV 4
I love a happy ending story more than most and it would be as such if Wentworth were able to clinch the division four pennant flag on Sunday from the might of Mildura Black. Alas it will not happen! Kane Brown is the absolute top liner in this division and will win. Gary Fumberger is also very handy. Throw in Travers Zanker, Paul Avery and Simon Kelly and this team looks very formidable. The back room boys from Wentworth include Darren Bottomley who is Wenty?s top player, club president, greenkeeper, Robin Hood and everything else at Wentworth golf Club Keith Pain, Doug Rowsell, Alan Travetts and Mark Lyall who make up the opposition. It is terrific for SDGA pennant that Wentworth have secured a finals berth, an achievement it itself really but Mildura Black, unless feeling some opposition love, should win easily 4/1.
SUNDAY NIGHT ? SDGA/NWWG PENNANT FINALEE CELEBRATION
On Sunday night the SDGA and NWWG Inc will host the inaugural Pennant Dinner at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club for everyone associated with a golf club in Sunraysia. There are over 2000 players, officials and supporters that would be eligible to attend, if you are reading this you are one of them that would be made most welcome. Whilst the catalyst of the night is to celebrate and recognise the feats of the winning five pennant teams, runners up and all other participants, it is also an opportunity to come together as an association and celebrate each other. Call SDGA President Steve Henshall to book your group in on 0400 238 004 today. Make up a table or come by yourself as it will be a night to remember.
SWAMPY JAMES ? ORIGINAL CAST MEMBER OF THE IFONLY?S
Ron ?Swampy? James was I man I came to know through his nephew Gary Kerr. A wonderful bloke, a good bloke. During my stint as a radio golf presenter n 3MA we decided to do a golf serial based on our Social Golf Club within our shop at the Sunraysia Golf Factory. Part of that inspiration was the opportunity to incorporate the distinctive voice of Swampy James. The serial went for ten weeks and we produced a CD of it for our families, it really was great fun. Only one character played themselves ? Swampy. All who knew him loved he was that type of guy, probably how most of us want to be remembered, as a good bloke. R I P Swampy.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Good scores across the district this week without anything too outlandish. Colin Robson and Jim Stephen went six up at Riverside to be equal fourth best of the week where the ladies also fired up. Betty Fisher and Marg Dunlop both came in eight better than their marks in grand performances. The Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week though, goes to Robert Bell at Coomealla for his 44 points just nudging out the girls at Riverside. Robert must collect his prize of one dozen Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls from the House of Golf 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday night where everyone meets ?Down at the Range?.
Contact me with your golfing news or views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
27/6/13
WRONG WRONG WRONG
In the last entry I said the British Senior Open begins this week WRONG WRONG WRONG It begins on the 25th of July I am sorry for the mis-information.
I AM A GOOSE repeat 50 times I AM A GOOSE ....................
 
27/6/13
FANTASTIC TOURNAMENT GOLF WORLDWIDE IN ALL SECTIONS
If you are a bit of an insomniac(like me) and you love golf, then the next four weekends are going to be heaven sent. Irish Open begins tonight with all the Irish boys lining up. Rory, McDowell Padraig, Clarke and so on. I like a couple of young poms for the top ten who have being playing well in Tom Lewis and Tommy Fleetwood but my top pick is P Harrington. The Irish are sensational people and this tournament was a cracker last year at Portrush when Donaldson won. Next week is the French Open followed by the Scottish Open,then the big one,The Open.
BRITISH SENIOR OPEN AT ROYAL BIRKDALE
I have been a sucker for Colin Montgomerie for years. Fantastic golfer but a bit of a pig on the course, it would seem. He only turned 50 last Sunday so he is the rookie on the tour. Tom Lehman and a roughie in Nick Price are my next picks but the whole tournament should be another ripper. As usual Peter Senior is the top Australian chance but he just can't seem to put a full tournament together. Maybe this week. Peter is about as a nice a bloke as you will ever find -go Pete.
US LADIES OPEN - GO KARRIE
The US ladies Open is another biggie this week with all the gals going hard for golfs biggest ladies prize. Karrie is playing well and the harder the course set up the better for her. Suzzane Pettersen is my other top chance but the strong Korean team have dominated US and World rankings over the last five years so it would be no surprise to see one of them come through. World number one Inbee Park has won the last two events in the US so three in a row is not out of the question.
SCOTTY AND DAY AT AT&T ON US TOUR
It is not often that you see the top two in the betting in a US PGA Tour championship coming from Australia but that is the case this week. Who cares which one wins, as long as it is one of them. Everyone would probably like to see Jason get the nod but Scotty is in top form. I also like the chances of John Senden and Marc Leishman so we might have a blanket Aussie finish.
 
25/6/13
RIVERSIDE AWAIT FINAL OPPOSITION
Riverside Golf Club sealed their final spot on Saturday morning in Broken Hill with a resounding 4/1 thrashing of the home side to confirm their dominance in pennant so far this season. Dave Woolcock was the only casualty as Ben Hogan, Steve Wilmann, Chris and Andrew Thomas all rose to the occasion. Now the green and gold?s can rest for a week whilst the other combatants fight it out at Red Cliffs for the chance to meet them in the final at Coomealla the following week. In the preceding match on Sunday Red Cliffs scrambled over the line against a desperate Coomealla, eventually coming down to the last contest which culminated at the 19th. The Cliffs got off to a great start with Dom Vartulli and Brad Steer accounting for Troy Neville (19th) and Sean Baumgurtel but Coomy fought back with wins by Tim Peterson over Tom Holmes then a ripper match between Mark Hahn and Justin McPhee. Hahn finally emerged victorious on the 20th which set up the decider on the 19th between Tim Walker and Ryan Laird. After a classic encounter Walker was able to make a pressure cooker birdie to further his teams finals aspirations. In the Sunday contests Red Cliffs delivered the knock out punch to Mildura?s finals push winning 3/2. Former Mildura player Tom Holmes was the hero of the day for Red Cliffs this time winning in overtime at the 19th against Michael Cooper after Tim Walker and Dom Vartulli had halved the match to even up wins by Mildura?s Ash Whitehouse and Cameron Stewart. Riverside had run out of steam somewhat going down to Coomealla, all be it in the last game at the 19th against Coomealla. Troy Neville and Ryan Laird had squared the wins by Steve Wilmann and Chris Thomas which left Sean Baumgurtel and Andrew Thomas on the 19th hole. Coomealla had to win to stay live for their finals aspirations, it came down to their captain who holed a 30foot putt from off the green to win. In footy terms ? similar to Ash McGrath for Brisbane against Geelong, a goal after the siren to win the game! This week Red Cliffs should account for Broken Hill to give them the chance to meet Riverside in the final but Mildura can put a final nail into Coomealla?s coffin with Greg Rhodes coming in for Ash Whitehouse. It will be close but Coomy need to at least win 3/2 and then wait to see how much Red Cliffs win by as a 4/1 result by the home team would secure the final berth. Pennant this year has really been the best ever, congratulations to the SDGA, golf clubs and most importantly the players.
LADIES SEMI FINALS ALL SET
Ladies Semi Finals will take place at Red cliffs Golf Club on Sunday after the ladders were assembled following the last round at Broken Hill on Sunday. Broken Hill were too good on the day for pennant favourites Riverside Green winning 3/2. Jenny Stephenson gave Marg Lampard three shots and won 4/2 in a great match. Judy Edgecumbe and Ann-Marie Bessell were also winners for the Hill with Sandy Briggs and the gutsy Wendy Dawson victors for the river ladies. This promoted the Hill back to the top of the ladder. Coomealla White were too strong for Mildura winning 4/1 but both teams pennant is now over for 2013. In section B of Coomealla Blue moved into top spot after defeating a gallant Wentworth 4/1 and Riverside Gold comfortably accounted for Red Cliffs. Coomealla Blue ended the season ladder leaders from Riverside Gold. On Sunday Broken Hill will play Riverside Gold and Coomealla Blue will meet Riverside Green with the two winning combinations clashing in the final at Coomealla the following Sunday over 18 holes. Feedback on the first try at ladies pennant in this format has been positive with the major concern being only a three match season. That is easily fixed next year. This year was all about the transition and how it was accepted.
SUE LAIRD ? HALL OF FAME CANDIDATE
Sue Laird added another two club championships to her continuing list of outstanding performances in Sunraysia golf over the last ten years. Mildura Golf Resort is where she began her career as a novice golfer after a career in tennis. It took a lot of hard work and perseverance but she has really established herself as one of our districts all time greats. The last twelve months have had a devastating impact on her with family illness but she has been able to work through and maintain her focus, once she hit the golf course. Last week she won again at Mildura after a minor melt down, form wise, with an 86 to win from Mabel Crouch who made up six shots on the last day. The following day she trekked over to Coomealla to win easily from Michelle Bowditch. There isn?t a Golf Hall of Fame in Sunraysia yet but when it does eventuate, Sue Laird will be one of the first ladies considered.
Marg Lampard won back to back at riverside last week from evergreen Lorraine Palmer. Margy is going through a great period in her golf which appears to be getting better and better all the time. Out at Wentworth Lee Bottomley continued on her winning ways to win the club championship easily. Lee is another example of the mum who followed the husband and son and loves the game to the enth degree. The Wentworth Golf Club and course must increase the difficulty in forging ahead and keeping a clear focus on her own personal progress as a golfer but she looks to be on the way to Country Teams somewhere in the not too distant future. Merbein, Red cliff and Robinvale are yet to divulge about their ladies championships (to me) so more news on them when that information is available.
ELS WINS BMW IN MUNICH
Ernie Els won the BMW Championship in Munich on Sunday by one shot. This was great viewing (all 20 hours worth) with lots of thrills and spills on a flat golf course similar to what we play on each week. This course only opened as a 9 hole public course in 1989 but has now got three distinct 9?s and looks a treat. Germany has really hopped onto the golfing bandwagon with 650 golf courses dotting the country side which has only really happened in the last 20 years. The European golf tour is such a wonderful group of events and tournaments that include so many different countries, golf courses and players, week in, week out. Els the current British Open champion is South African, he won from the Dane Thomas Bjorn with Frenchman Alexander Levy third, Martin Kaymer Germany fourth, Alex Noren Sweden fifth and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger sixth. Of course they all come with their personality and language differences which is captured beautifully by the high tech cameras and microphones now used in golf coverage. Other than the on course scenery which is quite superb in exotic places such as Sweden, Swiss Alps, South Africa and so many more, it is fascinating to observe the galleries, their behaviour and the way they dress to go to the golf. All great viewing.
WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING
This week the start of the really big European swing begins with the Irish Open in County Kildare. Having been to Ireland several times I love this tournament as the whole country, the people, the golf clubs, everything in fact is so good. I am sure Australians have had their ?humour? passed down from the Irish as it really is infectious. This week Rory McIlroy returns as the prodigal son along with fellow US Open winner Graeme McDowell and major winners in Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke. The first two in particular will be where the majority of the focus will be centered. I like a couple of roughies this week in young Englishmen Tom Lewis and Tommy Fleetwood but one of the Irish boys winning would bring the house down.
1-187 KEN DUKE US PGA
Journeyman professional Ken Duke won the Travelers Championship on the US PGA Tour on Sunday after 186 previous tournaments without a win on the tour. At 44 years of age he must have been thinking that it would never happen, but for him hard work and dreams do come true. It wasn?t easy as he won at the 74th hole after looking gone for all money several times, even on that last hole. When he was interviewed immediately after his victory he sent a thank you to his coach Bob Toski of 19 years saying, ?Last week I had a great session with Mr Toski and it set me up for this week?. That said it all for me about Ken Duke, you can call it American Smoltz or whatever you like but as far as I am concerned I call it respect. He had just won over one million dollars and set himself and the rest of his golf career up for life but he didn?t forget who he was, where he had come from and who had helped him get to that position, it was the first thing he thought of. Pure class.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Only a few good scores this week with apologies to anyone I may have missed. Steve Enright and Grant Gillard were top of the block at Riverside with 67 nett?s. At Red Cliffs Tim Walker is creaming the ball into smithereens and produce a 67 off the stick for a net 69! How good is that? Peter Knight is our Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week winner though with a fine 66 nett at the cliffs to nudge Timmy out by one shot. Peter can collect his prize of one dozen Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls from the House of Golf 247 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday evening where they will meet him ?Down at the Range?.
Contact me with your golfing news and views at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
RIVERSIDE AWAIT FINAL OPPOSITION
Riverside Golf Club sealed their final spot on Saturday morning in Broken Hill with a resounding 4/1 thrashing of the home side to confirm their dominance in pennant so far this season. Dave Woolcock was the only casualty as Ben Hogan, Steve Wilmann, Chris and Andrew Thomas all rose to the occasion. Now the green and gold?s can rest for a week whilst the other combatants fight it out at Red Cliffs for the chance to meet them in the final at Coomealla the following week. In the preceding match on Sunday Red Cliffs scrambled over the line against a desperate Coomealla, eventually coming down to the last contest which culminated at the 19th. The Cliffs got off to a great start with Dom Vartulli and Brad Steer accounting for Troy Neville (19th) and Sean Baumgurtel but Coomy fought back with wins by Tim Peterson over Tom Holmes then a ripper match between Mark Hahn and Justin McPhee. Hahn finally emerged victorious on the 20th which set up the decider on the 19th between Tim Walker and Ryan Laird. After a classic encounter Walker was able to make a pressure cooker birdie to further his teams finals aspirations. In the Sunday contests Red Cliffs delivered the knock out punch to Mildura?s finals push winning 3/2. Former Mildura player Tom Holmes was the hero of the day for Red Cliffs this time winning in overtime at the 19th against Michael Cooper after Tim Walker and Dom Vartulli had halved the match to even up wins by Mildura?s Ash Whitehouse and Cameron Stewart. Riverside had run out of steam somewhat going down to Coomealla, all be it in the last game at the 19th against Coomealla. Troy Neville and Ryan Laird had squared the wins by Steve Wilmann and Chris Thomas which left Sean Baumgurtel and Andrew Thomas on the 19th hole. Coomealla had to win to stay live for their finals aspirations, it came down to their captain who holed a 30foot putt from off the green to win. In footy terms ? similar to Ash McGrath for Brisbane against Geelong, a goal after the siren to win the game! This week Red Cliffs should account for Broken Hill to give them the chance to meet Riverside in the final but Mildura can put a final nail into Coomealla?s coffin with Greg Rhodes coming in for Ash Whitehouse. It will be close but Coomy need to at least win 3/2 and then wait to see how much Red Cliffs win by as a 4/1 result by the home team would secure the final berth. Pennant this year has really been the best ever, congratulations to the SDGA, golf clubs and most importantly the players.
LADIES SEMI FINALS ALL SET
Ladies Semi Finals will take place at Red cliffs Golf Club on Sunday after the ladders were assembled following the last round at Broken Hill on Sunday. Broken Hill were too good on the day for pennant favourites Riverside Green winning 3/2. Jenny Stephenson gave Marg Lampard three shots and won 4/2 in a great match. Judy Edgecumbe and Ann-Marie Bessell were also winners for the Hill with Sandy Briggs and the gutsy Wendy Dawson victors for the river ladies. This promoted the Hill back to the top of the ladder. Coomealla White were too strong for Mildura winning 4/1 but both teams pennant is now over for 2013. In section B of Coomealla Blue moved into top spot after defeating a gallant Wentworth 4/1 and Riverside Gold comfortably accounted for Red Cliffs. Coomealla Blue ended the season ladder leaders from Riverside Gold. On Sunday Broken Hill will play Riverside Gold and Coomealla Blue will meet Riverside Green with the two winning combinations clashing in the final at Coomealla the following Sunday over 18 holes. Feedback on the first try at ladies pennant in this format has been positive with the major concern being only a three match season. That is easily fixed next year. This year was all about the transition and how it was accepted.
SUE LAIRD ? HALL OF FAME CANDIDATE
Sue Laird added another two club championships to her continuing list of outstanding performances in Sunraysia golf over the last ten years. Mildura Golf Resort is where she began her career as a novice golfer after a career in tennis. It took a lot of hard work and perseverance but she has really established herself as one of our districts all time greats. The last twelve months have had a devastating impact on her with family illness but she has been able to work through and maintain her focus, once she hit the golf course. Last week she won again at Mildura after a minor melt down, form wise, with an 86 to win by two strokes from Renmark lass Michelle Bowditch who made up six shots on the last day. The following day she trekked over to Coomealla to win easily from Mabel Crouch. There isn?t a Golf Hall of Fame in Sunraysia yet but when it does eventuate, Sue Laird will be one of the first ladies considered.
Marg Lampard won back to back at riverside last week from evergreen Lorraine Palmer. Margy is going through a great period in her golf which appears to be getting better and better all the time. Out at Wentworth Lee Bottomley continued on her winning ways to win the club championship easily. Lee is another example of the mum who followed the husband and son and loves the game to the enth degree. The Wentworth Golf Club and course must increase the difficulty in forging ahead and keeping a clear focus on her own personal progress as a golfer but she looks to be on the way to Country Teams somewhere in the not too distant future. Merbein, Red cliff and Robinvale are yet to divulge about their ladies championships (to me) so more news on them when that information is available.
ELS WINS BMW IN MUNICH
Ernie Els won the BMW Championship in Munich on Sunday by one shot. This was great viewing (all 20 hours worth) with lots of thrills and spills on a flat golf course similar to what we play on each week. This course only opened as a 9 hole public course in 1989 but has now got three distinct 9?s and looks a treat. Germany has really hopped onto the golfing bandwagon with 650 golf courses dotting the country side which has only really happened in the last 20 years. The European golf tour is such a wonderful group of events and tournaments that include so many different countries, golf courses and players, week in, week out. Els the current British Open champion is South African, he won from the Dane Thomas Bjorn with Frenchman Alexander Levy third, Martin Kaymer Germany fourth, Alex Noren Sweden fifth and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger sixth. Of course they all come with their personality and language differences which is captured beautifully by the high tech cameras and microphones now used in golf coverage. Other than the on course scenery which is quite superb in exotic places such as Sweden, Swiss Alps, South Africa and so many more, it is fascinating to observe the galleries, their behaviour and the way they dress to go to the golf. All great viewing.
WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING
This week the start of the really big European swing begins with the Irish Open in County Kildare. Having been to Ireland several times I love this tournament as the whole country, the people, the golf clubs, everything in fact is so good. I am sure Australians have had their ?humour? passed down from the Irish as it really is infectious. This week Rory McIlroy returns as the prodigal son along with fellow US Open winner Graeme McDowell and major winners in Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke. The first two in particular will be where the majority of the focus will be centered. I like a couple of roughies this week in young Englishmen Tom Lewis and Tommy Fleetwood but one of the Irish boys winning would bring the house down.
1-187 KEN DUKE US PGA
Journeyman professional Ken Duke won the Travelers Championship on the US PGA Tour on Sunday after 186 previous tournaments without a win on the tour. At 44 years of age he must have been thinking that it would never happen, but for him hard work and dreams do come true. It wasn?t easy as he won at the 74th hole after looking gone for all money several times, even on that last hole. When he was interviewed immediately after his victory he sent a thank you to his coach Bob Toski of 19 years saying, ?Last week I had a great session with Mr Toski and it set me up for this week?. That said it all for me about Ken Duke, you can call it American Smoltz or whatever you like but as far as I am concerned I call it respect. He had just won over one million dollars and set himself and the rest of his golf career up for life but he didn?t forget who he was, where he had come from and who had helped him get to that position, it was the first thing he thought of. Pure class.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Only a few good scores this week with apologies to anyone I may have missed. Steve Enright and Grant Gillard were top of the block at Riverside with 67 nett?s. At Red Cliffs Tim Walker is creaming the ball into smithereens and produce a 67 off the stick for a net 69! How good is that? Peter Knight is our Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week winner though with a fine 66 nett at the cliffs to nudge Timmy out by one shot. Peter can collect his prize of one dozen Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls from the House of Golf 247 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday evening where they will meet him ?Down at the Range?.
Contact me with your golfing news and views at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
11/6/13
LADIES SUNRAYSIA PENNANT
Round two of ladies pennant hits off at Merbein and Mildura Golf Clubs this Sunday after the opening round at Riverside and Wentworth. In A section Broken Hill were much too strong for Coomealla White winning 4/1. The clash of the season occurred between Jenny Stephenson and Sue Laird. This went right down to the wire with Stephenson who has won the Riverside Summer Open twice, winning 2 up. After this match Jenny committed to playing Country Teams which will be a great boost for the team. Marg Baird was Coomy?s only winner whilst Lyn Mayne, Lynda Nadge and Anne Marie Bessell all stood up for the Hill. Riverside Green are a formidable combination and once again they proved this with a resounding 4/1 win over Mildura. Marg Lampard was taken to the 18th by Mabel Crouch who has been in great form lately with the home club girl winning 2 up. Lorraine Palmer had exactly the same result against Dora ?the explorer? Stewart, whilst Tracey Hywood and Wendy Dawson both won for the home side. Maree Irvine was the lone winner for Mildura. In section B at Wentworth Anne Bowen was too accomplished for Sally Jones but Red Cliffs had Julie McEwan, Sheryl Blagus, Lynda Hickey and Sandra Marwood all triumphant in their win over Coomealla Blue 4/1. Riverside Gold made it a great day for the green and gold when they outlasted Wentworth 3/2. For Wentworth Val Cranwell-Smith and Linda Jakabans flew the NSW banner well but Riverside had Caroline James, Lynda Saunders and Helen Burke on top for a close win. This week Broken Hill and Riverside Green clash at Merbein with the Stephenson/Lampard match sure to be a close encounter. I?m tipping a draw here with the match coming down to the last two contests. In the other match first round losers Coomealla White and Mildura meet with Mabel Crouch sure to push Sue Laird all the way. In section B at Mildura Red Cliffs look too good for Wentworth and Coomealla Blue might have the edge over Riverside Gold.
MEN?S PENNANT TO BE EXCITING THIS YEAR
Men?s Division one pennant will be played at Merbein. Players with a really good short game players come to the fore at Merbein, particularly the ones with the ability to move on to the next shot and not dwell on a mishap or poor shot. Broken Hill will play Mildura and the course will really test the boys from the Hill. Mildura, depending on who is available, should be much too strong on a golf course where local knowledge is paramount to success. Riverside will face a huge test against Red Cliffs in the other encounter with Justin McPhee back in super form and American import Tim Walker raring to go. Riverside were gallant in their win over Mildura in the first round but Red Cliffs at Merbein is a totally different ball game. Coomealla has the bye.
2013 US OPEN AT MERION
The second of the four Majors will commence on Thursday when the US Open hits off at Merion Golf Club in Philadelphia. Merion holds much historical significance to world golf and indeed, Australian golf. In 1950 it staged its second US Open which saw Ben Hogan par the 72nd hole to force his way into a three man 18 hole playoff the following day. Which he duly won. One year prior, Hogan had suffered horrendous injuries in a motor car accident and was told he would never play golf again. It was this tournament when the legend of Ben Hogan really went from opinion to fact. Arguably the most famous ever golf photograph was taken on the 72nd hole of Hogan hitting a one iron to the 18th green. Golfers would recognise this photo as it is in pro shops all over the world. It was the last time he ever used the club as someone souvenired it at the completion of play and he never saw it again. Merion?s third hosting of the US Open in 1971 saw Australia?s David Graham becoming the first Australian to win the US Open, when he closed the tournament with a 67 to win by three strokes. Ten years later Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus tied and turned up for the playoff the next day. Trevino, always the comedian, dropped a rubber snake on the first tee before Nicklaus hit off causing all sorts of reactions but a laugh from Nicklaus. Trevino shot 68 to beat Nicklaus by three strokes then went on to win the British and Canadian Open in the following three weeks. This week the world?s best golfers will arrive at Merion which is one of the shortest courses on the US Open circuit. Defending champion Webb Simpson described Merion as he favourite course in the world. Tiger Woods is searching for his 15th major which would leave him only three short of Nicklaus but on a course where driver will only be used half a dozen times he may struggle. Trevino once said ?that playing Merion is like playing a game of chess?. The short par four 11th is a prime example of this as if you over hit your pitch shot or putt too strongly, out of bounds is only two feet beyond the green as the universally acclaimed delicate putter Walter Hagen did on one occasion in the 1930?s. This week will once again be a wonderful celebration of golf at its finest on a golf course that is rated 7th best in the US. Adam Scott is playing the first two rounds with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods which will be fantastic viewing. Woods has won three US Opens, McIlroy one and Scott opened his major account this year in the US Masters. On the other hand Phil Mickelson who turns 43 on Sunday has been runner up in this event five times. Out of the 156 contenders I like Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Marc Leishman for a top 10 finish.
BILL SAUER O A M SUNRAYSIA'S M C EXTRAORDINARIE
I first came to hear of Bill Sauer almost 40 years ago when Bill was playing for Mildura Football Club in the under 14?s. I watched him play in a final at South Mildura and was drawn to him as most of the spectators were as he was the biggest player on the ground by far playing at full forward. To be fair he didn?t move far from the goal square but he didn?t have to as if the ball came anywhere near him he usually got it and slotted a goal. About ten years later he came to prominence as a Cardross footballer and then of course his career took off as a sports commentator. During 80?s we shared the stage in a couple of plays with the Red Cliffs Players and as a panelist on the Sunday morning Football Show on STV8. In the 90?s we saw him regularly playing golf at Riverside, socially, with his mates. He has never really played golf seriously but uses it for time out and pure relaxation. He still plays at Riverside weekly. It was wonderful news to wake up to the Sunraysia Daily on Monday and see Billy on the front page talking about this wonderful honour. Surely there is no one more befitting for such an award as Bill. Three things that have always shone through in his personality and character is his willingness to help others, his fantastic demeanour and attitude and his ability to make the difficult look easy and deliver such a professional result in all that he attempts. I also believe that he is extremely popular in his workplace with both teachers and school students alike. Well done Billy, you are a legend in your own life time and my family and I are so delighted that your efforts over the last thirty years have been recognised. I hope you continue your great work for our community for many years to come.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ROUND OF THE WEEK
Lots of golf played around Sunraysia in the last week with glorious weather and our golf courses in tip top condition. Great scores were the order of the week with seven better than handicap needed to get a mention in the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week. This group included John Gray at Merbein and Margo Adair at Riverside. Eight better than handicap included Bodan Bishop at Coomealla and Gary Sharman one behind Shaun Dawson at Riverside. Ty Morgan had a ripper at Coomealla with 45 points but was one off the pace as Darren ?Oscar? Mannix had a 69 off the stick for 46 points at Riverside. Oscar can play lots of ?army golf? (left right left) but when he is hot, he?s really hot. Oscar can collect his prize of one dozen Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday night.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.
 
5/6/13
SDGA PENNANT HITS OFF WITH A BANG
Division One pennant hit off on Sunday at Riverside with the home side causing the first boilover of the season against Mildura Golf Resort. In the second match Broken Hill were never in the hunt against Coomealla.
Cameron Stewart is rarely outplayed in local pennant but former professional Ben Hogan gave his opponent three shots start on handicap to win three and two. Hogan is a past club champion at Riverside and is playing well at home, it will be interesting to see whether he can reproduce that form elsewhere. Steve Wilmann knocked off Matt Lynch on the 18th in what was a tough match to pick on paper and just a tight in the result. Chris Thomas has been relatively quiet in Opens over the last year or two but pennant is what seem to bring out the best in him. He had too many guns for Andrew Stewart who has been in good form winning at the 17th. Mildura had started well with Michael Sutherland knocking over Dave Woolcock at the sixteenth but it was all downhill from there as Andrew Thomas defeated Michael Cooper at the eighteenth. This was a dour contest with Mildura able to call on Ash Whitehouse in the coming weeks and Greg Rhodes available for a couple of rounds. Three matches concluded in front of the clubhouse, another on 17 and one on 16 with the aggregate handicaps of the ten players 21, or on average 2.1. In the other match Broken Hill had only one winner in Mark Johns over Troy Neville at the seventeenth. Tim Peterson, Sean Baumgurtel, Ryan Laird and Mark Hahn all won their matches against Tim O?Neill, Geoff Bray, Jamie Greenie and Chris Jones. Broken Hill?s aggregate handicap of 11 was as down on Coomealla?s who matched Mildura on 7. All up the 20 players who represented their clubs in Division one pennant on Sunday had an average handicap of 3.9 which is quite amazing. It will be interesting to monitor this through the next six weeks. Next week in the 19th hole there will be information on ladies pennant. No pennant this Sunday with all pennant returning on June 16 at Mildura and Merbein.
JANET LUKE WINS 2013 RED CLIFF OPEN
Riverside Golf Club?s Janet Luke won her first ever Open tournament in winning the 2013 Red Cliffs Open last Wednesday. Janet began her career in 2009 attending beginner clinics and was put on a 45 handicap. Since then she began attending clinics at the Sunraysia Golf Range, firstly with Garth Doherty and most recently with Rob Nichols. She now plays off a thirteen handicap after recording her best ever score of 83 to win the Open from Mabel Crouch and last year?s winner Sally Jones who both had 85. Yesterday she said ?what a thrill it had been to win. I play to get better and improve my scores each week?. Over the last three years Janet has accompanied the Country Week Team to Melbourne and has learned much in her capacity as a caddy. ?Michelle Philp and Fran Thornton were great to caddy for and those experiences have really helped my golf? she said. Red Cliffs Golf Club were happy with the field of 70 players and Janet said ? to have the best score of the day was very exciting?.
KARRIE WINS 39TH CAREER TITLE
Karrie Webb just keeps on keeping on winning her 39th career tournament in New York on Sunday in the Shoprite LPGA Classic. This was only a three round event but all of the big names struggled, the top three players being the only ones under par. Shanshan Feng looked the winner from the start beginning the day three in front of Karrie but a 68 saw the Aussie win by two shots. This week the LPGA stays in New York with the 60th playing of the Wegmans LPGA Championship which began in 1963. Only two Australians have won this event which is one of the five Majors in ladies golf, Jan Stephenson in 1982 and Karrie Webb in 2001. Karrie is in top form and Lindsay Wright and Katherine Hull-Kirk are two other Aussies who could raise our flag.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Scores for perusal for this week?s Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week were scarce with most clubs having 4BBB?s and few low single scores. You rarely win this award by bettering your handicap by five shots but this is the case this week. At Merbein Gavin Hocking had an eagle in his 67 net. At Coomealla the whispering Jan Hiscock had 41 points as did Sean Turnbull at Coomealla and Pam Turner at Wentworth. The winner on a countback (coin toss) was Pam Turner who wins one dozen Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls which must be collected from 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura by 9pm this Friday.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
29/5/13
DISTRICT PENNANT COMMENCES SUNDAY AT RIVERSIDE & WENTWORTH
Men?s and ladies pennant begins this Sunday at Riverside and Wentworth Golf Clubs. In Division One men?s draw, Mildura will play the host club Riverside and Broken Hill will face Coomealla, Red Cliffs have the bye. Red Cliffs will definitely be the team to beat this year with Tim Walker returning from America on summer vacation, Justin McPhee, Brad Steer and Tom Holmes. The two contests on Sunday look very even with Mildura probably favoured to win and Coomealla favourites depending on who lines up for the Hill. In the ladies sections, Broken Hill face off against Coomealla White and Riverside Gold meet Mildura at Riverside. At Wentworth Coomealla Blue will play Red Cliffs and home team Wentworth will play Riverside Gold. The ladies matches will be handicap pennant. It is going to be interesting to see how the new format of pennant works, combining the men and women?s pennant at the same time and place. With any new process there is sure to be some teething problems but if everyone can see the bigger picture then pennant will be enormous this year. It will really depend on how the clubs promote it within their clubs. The rivalries of the old days may be revisited which is what inter-club pennant is all about.
RHODES WINS ROBINVALE OPEN SIX UNDER PAR
A small field of 30 contested the 2013 Robinvale Open on Sunday. Greg Rhodes opened up a three stroke lead at lunch time over Justin McPhee after a three under par 67. Rhodes had played ordinarily by his standards at Red Cliffs the week before but always plays well at Robinvale which is a thinking man?s golf course. McPhee was in cherry ripe form in winning his home club Open last week and had continued on his good for. Former Robinvale junior Matt Lynch performed well for a 71 to be one shot in front of last year?s winner Ashley Whitehouse. The title was still up for grabs as players began their second round but Rhodes maintained his consistency with another fine 67. Playing with McPhee, Whitehouse and former Robinvale club champion Glenn Marr he was kept on his toes all day. Lynch recorded the second best round of the day for a 69 and McPhee finished in a tie for runner up with 70. Whitehouse came in with 71 whilst Sean Baumgurtel followed up his morning 72 76 and Marr had a 73 after 76 in the morning. Club captain Grattan Wood was delighted with the quality of the golf which reflected the excellent condition of the golf course but was bitterly disappointed with the lack of numbers to support the tournament.
2013 TRI-STATE MASTERS - A WEEK OF HAPINESS AND SUPPORT
What a wonderful week of fun, friendship and golf the 21st Tri-State Masters was this year. For the first time all of our family were in attendance for the opening Cocktail Party at the Coomy Club on the Sunday night including my sister Denise and our three children and their partners. Functions at the Coomealla Club (2), Trentham Estate, Rendezvous Restaurant, Red Cliffs Golf Club and the PS Mundoo were all well supported and the golf was terrific. Once again we had fantastic support from local companies and clubs who partnered us for this event enabling us to maintain the standards that we feel are so important. The fellows that I regularly play golf with at the Coomealla Golf Club include Dave Gardiner, Craig Tung and Steve Spooner all played, with Tungy winning the tournament for the second time. Spoons has won it twice and I hoisted the trophy once when all the good players were on holiday. Suffice to say, we were all hoping for Dave to come through and complete the quadrella. When the second round at Red Cliffs was cancelled it looked as if the golf gods were smiling on him as he was the first round leader by two shots. This could have been helpful in one way but detrimental in another because he carried that burden of being leader for four days with everyone wishing him well or joking that he would crash. Dave kept the lead for the first seven holes on Friday at Coomealla but began to slip around the back nine. On seventeen he was only one shot behind before he missed a gettable putt to slip back two shots. Nothing could be taken away though, from Tungy?s win, as a 73 at Coomealla after coming from five behind then birdying the playoff hole was great pressure golf that anyone would be proud of. It was the first time in nearly thirty years of friendship that I have ever seen him become emotional but I saw it three times on Friday. It bought a tear to my eye as well. As for Dave, like all old tigers supporters, maybe, hopefully next year. The 22nd Tri-State Masters will be held from May 18-23 2014. For the second year in a row the Red Cliffs Golf Club were superb hosts with nothing a bother and the whole club embracing the tournament and its concepts. I guess that is the difference between an actual golf club and business entities that are only interested in the bottom line. The host golf courses for 2014 will be announced later in the year.
MANNASERO WINS BMW AT WENTWORTH
Sunday night proved to be a late night for me after four playoff holes were required to reach a result in the BMW PGA Championship. Twenty year old Italian sensation Matteo Mannasero became the tournaments youngest ever winner when he won the European Tour?s BMW PGA Championship at the fourth playoff hole at Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey England. It was Mannasero?s fourth win in Europe and qualifies him for the US Open at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania on June 13. The play off began between Mannasero, England?s Simon Khan and Scotland?s Marc Warren on the par 5 18th after Spain?s Alejandro Canizares missed a putt on that hole to include him in the shootout. Warren was the first casualty after Mannasero and Khan both birdied the picturesque hole that has a moat in front of the green. After two more attempts to achieve a result it was Mannasero who knocked it on to give himself an eagle opportunity before Khan found the water with his approach. This was a great golf tournament, it had almost everything. Super stars in Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell all missed the 36 hole cut after the first two days in pouring rain. Forty nine year old Miguel Angel Jimenez eagled the 72nd hole to finish equal fourth (missing the playoff by one stroke) in his 600th official golf tournament. England?s Lee Westwood had taken a two shot lead after 61 holes to look the winner only to clamber around the back nine for a four over par 40. Westwood appears to be taking over where Colin Montgomerie left off as the best player never to win a major. He will be desperate to atone in the US and British Open?s in the next two months.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
The rain came last week limiting opportunities for low scoring. The exception though, proves the rule and there was one standout this week. Des Foreman at Merbein and Trevor Carroll at Coomealla both recorded six better than handicap. Yvonne Barrot from Pakenham stayed on after the Tri-State Masters to have seven better than her mark at Coomealla on Sunday. Mark Duscher must have gotten under the handicappers guard as he came in at Coomy on Sunday with 50 points, fourteen better than handicap. It was only his ninth competition round and an improvement of 21 shots on his previous best of 105. Mark wins the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week and one dozen Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls which must be collected from The House of Golf 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday.
Contact me with your golfing news and views by Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.
 
27/5/13
TUNG WINS 2013 TRI-STATE MASTERS
Coomealla golfer Craig Tung played the game of his life to win the 2013 Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters at Coomealla on Friday. Round two scheduled for Red Cliffs Golf Club on Wednesday had to be cancelled due to the rain which made the course unplayable. Tung?s club mate David Gardiner (75) started the day two shots clear of Croydon?s Ian Donaldson and Coomealla?s Graham McLellan with Victor Harbor?s Peter Bywaters a further two strokes back and Tung five shots off the pace. With all four players tense and nervous they came to the par 3 seventh where a Honda Jazz motor car and $20,000 from Sunraysia Medical Imaging was up for grabs for a hole in one. A roar went up when Tung?s ball landed millimetres from the hole and came to rest only 47 centimetres away. After nine holes Donaldson (37) had joined Gardiner (39) in the lead with Tung (36) edging closer two shots behind. The fabric of the match changed on the tenth when Donaldson after addressing his ball on the green, watched in horror as his ball moved. The resultant penalty followed by a three putt saw Donaldson walk off with a double bogey whilst Gardiner?s made bogey and Tung par. All three players parred 11 and 12 but on the par five 13th Donaldson bounced back into the lead with a birdie while the other two made bogey. Gardiner began to struggle as he made five bogey?s in a row but Donaldson and Tung fought it out to the last hole where they both had birdie putts to win the tournament. Both missed, so it was back to the tee which gave them both a second chance of winning a Honda Jazz motor car. Both players landed in the middle of the green. Tung was away first and duly sank his putt for birdie leaving Donaldson to try an equal his effort but alas he missed, giving Craig Tung his second Tri-State Masters title after winning in 2011. Later that evening at the Presentation Dinner he said, ?I have played many sports over the last thirty five years but winning today beats anything else that I have achieved in sport?.
In the ladies section Coomealla?s Sue Laird won for the seventh year in a row after rounds of 76-77 to equal the score of the men?s champion who had 80-73. Laird has worked extremely hard on her golf and deserves full credit for he success on the golf course. Mildura?s Mabel Crouch won the ladies Senior scratch (over 50), whilst A, B and C were taken out by Connie Clifford from Amstel, Yvonne Barrot Pakenham and Heather Spry Portarlington. Pat Cook Yarrawonga won the ladies Veterans (over 55) category and Marie Ciavarella from Rich River took out the Super Veterans (over 65) championship. Ian Donaldson from Croydon was the top Men?s Senior with David Gardiner winning A grade, Darren Hibbert from Amstel winning B grade and Glenn Thomas taking out C grade. Neil Saunders from Coomealla was the top Veteran and Brian McRae was the Super Veteran champion. Winning aggregate stableford points team was Mabel Crouch, Dora Stewart, Eily Raeck and Margaret Morrison who won five nights at the Nepean Resort in Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. Runners up in a four way count back were Steve Dean, Hugh Ferrie, Ian Donaldson and Dave Gardiner who won a week at the Sunraysia Resort for next year?s tournament to be conducted from May 18-23. The door prize of a week for eight people from Adventure Houseboats was won by Noel Olive from Coffs Harbour. Full results are in today?s golf results.

2013 Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters 36 hole Results
2013 Men?s Champion Craig Tung Coomealla 153, runner up Ian Donaldson Croydon 153. Senior Champion Ian Donaldson Croydon 153, runner up Peter Bywaters Victor Harbor 160. A grade Dave Gardiner 72 points, runner up Domenic Bonaddio The Heritage 70 points. B grade Darren Hibbert Amstel 76 points, runner up Dave Lewin Coomealla 74 points. C Grade Glenn Thomas Traralgon 73 points, runner up Rod Giddings Latrobe 67 points. Veterans Neil Saunders Coomealla 71 points, runner up Cyril Saunders Gisborne 69 points. Super Veterans Brian McRae Heidelberg 67 points, runner up Noel Olive Coffs Harbour 67 points.

2013 Ladies Champion Sue Laird Coomealla 153, runner up, Mabel Crouch Mildura 167. Senior Champion Mabel Crouch Mildura 167, runner up Jenny Jeffreys Portsea 168. A grade Connie Clifford Amstel 74 points, runner up Eily Raeck Mildura 70 points. B grade Yvonne Barrot Pakenham 72 points, runner up Sue Hawe Tocumwal 68 points. C grade Heather Spry Portarlington 75 points, runner up Dianne Dungan Tocumwal 71 points. Veterans Pat Cook Yarrawonga 74 points, runner up Jude Quinn Mornington 70 points. Super Veterans Marie Ciavarella Rich River 73 points, runner up Joan Ellis Coomealla 69 points. CLUB CHALLENGE - Coomealla
 
27/5/13
TUNG WINS 2013 TRI-STATE MASTERS
Coomealla golfer Craig Tung played the game of his life to win the 2013 Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters at Coomealla on Friday. Round two scheduled for Red Cliffs Golf Club on Wednesday had to be cancelled due to the rain which made the course unplayable. Tung?s club mate David Gardiner (75) started the day two shots clear of Croydon?s Ian Donaldson and Coomealla?s Graham McLellan with Victor Harbor?s Peter Bywaters a further two strokes back and Tung five shots off the pace. With all four players tense and nervous they came to the par 3 seventh where a Honda Jazz motor car and $20,000 from Sunraysia Medical Imaging was up for grabs for a hole in one. A roar went up when Tung?s ball landed millimetres from the hole and came to rest only 47 centimetres away. After nine holes Donaldson (37) had joined Gardiner (39) in the lead with Tung (36) edging closer two shots behind. The fabric of the match changed on the tenth when Donaldson after addressing his ball on the green, watched in horror as his ball moved. The resultant penalty followed by a three putt saw Donaldson walk off with a double bogey whilst Gardiner?s made bogey and Tung par. All three players parred 11 and 12 but on the par five 13th Donaldson bounced back into the lead with a birdie while the other two made bogey. Gardiner began to struggle as he made five bogey?s in a row but Donaldson and Tung fought it out to the last hole where they both had birdie putts to win the tournament. Both missed, so it was back to the tee which gave them both a second chance of winning a Honda Jazz motor car. Both players landed in the middle of the green. Tung was away first and duly sank his putt for birdie leaving Donaldson to try an equal his effort but alas he missed, giving Craig Tung his second Tri-State Masters title after winning in 2011. Later that evening at the Presentation Dinner he said, ?I have played many sports over the last thirty five years but winning today beats anything else that I have achieved in sport?.
In the ladies section Coomealla?s Sue Laird won for the seventh year in a row after rounds of 76-77 to equal the score of the men?s champion who had 80-73. Laird has worked extremely hard on her golf and deserves full credit for he success on the golf course. Mildura?s Mabel Crouch won the ladies Senior scratch (over 50), whilst A, B and C were taken out by Connie Clifford from Amstel, Yvonne Barrot Pakenham and Heather Spry Portarlington. Pat Cook Yarrawonga won the ladies Veterans (over 55) category and Marie Ciavarella from Rich River took out the Super Veterans (over 65) championship. Ian Donaldson from Croydon was the top Men?s Senior with David Gardiner winning A grade, Darren Hibbert from Amstel winning B grade and Glenn Thomas taking out C grade. Neil Saunders from Coomealla was the top Veteran and Brian McRae was the Super Veteran champion. Winning aggregate stableford points team was Mabel Crouch, Dora Stewart, Eily Raeck and Margaret Morrison who won five nights at the Nepean Resort in Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. Runners up in a four way count back were Steve Dean, Hugh Ferrie, Ian Donaldson and Dave Gardiner who won a week at the Sunraysia Resort for next year?s tournament to be conducted from May 18-23. The door prize of a week for eight people from Adventure Houseboats was won by Noel Olive from Coffs Harbour. Full results are in today?s golf results.

2013 Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters 36 hole Results
2013 Men?s Champion Craig Tung Coomealla 153, runner up Ian Donaldson Croydon 153. Senior Champion Ian Donaldson Croydon 153, runner up Peter Bywaters Victor Harbor 160. A grade Dave Gardiner 72 points, runner up Domenic Bonaddio The Heritage 70 points. B grade Darren Hibbert Amstel 76 points, runner up Dave Lewin Coomealla 74 points. C Grade Glenn Thomas Traralgon 73 points, runner up Rod Giddings Latrobe 67 points. Veterans Neil Saunders Coomealla 71 points, runner up Cyril Saunders Gisborne 69 points. Super Veterans Brian McRae Heidelberg 67 points, runner up Noel Olive Coffs Harbour 67 points.

2013 Ladies Champion Sue Laird Coomealla 153, runner up, Mabel Crouch Mildura 167. Senior Champion Mabel Crouch Mildura 167, runner up Jenny Jeffreys Portsea 168. A grade Connie Clifford Amstel 74 points, runner up Eily Raeck Mildura 70 points. B grade Yvonne Barrot Pakenham 72 points, runner up Sue Hawe Tocumwal 68 points. C grade Heather Spry Portarlington 75 points, runner up Dianne Dungan Tocumwal 71 points. Veterans Pat Cook Yarrawonga 74 points, runner up Jude Quinn Mornington 70 points. Super Veterans Marie Ciavarella Rich River 73 points, runner up Joan Ellis Coomealla 69 points. CLUB CHALLENGE - Coomealla
 
23/5/13
Red Cliffs legend Justin McPhee won his third home club Open at Red Cliffs Golf Club on Sunday from Commonwealth's Ryan Laird. The lead changed several times on the back nine but McPhee's quadruple run of birdies from 14 through 17 was good enough to close the deal. Lots of fun in the Tri-State Masters with people turning up to play at the wrong course one week early! Graeme McDowell joined the legends of the game when he won the Volvo World Matchplay Championship in Bulgaria on Sunday. John Fletcher from Coomealla won the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week. All this and more in this weeks edition of the 19th hole.
 
23/5/13
MCPHEE THE MASTER AT RED CLIFFS
Justin McPhee is the 2013 Red Cliffs Golf Club Open champion after a sensational 33 in the last nine holes of the tournament. On Saturday Ryan Laird arrived with his Melbourne form and ready to play. By days end he led with an excellent two under par 70 by two shots from Justin McPhee. Laird has worked so hard on his game over the last three years and he deserves to be successful. McPhee by his own admission hadn?t been firing the scores that he is used to doing this year so he hopeful more than confident leading into the tournament. Phillip Lawn grew up playing the Red Cliffs course and he returned an even par 72. Greg Rhodes, Cameron Stewart and Ashley Whitehouse were all on 74. The seeded group on Sunday was Laird, McPhee, Cameron Stewart and Whitehouse. Lawn had a previous engagement and played in the morning where he shot 77 to move out of contention. Rhodes followed up with another 74 also putting him out of the overall equation. The first nine holes in the afternoon was very tight with Whitehouse shooting a two under par 34 to be only two behind Laird who had an even par 36 and one behind McPhee who had 37. Laird quickly birdied ten to move four up on Whitehouse who made bogey and McPhee who made par. The next three holes were pivotal to how the tournament would end as Laird bogeyed all three holes whilst McPhee and Whitehouse parred each hole. Red Cliffs has three par fives on the back nine including the 10th, 14th and 16th so birdies and even eagles are achievable for the top players. The fourteenth is where McPhee began his run with a birdie to Laird and Whitehouse?s pars. The same result was achieved on fifteen, a long par 3 where McPhee played a superb tee shot and then knocked in an excellent putt. On sixteen Whitehouse knocked it on for two and duly knocked in the putt for a fantastic eagle as McPhee and Laird both made birdie. On seventeen with McPhee and Laird level McPhee recorded his fourth birdie in a row as Laird made par and Whitehouse missed a tap in putt for a bogey. All three players made par but as the crowd around the eighteenth watched in anticipation as Laird stoked his putt that would have put him in a playoff. The ball looked to be going in but fell across the hole giving McPhee his third home club Open to sit alongside his seven club championship trophies. The last nine holes was spine tingling stuff with McPhee shooting 33, Whitehouse making even par 36 and Laird coming in with 37. Cameron Stewart had a day to forget recording an 80 which is most out of character for the districts most consistent golfer. Justin McPhee was ecstatic yesterday when contacted and said, ?This was by far the most exciting win in the Red Cliffs Open that I have had so far. All three of us played well. Cam had a triple and a double bogey early which is so unlike him so it came down to the three of us. Ryan and Ash played some great golf. Ash looked like the winner at one stage and apart from 11,12 and 13 Ryan played really well. I was hoping that putt wouldn?t fall in on 18 as I didn?t want a playoff?. Everyone to a man were most complimentary about the condition of the golf course under the supervision of Simon Newey. Justin McPhee said ?I can honestly say the golf course was the best I?ve seen it and Simon set the course but perfectly with great pin positions and the greens putted really well?.
Next Sunday the Open circuit moves to Robinvale for the 2013 Robinvale Open. A coach will leave the Mildura Golf Resort at 6-30 am for anyone wanting a lift to Robinvale, contact the club to book in.
FUN IN THE SUN AT TRI-STATE MASTERS
The 21st Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters got off to a great start with the registrations at the Mildura Workingman?s Club on Sunday followed by the opening Cocktail Party that evening at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club. As usual we have a lovely group of people from all over Australia and Masterton on the North island of New Zealand. Whilst people come for the golf it is all aspects of the district that keep them occupied and indeed, coming back year after year. The newcomers learn very quickly that you must have a sense of humour to survive this week. The South Australians, Tasmanians, New Zealanders, Collingwood, Carlton, Richmond and Essendon supporters all ?get it? from me at some stage. My sister Denise is attending for the first time and can?t get over some of the ?humour? dished out, but it is all taken in good fun and there is plenty coming back. Over the years we have had people turn up at the wrong golf course. Arrive at the course without their golf clubs and numerous other things that were funny at the time but not for the people concerned. This year though, perhaps the funniest fopar happened on Monday the 13th of May. My phone rang at 11am with someone asking ?Is the golf tournament at Red Cliffs today because we are here but there is no one else here?? I thought it was one of my mates having a go at me so I replied not knowing who is it was, ?You bloody lunatic the tournament is next Monday at Mildura. Red Cliffs is not till the Wednesday?. There was some muffled words between the man and someone with him in the car before he said ? Shane it is Richard Tankard here, Bluey and I thought it was today, see you next Monday at Mildura?. Although we had a good laugh about later, it probably was lucky that it was ?Tank? as another major sponsor may not have seen the funny side to my response to him!
MCDOWELL WINS WORLD MATCHPLAY
Northern Ireland?s Graeme McDowell captured the Volvo World Matchplay Championship in Bulgaria on Sunday over Thailand?s Thongchai Jaidee. The championship was played for the first time at Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria which was designed by five times winner of the world matchplay title Gary Player. The course is built on the side of a mountain with all holes beside the Black Sea, it has been described as the Pebble Beach of Europe. McDowell was runner up to Nicolas Colsaerts last year but knocked him out in the quarter final. South Africa?s Branden Grace was the next victim of the former US Open winners wrath as he fell 3/2 as he watched the Irishman finish their match eight under par. The final was a ding dong affair with Jaidee going two up early in the match only to fall at the 17th 3/1. This championship has held much prestige amongst the player since it began in 1964. Arnold Palmer won the title twice but only a few Americans including Hale Irwin, Bill Rogers and Jack Nicklaus. In 1998 Mark O?Meara knocked off his good friend Tiger Woods one up in Woods only appearance in the event. Other top players to win include Ernie Els 7 times, Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros 5 times and Greg Norman 3 times. This tournament was the first time Bulgaria had hosted a European Tour event which follows on from Turkey hosting an event recently for the first time. Golf is spreading around the globe with China and Korea tipped to be the next big movers in world tournament golf.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ROUND OF THE WEEK
Scores were down on previous weeks as winter sets in, accordingly the scores begin to level out. At Merbein Roger Walder bettered his handicap by five shots to be the fourth best round of the week. Coomealla?s Dave Porter was one better equalling Phillip Lawn in the Red Cliffs Open. Phillip shot a par round of 72 on Saturday off a six handicap. The winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week goes to John Fletcher at Coomealla for his 43 stableford points. The staunch Port Adelaide supporter has only been in the district for a few years but is now entrenched at Coomealla. John must collect his prize of one dozen Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls from the House of Golf 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday. Contact me with your golfing news or views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
15/5/13
STEWARTS TO THE FORE IN LEVER BLAIR SEELEY
Riverside Golf Club was in sparkling condition on Saturday for the time honoured Sunraysia District Golf Association Lever Blair Seeley 4BBB championship. Greg Rhodes and long hitting Troy Neville were expected to shoot low in the morning but their return of 71 gave the afternoon players a very reachable target. Juniors Joseph Moisidis and Tom Holmes were next in with 73 followed by Scott Connolly and Ben Hogan on 71. Ashley Whitehouse and Sean Baumgurtel were aiming low and 68 was a fair return but ultimately not enough. Three years ago at Red Cliffs a playoff was required to decide the winners between them and Cameron and Ashley Stewart who won the title. On Saturday the Stewarts again teamed well together with 33 on the front and 33 around the back nine for 66 and a two shot victory. In other districts such as the Goulbourn Valley 4ball pennant is played in the summer which is really well accepted and although very competitive, lots of fun for the players. It would be great to get a competition going like that here but there is so much on the golfing calendar that it would be difficult to fit in. In the handicap section the winners were SDGA President Steven Henshall from Mildura Golf Resort and Coomealla?s Adam Job who had +14 in the par event. The next SDGA event will be pennant for the men and women beginning Saturday June 1st at Broken Hill.
RED CLIFFS OPEN WILL TEST THE BEST
Everyone who has played at the Red Cliffs Golf Club this year have been raving about how the golf course is looking. The greener and lusher that it is increases the test because it is a long golf course at 6033 metres, the most of which is carry due to the kikuyu fairways that go right up to the edge of the greens. Much like you get at the Mildura Golf Resort. Picking the winner this year is tough as the Stewart boys have both won this tournament twice and are currently in great form. Greg Rhodes always says he doesn?t play well here but the Open board recognising past winners doesn?t concur with that assessment. Ashley Whitehouse also has a good record at the Cliffs and club legend Justin McPhee has done everything that could be achieved at his home club. This year though, I?m tipping a first time open winner in Sunraysia will lift the trophy. Commonwealth division one pennant player Ryan Laird has finished metropolitan pennant and is raring to go. Ryan has been playing golf full time this year and is desperate to notch his first home town win in a district Open. After looking at his scoring record so far this year, he looks well placed to shoot under par which would be good enough at Red Cliffs to win. Phone the club to enter on 50 241531.
TRI-STATE MASTERS
All is ready for the Sunraysia Golf Tours 21st Tri-State Masters beginning on Sunday with registrations at the Mildura Workingmans Club from 10-30am till 4pm followed by the opening Cocktail Party at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club at 6pm. It is going to be an exciting long tiring week but Kym and I can?t wait as it is our favourite week of the year. Really in some ways it is like going to a family reunion every year, except there are 86 new ?friends? arriving this year. As many people would know last July I had a setback when diagnosed with terminal cancer. I am fine, no worries at all but many people have come back into my life that I haven?t seen for a while, which has been most uplifting. Life is full of surprises and every new day with this disease there are ups and downs. After beginning with my tumour markers registering 695, after six months they had reduced to 25. Wow I thought, I?m back! At the next appointment with the oncology specialist I enquired hopingly how this new reading effected my life expectancy. I was thinking that maybe it be an indication of more time. He just looked at me and said, ?look if I was you and I wanted to really do something. I?d do it straight away?. I didn?t know whether to laugh or cry but I laughed and Kym cried. Anyway I had a call from my good friend Greg Rhodes who asked if this is going to be the last Tri-State Masters. I replied it would definitely be my last one as a player but it would depend on my health what happens thereafter. Greg nearly knocked me down when he said that he was thinking of playing in the tournament this year. I told him that we weren?t accepting any entries from scratch or better handicappers as it would infringe the rules set down by the insurance company covering the hole in one prizes. He was genuinely disappointed at not being able to play. From my point of view I was quite touched and honoured that he would want to do that for me. Greg Rhodes has never taken one minute off from school duties to play golf and for him to propose to do that is something that I will never forget. He really is a legend in my eyes, in more ways than one.
TIGER BACK TO HIS BEST IN PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Tiger Woods won the Players Championship for the second time at the Tournament Players Course in Jacksonville Florida on Sunday. The story all week had been about Spain?s Sergio Garcia and the pairs dislike for one another. Nearing the end of Saturday?s third round it appeared as though Tiger and Sergio would be paired together on Sunday and the American commentators were discussing that outcome throughout the telecast. Fortunately or not it didn?t happen as Tiger went out second last with Sergio following. When Tiger negotiated the par 3 17th which is surrounded by water, he and Sergio were all square at 13 under. Having played this hole in 1999 I can only imagine how much more intimidating this hole becomes surrounded by 15,000 or so interested onlookers! So up steps Sergio with a pitching wedge in hand for the 122 metre shot. Plop, straight in the water, plop, second one goes in and he walks away from the par 3 with a six. Game over! Sergio has won this tournament before but in recent years his star twinkle has faded and he is not the up and comer that he once was. Funny how a shot of that distance can be so intimidating to the best players in the world. All up 42 balls ended up in the drink on that hole. It just goes to show that the 122 metres isn?t the problem but the four inches in the head that is the biggest hurdle to overcome. This golf course was purpose built and around nearly every green is a grass tiered amphitheatre. Alligators are in almost every hole as a water channel snakes it?s way around the golf course. They cull them once that start growing to full size and take them out to the everglades. This year there didn?t appear to be as many as usual. I?ll tell you what though, as you are standing near the water waiting to have your shot, half of your attention is on the shot and the other half is checking backwards and forth for any sign of a ?head? in the water! The next really big tournament in World golf is the US Open at Merion next month.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week you needed at least six better than handicap to rate a mention in the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week. At the Mildura Golf Resort course knowledge helped course superintendent Scott Bremner to 42 points which was equalled by club mate Gary Smart and Marg Baird at Coomealla. Ceaser Fraiia was in the driver?s seat at Mildura for 43 points but it was Geoff Crozier who navigated his shoes around the golf course for a career best 44 points. The retired shoe man wins one dozen Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls which must be collected from The House of Golf 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday 9pm.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
APATHY INVADES SUNRAYSIA GOLF CLUBS
Sunraysia District Golf Association President Steven Henshall was appalled at the lack of response to two recent meetings called by the SDGA. On Sunday representatives from Golf Victoria attended a meeting in Mildura to bring local golf clubs up to speed with a host of informative briefs including amalgamation, activities and initiatives that Golf Victoria are undertaking to assist country golf clubs. Coomealla, Merbein and Mildura Golf Resort had a good roll up with each President attending whilst Riverside had three representatives but the chairs for Red Cliffs, Wentworth and Robinvale were all vacant. This was an important information feed organised purely to assist the clubs but it is hard to lead some dogs to water if they won?t drink. Following, on Monday night was the monthly meeting of the SDGA and once again Red Cliffs, Wentworth, Robinvale and Riverside were absent. Steve Henshall is having a red hot go in his position as President of the SDGA but you are only as good as your team and some clubs are really letting him and the district down. This Saturday the time honoured SDGA Lever Blair Seeley 4BBB championship is being conducted at Riverside Golf Club but Red Cliffs have programmed one of their major events for the year on the same day. This happened several weeks ago with Red Cliffs running a major charity day up against an SDGA event at Mildura. It?s just not on. I support Red Cliffs Golf Club to the hilt but there has been a total lack of communication and awareness regarding these two events. Perhaps if Red Cliffs attended a few district meetings then these issues might not have arisen. Whilst all clubs are working to survive and rely heavily on volunteers, unless all clubs work together and with the SDGA then this disorder will occur again. It remains to be seen what the response of the districts golfers will be at the next two Open 36 hole events. Red cliffs will hold their 2013 Open on May 18-19 and Robinvale will conduct their Open on Sunday May 26th. Hopefully they will receive better support than Merbein who were fifty per cent down on 2012 recently.
LEVER BLAIR SEELEY AT RIVERSIDE GOLF CLUB
This year for the first time the SDGA Lever, Blair Seeley 4BBB championship will include a section for the ladies. This is following on from the decision to amalgamate the SDGA and the NWWG at the end of the year. It is hoped that a significant number of ladies will play at Riverside on Saturday with a choice of an AM or PM hit off?s available. Phone Riverside on 50 234255 or 50 231560 to enter your pair. At time of writing there weren?t many ladies entered so come girls, how about it?
RIVERSIDE ON THE WAY BACK
A virtual new committee has emerged from the battleground mist of the last six months. New President is Peter Winslow who is a long time Riverside man who is certain to begin his term with a one hundred per cent backing from the Riverside members en masse. ?Scud? as he is known is a hands on no nonsense type of bloke which is just what the club needs at present. Dave Woolcock is the new Vice President and will be a terrific back up to scud. Rob Garioch remains Captain as does his deputy Ray Cottle, John Marlais ? greens committee, Russel Dower ? finance/IT, Ash Robinson ? social committee, Bev Allford ? house committee, Marg Lampard ? general committee and Ang D?Amico stays on as treasurer. Sue Scott will provide a breath of fresh air as the new club administration officer. With regard to those who have stepped aside, it would be very unfair not to acknowledge the commitment and personal sacrifice that outgoing President Lorraine Fisher made to Riverside Golf Club. She absorbed a lot of unfair punishment from some people at Riverside during her term of six months. She can now look back and be sure that what she has left behind is far better than what she stepped into. Well done for your courage and perseverance Lorraine.
BRETT RUMFORD WINS BACK TO BACK IN EUROPE
Brett Rumford became the first Australian golfer to win back to back events on the European Tour on Sunday since Jack Newton in 1972. The previous week Rumford won the Ballantine?s Championship in South Korea in a playoff with Australia?s Marcus Fraser and England?s Peter Whiteford. Before that tournament Rumford was 138th in The Race To Dubai standings but after Sunday?s win in the China Open he is number one.
Originally from Perth, Rumford turned pro in 2000 and headed off to Europe to try his hand against the big boys. Not known as a long hitter, it is his impeccable short game that sees him get up and down from everywhere. His win on Sunday by four strokes was his fifth on the European Tour and seventh overall as a professional. At 35 he is in his prime and leads world renowned players such as Sergio Garcia and Angel Cabrera on the 2013 money list. Rumford has a reputation of being a quiet achiever who works long and hard on his game in his own no frills way. He will be a smokey in the British Open this year on July 18 at Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland.
HOLE IN ONE SCRUTINEERS AT THE TRI-STATE MASTERS
A lot of people have been asking about the holes in one at this year?s Tri-State Masters. It seems that not all golfers are up to speed with the rule change on 1-1-2012 which now allows a golfer to win cash of virtually any amount for a hole in one without effecting their amateur status. The winner of a tournament may still only receive the equivalent to $1,200 in retail goods but certainly not cash. Sounds odd, but they are the current rules in place for golfers who come under the jurisdiction of the Royal & Ancient. Over the five days of the tournament at Mildura, Mildura, Red Cliffs, Coomealla and Coomealla just on $250,000 in hole in one prizes will be on offer. Ten thousand dollar cash holes will be sponsored by : The Vines Retirement Village, Hotondo Homes, Brian Kennedy Electrical, Oasis Unmatched, The Bulk Butcher, Mildura Workingman?s Club, Tankard Dental, Int Tec Mildura, Mildura Solar and Medina Legal. Product to the value of $10,000 will also be on offer from :Max Miller Choices Floorcoverings, Tilley?s Furniture, Jack Abell Warehouse Sales, Cookes Pools & Spas and the City Heart Traders. Sunraysia Golf Range/House of Golf will offer three holes where a hole in one will win $5,000 plus $5,000 worth of golf gear. Sunraysia Medical Imaging will put up $20,000 for a hole in one on Coomealla?s 7th hole and Auto Synergy will offer up three Honda Jazz motor cars on holes 2 at Mildura, 8 at Red Cliffs and 18 at Coomealla. If you?d like to be involved as a scrutineer on one or more of the holes during the week contact one of the three clubs involved or contact me on 50 246799. It is going to be one hell of a week which will become even more exciting with at least one hole in one. Next Wednesday?s Sunraysia Daily will feature a page for our partnering sponsors and in particular the holes and their sponsors.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
One player who has gone relatively unnoticed in recent weeks and thoroughly deserves some recognition for her efforts is Coomealla?s Ann Bowen, who has reduced her handicap to six by playing consistently well. Scores were below average across the board this week except for the pointy end. Mildura had Cliff Ferguson, Peter Rhodes ,Ian Plush and John Edwards all on 67 nett along with Aaron Blake at Coomealla and Kevin Challis at Riverside. Second best was Lawrence Smith at Mildura Golf Resort who had six better than handicap, one behind Andrew Diwell at Riverside who had a day out with 43 points. Andrew wins 12 Taylor Made ?Burner? golf balls from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue which must be collected by 9pm Friday night.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.
 
1/5/13
MERBEIN OPEN KEEPS RHODES ON TOP
Greg Rhodes won the 2013 Merbein Open at the weekend comfortably by five strokes from Cameron Stewart. Rhodes (71) led overnight by two shots from Sean Baumgurtel and Ashley Whitehouse with Cameron Stewart a further two strokes back. On Sunday Rhodes (70) continued to churn out the pars on a golf course that challenges the very best of players. Greg has not played a lot of golf at Merbein over the years but when he has, he generally has won. Runner up?s up were Cameron Stewart (72) and Sean Baumgurtel (74) with Ashley Whitehouse (75) fourth. The field this year was down by 33% on last year which was most disappointing for the hard working volunteers at Merbein who had put in a huge effort for their Open tournament. It showed the class of the districts top three golfers in Rhodes, Stewart and Whitehouse to show up and play such great golf. Maybe the fact that Merbein were the third 36 hole tournament in a row behind Riverside and Mildura that cost them some more players. The SDGA through its Country Week selectors should get on the front foot straight away and question any player who has nominated interest in going to Country Week who didn?t play Merbein ?why not? Country Week should be for the fair dinkum golfers who really want to represent their district, not johhny come lately?s who pick and choose when, where and why they want to play. Either you are committed to the team and its standards or you are not. Better to find out sooner rather than later. If it is good enough for our best three golfers to play then surely it is good enough for the rest of the Country Week squad.
The top ten players in the 2013 Merbein Open were: Greg Rhodes 71/70, Cameron Stewart 75/72, Sean Baumgurtel 73/74, Ash Whitehouse 73/75, Phil Matotek 78/75, Troy Neville 75/78, Dom Vartulli 80/75, Charlie Simpson 83/76, Tom Holmes 84/78, David King 79/83. The next major 36 hole Open will be at Red Cliffs Golf Club on May 18-19 followed by the Robinvale Open the following weekend.

ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE GOLF DAY
Robinvale Golf Club will host the ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE Golf Day this Saturday. Assembly will be at 11-30 with a shot gun start at 12-30. The game is a medley ambrose in fours and all district golfers are invited to attend. Mildura golfers will be coached to and from the day with a complimentary coach that will leave the Lower Murray Water (corner San Mateo + 14th street) car park at 10-15 on Saturday morning. Over $3000 in trophies and major raffle will be distributed on the day. Cost of $40 per player includes green fee, bag of goodies, BBQ lunch and nibbles afterwards. This should be a sensational day on the of the districts very best golf courses with all proceeds going to the ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE. For more information contact the Robinvale Golf Club on 50 263286 or Email admin@robinvalegolfclub.com.au.

LEVER BLAIR SEELEY AT RIVERSIDE
Riverside Golf Club will host the prestigious Sunraysia District Golf Association?s Lever Blair Seeley 4BBB scratch and handicap on Saturday May 11th. This event up until a couple of years ago was a 36 hole affair but now it is run over 18 holes. To take a peek at the scratch cup will reveal anyone who has been anyone as a top golfer in Sunraysia over the last sixty or more years. Riverside has gone through a transformation in the last ten days with people returning to the club after brief interludes elsewhere and smiling faces are the order of the day. Phone 50 234255 to book in and have your golflink number on hand so that the staff can enter you straight into the clubs new Onegolf computer system. Cost of the game is $30 per couple and who knows, you could end up having your name etched in history on either the scratch or handicap cups.
GOLF AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES NEW 5-STROKE ANCHOR SYSTEM
On May 14 Golf Australia will change the current handicapping system from a 4 stroke anchor to 5 stroke. The current system allows a 4 shot buffer from your best handicap score in the last 12 months. The new 5-stroke anchor will be introduced to tie in a golfers underlying playing ability to their handicap and reduce the extreme outward movement of a golfers handicap. A Golf Australia study into its implementation found that a players handicap is seasonal ? meaning his or her handicaps tend to go out in winter and in in summer. Hence, a golfers handicap is seasonal. The new 5-stroke anchor essentially allows for more movement during winter. Further components to the handicapping system will be introduced in late 2013 including a daily scratch rating and course slope ratings. Stay tuned!

HAVE A SLOW PLAY AT GOLF
One of the things that really annoys people is slow players in front of your group at golf. Jack Nicklaus is rated by almost everyone as either the best or second best golfer that ever lived but he is also the golf held most responsible for slow play. This was because he lined everything up so meticulously and took so long in doing it that it held everyone else up. On a Saturday or Sunday when he was at his peak this wasn?t so much of a problem as he was usually in the last group on the course but on Thursdays and Fridays he copped a lot of behind the back criticism. Jack was rarely cautioned as he was the golden haired number one player in the world but the other players including fast players such as Lee Trevino were more than annoyed. So why should he carry the can for slow play? Well, as in every other sport, the best players are copied and mimicked and it spreads through the ranks. The funny thing about slow players is that usually they don?t realize or won?t accept that they are slow. Be it ignorance, arrogance or a slice of both but very few if any admit to being slow. One way of moving them along a bit might be to put a list up on the noticeboard each week. Members could come in after a competition and put so and so?s name up on the board. Wow, wouldn?t that cause a few ?discussions?. I?ll tell you what though, it might get the message home to a few and your day at golf might just become a little bit more enjoyable.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Lots 4BBB and ambrose events on in the last week, so the single top end scores weren?t as plentiful this week. Noel Thomas at Wentworth and Ron Hunt at Coomealla were both five up on their handicaps. Travis Jobson was one better at Riverside whilst his Mate Adam Schelfhout went one better again on the picturesque river course. Rodney Jarrett emerged from the mist at Coomealla to take this week?s Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week prize of 12 Callaway Warbird golf balls with a sparkling 45 points. Rodney can collect his prize by Friday 9pm from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
MERBEIN OPEN KEEPS RHODES ON TOP
Greg Rhodes won the 2013 Merbein Open at the weekend comfortably by five strokes from Cameron Stewart. Rhodes (71) led overnight by two shots from Sean Baumgurtel and Ashley Whitehouse with Cameron Stewart a further two strokes back. On Sunday Rhodes (70) continued to churn out the pars on a golf course that challenges the very best of players. Greg has not played a lot of golf at Merbein over the years but when he has, he generally has won. Runner up?s up were Cameron Stewart (72) and Sean Baumgurtel (74) with Ashley Whitehouse (75) fourth. The field this year was down by 33% on last year which was most disappointing for the hard working volunteers at Merbein who had put in a huge effort for their Open tournament. It showed the class of the districts top three golfers in Rhodes, Stewart and Whitehouse to show up and play such great golf. Maybe the fact that Merbein were the third 36 hole tournament in a row behind Riverside and Mildura that cost them some more players. The SDGA through its Country Week selectors should get on the front foot straight away and question any player who has nominated interest in going to Country Week who didn?t play Merbein ?why not? Country Week should be for the fair dinkum golfers who really want to represent their district, not johhny come lately?s who pick and choose when, where and why they want to play. Either you are committed to the team and its standards or you are not. Better to find out sooner rather than later. If it is good enough for our best three golfers to play then surely it is good enough for the rest of the Country Week squad.
The top ten players in the 2013 Merbein Open were: Greg Rhodes 71/70, Cameron Stewart 75/72, Sean Baumgurtel 73/74, Ash Whitehouse 73/75, Phil Matotek 78/75, Troy Neville 75/78, Dom Vartulli 80/75, Charlie Simpson 83/76, Tom Holmes 84/78, David King 79/83. The next major 36 hole Open will be at Red Cliffs Golf Club on May 18-19 followed by the Robinvale Open the following weekend.
ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE GOLF DAY
Robinvale Golf Club will host the ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE Golf Day this Saturday. Assembly will be at 11-30 with a shot gun start at 12-30. The game is a medley ambrose in fours and all district golfers are invited to attend. Mildura golfers will be coached to and from the day with a complimentary coach that will leave the Lower Murray Water (corner San Mateo + 14th street) car park at 10-15 on Saturday morning. Over $3000 in trophies and major raffle will be distributed on the day. Cost of $40 per player includes green fee, bag of goodies, BBQ lunch and nibbles afterwards. This should be a sensational day on the of the districts very best golf courses with all proceeds going to the ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE. For more information contact the Robinvale Golf Club on 50 263286 or Email admin@robinvalegolfclub.com.au.
LEVER BLAIR SEELEY AT RIVERSIDE
Riverside Golf Club will host the prestigious Sunraysia District Golf Association?s Lever Blair Seeley 4BBB scratch and handicap on Saturday May 11th. This event up until a couple of years ago was a 36 hole affair but now it is run over 18 holes. To take a peek at the scratch cup will reveal anyone who has been anyone as a top golfer in Sunraysia over the last sixty or more years. Riverside Golf Club has gone through a transformation in the last ten days with people returning to the club after brief interludes elsewhere and smiling faces are the order of the day. Phone 50 234255 to book in and have your golflink number on hand so that the staff can enter you straight into the clubs new Onegolf computer system. Cost of the game is $30 per couple and who knows, you could end up having your name etched in history on either the scratch or handicap cups.
GOLF AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES NEW 5-STROKE ANCHOR SYSTEM
On May 14 Golf Australia will change the current handicapping system from a 4 stroke anchor to 5 stroke. The current system allows a 4 shot buffer from your best handicap score in the last 12 months. The new 5-stroke anchor will be introduced to tie in a golfers underlying playing ability to their handicap and reduce the extreme outward movement of a golfers handicap. A Golf Australia study into its implementation found that a players handicap is seasonal ? meaning his or her handicaps tend to go out in winter and in in summer. Hence, a golfers handicap is seasonal. The new 5-stroke anchor essentially allows for more movement during winter. Further components to the handicapping system will be introduced in late 2013 including a daily scratch rating and course slope ratings. Stay tuned!

HAVE A SLOW DAY AT GOLF
One of the things that really annoys people is slow players in front of your group at golf. Jack Nicklaus is rated by almost everyone as either the best or second best golfer that ever lived but he is also the golf held most responsible for slow play. This was because he lined everything up so meticulously and took so long in doing it that it held everyone else up. On a Saturday or Sunday when he was at his peak this wasn?t so much of a problem as he was usually in the last group on the course but on Thursdays and Fridays he copped a lot of behind the back criticism. Jack was rarely cautioned as he was the golden haired number one player in the world but the other players including fast players such as Lee Trevino were more than annoyed. So why should he carry the can for slow play? Well, as in every other sport, the best players are copied and mimicked and it spreads through the ranks. The funny thing about slow players is that usually they don?t realize or won?t accept that they are slow. Be it ignorance, arrogance or a slice of both but very few if any admit to being slow. One way of moving them along a bit might be to put a list up on the noticeboard each week. Members could come in after a competition and put so and so?s name up on the board. Wow, wouldn?t that cause a few ?discussions?. I?ll tell you what though, it might get the message home to a few and your day at golf might just become a little bit more enjoyable.

TRI-STATE MASTERS DRAWS COMPLETED
Draws for the 2013 Tri-State Masters are now finalised and will be available in the 48 page handbook to be distributed in the competitor gift packs at the registration day on Sunday May 19th. The registrations will be conducted at the Mildura Workingmans Club in Deakin Avenue Mildura between 10-30am and 4pm.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Lots 4BBB and ambrose events on in the last week, so the single top end scores weren?t as plentiful this week. Noel Thomas at Wentworth and Ron Hunt at Coomealla were both five up on their handicaps. Travis Jobson was one better at Riverside whilst his Mate Adam Schelfhout went one better again on the picturesque river course. Rodney Jarrett emerged from the mist at Coomealla to take this week?s Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week prize of 12 Callaway Warbird golf balls with a sparkling 45 points. Rodney can collect his prize by Friday 9pm from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
24/4/13
MILDURA OPEN TOPS AGAIN
Mildura Golf Resort once again conducted a first class 36 hole Open tournament at the weekend. On Saturday in perfect conditions Andrew Stewart continued his hot run of form with a two under par 69, one better than his playing partner, older brother Cameron. Wentworth club champion Matt Lynch has declared that he is going to put his hand up for Country Week selection this year and his opening 70 was an excellent effort. Others to shine on Saturday were Greg Rhodes, Mark Sutherland and Waratah?s Brian Carmichael who all had level par 71?s. Carmichael was an interesting visitor from New South Wales who plays off +1 and had been in top form at his home club with a recent 69 before 68?s at Wyong and the Everglades Golf Clubs. Sunday came with less favourable conditions which the majority of local golfers aren?t all that familiar with as most stay home on wet days. This hoisted Carmichael into the ?real? chances along with Rhodes and Ashley Whitehouse who had 72 on Saturday, both play well in all conditions, fair or foul. Looking at the scoreboard there were eleven players still in contention so in a forward move the club seeded the top eight players. Cameron Stewart playing with brother Andrew, Matt Lynch and Brian Carmichael played great all weather golf to secure the 2013 Mildura Golf Resort title by two strokes after handing in a scorecard of 68. This was the best round of the tournament and reflected his performances over the last three months at Coomealla where he plays the majority of his golf. Whilst the win was most meritorious, Cameron will not grab that mantle of district number one until he plays the second round of a tournament head to head with Greg Rhodes and beats him. Whilst the cards fell the way it did in the seeded groups on Sunday and Cameron or any player had no influence over the draw, it still remains to be seen whether he can perform as well against Rhodes head to head. Once he does that and gets it out of his mindset then he will be off and running. Rhodes, playing with Mark Sutherland, Ashley Whitehouse and Troy Germane returned a 69 after bogeying the last three holes. Andrew Stewart was third with rounds of 69-74, one clear of Brian Carmichael 71-73 with Matt Lynch fifth after 70-77. In the ladies event once again, disappointingly the field was in the 20?s but it did produce a playoff between Mabel Crouch and Eilly Raeck. Crouch had finished with 85-89 as against Raeck?s 89-85 but Mabel turned her day?s game around to win the playoff.
Top 10 at Mildura Golf Resort were Cameron Stewart 70-68, Greg Rhodes 71-69, Andrew Stewart 79-74, Brian Carmichael 71-73, Matt Lynch 70-77, Justin McPhee 75-74, Mark Sutherland 71-78, Ashley Whitehouse 72-77, Robert Veit 74-76, Domenic Vartulli 77-75, Mark Hahn 76-76.
MERBEIN OPEN
The 2013 Merbein Open hits off on Saturday and if it is anywhere near as exciting as last year then it will be a cracker. The club has secured over $2000 in prizes from House of Golf, Bendigo Bank and One on One Training. The golf course is in best ever condition with the greens coming back well after being cored six weeks ago. Last year Greg Rhodes defeated Tim Peterson in an exciting six hole playoff. This year Rhodes is really looking forward to defending his title as his competitors are inching closer and closer to taking his number one position in Sunraysia golf from him. Last year he said after his win ?It really was a pleasure to play at Merbein this weekend. The club has done a fantastic job and the greens were equal in speed to Mildura last weekend?. Peterson played superbly and always plays well at Merbein. Ashley Whitehouse has become somewhat of a Merbein specialist over the last fifteen years and quite clearly he is very confident any time he tees it up at ?Alf?s? place. Two reasons why those four players perform well at Merbein is because of their superb short games, but more importantly their attitude to the golf course and their ability to get on with the job if they do get a bad bounce or kick. Players don?t hit as many greens in regulation at Merbein so the short game skills really become important. At time of writing it is uncertain whether the Stewart boys will be playing but hopefully they will as the first two Opens of the year have provided top class golf and Merbein provides such a different set of challenges to Riverside and Mildura. In years gone by the golfing snobs of the world tended to bypass Merbein but in recent years many of the district?s top players have turned up to show their skills. If you haven?t entered yet call captain Frank Drayton on 50 236417 or the club on 50 256421 or the House of Golf on 50 229440.
ANZAC DAY GOLF AROUND THE DISTRICT
Merbein Golf Club will conduct their annual Mixed Opening on Thursday with a hit off at 1pm. The games will be a mixed American foursomes or a single stableford for those without a group and will be an excellent opportunity for players intending to play in the Open at the weekend to have a ?practice? hit around the course in a relaxed game. Riverside Golf Club will conduct an Open medley 4BBB stableford. Coomealla 50 274658 and Red Cliffs 50 24 1531 both have a medley stableford listed. Mildura Golf Resort have a 4BBB stableford, 1pm start. Cost is $20 for members and $25 for visitors which includes a complimentary BBQ tea. Contact the Pro Shop direct on 50 228089 to book in. Anzac Day is a very important day on our calendar so what better way to commemorate those who have fought for us by enjoying one of the sporting facilities that they fought to keep for us after remembering their ultimate contribution to the Australian way in the morning?
TRI-STATE MASTERS ALL SET FOR A GREAT TOURNAMENT
The 21st Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State masters is all set with 240 players coming from 83 different golf clubs around Australia including 92 ladies and 138 men. We are delighted with this response as 81 new players will tee it up for the first time in the tournament. We feel indebted to the Mildura Rural City Council for their assistance along with the Victorian State Government through its Sport and Recreation Department. Locally Peter Crisp and his staff were most helpful and a pleasure to deal with. With $250,000 worth of hole in one prizes up for grabs and $50,000 in other tournament and lucky door prizes we are very grateful for the support of Sunraysia?s business houses and clubs. We have strived for the last 21 years to make this tournament something that we, our golf clubs and community can be proud of. Due to my health I am not sure what the future holds for the tournament but one thing is for sure ? no stone will be left unturned to make this event our very best ever. Once again to everyone that has supported us ? a very big THANK YOU.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Great golf played over the last week at our golf courses. Congratulations to Coomealla?s Nia Whittle won the Wentworth Open scratch and handicap. Six players excelled to shoot six better than handicap including Merbein?s Len Lawler, Gavin Hocking and Michael Cook. Riverside?s Ian Dickason and Martin Scott also had six better along with Andrew Stewart at Mildura. Coomy?s Ivan Williams, Riverside?s Trent Smith and Jason Hartley at Mildura were all seven better. Mildura Golf Resort?s queen of the clubs volunteers, Bev Stone really hit her straps to finish +8. Bev is well known for her tireless work for the district, Golf Week and her beloved Mildura Golf Resort. As the Sunraysia Golf Range?s Round of the Week winner she receives one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls which must be collected from 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday 9pm.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
17/4/13
RHODES 21ST RIVERSIDE OPEN VICTORY
The US Masters is Greg Rhodes favourite golfing event, quite often it just so happens to fall on Riverside Open weekend. This means that like many Australian golfers he was up at 5am to watch the second round of the Masters then head off to golf all fired up. Three Aussies on top of the leader board had everyone in a hopeful buoyant mood at golf on Saturday. Saturday morning he contested the first round with Coomealla?s long hitting Troy Neville. Troy shot a respectable 73 and Rhodes had 70 after hitting 16 greens in regulation. Most top end players who hit 16 greens shoot in the 60?s but Rhodes probably averages 14 greens in regulation and around 32 or 33 putts per round. That night he umpired a local football match fulfilling the exercise requirements of your above average fifty four year old fitness fanatic. Cameron Stewart also had a 70 in the afternoon to share top billing and be one shot clear of Ashley Whitehouse and Justin McPhee. Matthew Lynch had an even par 72 and Andrew Stewart came in with a 74. On Sunday everything was in place for a shootout with our districts top four players going head to head in Sunraysia?s first ?major? of the year. Rhodes went round in a one under par 35 for the first nine holes leaving the door open for the challenges that he fully expected. Those challenges didn?t eventuate as standing on the par three 18th hole he was five under par for the day and six shots in front. A bogey at the 18th didn?t really sour his 21st victory in the Riverside Open as his putter had co-operated much better throughout the day after he had only hit 13 greens in regulation. Rhodes was delighted to keep his winning streak going at Riverside and was complimentary towards the course condition and organisation of the weekend. Ashley Whitehouse suffered a couple of hiccups on Sunday but still managed to par the course and come in runner up five shots behind the Vice Principal. Justin McPhee and Cameron Stewart were a further two shots back after McPhee?s 74 and Stewart?s 75. Matthew Lynch was fifth with a 74 and Andrew Stewart was one shot back after a 73. Completing the top ten were James Daly, Troy Germane, Dominic Vartuli, Steve Wilman and Tom Holmes, the latter three finishing eleven shots behind Rhodes. Just to put Greg Rhodes score at the weekend into perspective, he shot six under par in two rounds whilst the best players in the world shot nine under par in four rounds at the Masters. Big difference in events but imagine if Bernhardt Langer who is 55 had won. Langer closed to within two shots after three birdies in a row on Sunday only to fade after that but it would have been hailed as the greatest win of all time as Jack Nicklaus is the tournaments oldest winner at 46 in 1986. Rhodes is a marvel. This week the Mildura Golf Resort Open is on. The tournament has been the number one Open in the district over the last few years with excellent trophies and big fields. Make sure you enter today.
In the ladies section that wasn?t supported anywhere near as well as the traditional men?s open, Broken Hill?s Jenny Stephenson with rounds of 83-85 won by three shots from Riverside?s Marg Lampard who won last year?s event. With the coming amalgamation of the ladies and the men?s associations it is to be hoped that the women begin to enter these opens and start forging a stronger presence at these tournaments. Of course these sorts of changes take time but it is an ideal opportunity for the ladies to achieve equal awareness and recognition for ladies golf in Sunraysia. Perhaps when more younger ladies start playing more golf then that mindset might change.
Riverside Golf Club will hold an extra ordinary meeting next Tuesday April 23rd to try and achieve a better way of moving forward. All members really should attend if they have any interest at all in having their say and standing up for what they believe in. A golf club is nothing without people and in the present circumstances the tug of war that is happening is really suffocating any progress.
SCOTTY ? WE LOVE YOU
Adam Scott won the 2013 US Masters 63 years after Australia?s first entrant Norman Von Nida first played at Augusta in 1950. Australians have finished second eight times at the Masters but Adam Scott who was born in Adelaide but is known as a Queenslander lifted the hearts of all Australians on Monday morning. In 2011 it was Cadel Evans in winning the Tour De France that gave cycling enormous awareness and exposure in Australia and once again re-introduced Australia to the world, so it will be with Adam Scott?s victory. In the first years of the US Masters the organisers made inviting as many journalists as possible to the tournament to cover the event. Once there they were treated to fine wine and dining and treated better than anywhere else. Subsequently the reputation of the US Masters grew as initially if was the equivalent to the size and reputation of one of our State Opens. Now days the tournament attracts the biggest range of reporters and sports journalists than any other golf tournament in the world, so whoever wins becomes an instant super star. Scott?s win now elevates him to number three in the world behind Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Many of our up and comers in Australian golf head straight off to America to try and begin their golfing careers but on the advice of Greg Norman, Scott began his career on the European Tour as Norman himself had. The European Tour provides an excellent opportunity to experience a huge variety of golfing experiences and conditions compared with the pristine near perfect conditions on the US PGA Tour. Scott won his first event in Johannesburg South Africa in 2001 in the Dunhill Masters and went on to play in his first US Masters in 2003. In 2009 Greg Norman chose him to represent the Internationals in the Presidents Cup against the US at Harding Park in San Francisco, showing enormous faith in his fellow Aussie who hadn?t been performing all that well beforehand. Scott credited that selection in restoring his own self-belief and his form has been super ever since. It is obvious the respect and admiration he has for Norman who has provided enormous support for him as long back as 2000. The other important piece in his golfing puzzle was the addition of Steve Williams as his caddie. Williams had long been recognised as the best caddie in the world after working for Greg Norman and more recently Tiger Woods. Runner up to Scott was 2009 champion Argentina?s Angel Cabrera who then defeated Kenny Perry on the same playoff hole. Carbrera was number 269 in world rankings but looked the winner at times on the weekend. Cabrera?s long time hero was fellow Argentinian Roberto de Vicenzo who lost the Masters after signing an incorrect score card in 1968. Vicenzo, then the reigning British Open champion tied with Bob Goalby but signed for a 4 on the par four 17th instead of a birdie three relegating him to second place. De Vicenzo is regarded as the father of golf in Argentina. Carbrera?s embrace and respect for Scott straight after his loss was what sportsmanship in golf is all about. Adam Scott has shown enormous dignity in losing in recent years which was reminiscent of how Greg Norman reacted in the last twenty years of his career. What summed up Adam Scott as a an Australian and a person was in his closing speech he said ?Everything fell my way today. There was some luck there somewhere? which is very different to what we are used to hearing from many other top sporting greats. He carried an enormous load of pressure into that play off but as you know, ?pressure makes diamonds?.
THE MASTERS & THE RULES OF GOLF
It is rare that a rules debate comes into play as much as it did at the weekend. There are only 34 rules in golf but even the very best players in the world have difficulty in understanding them, as was evidenced with Tiger Woods on Friday in the second round. Woods ball hit the pin on the 13th green and rebounded back into the water hazard fronting the green. He then had three choices as to where to drop his ball for the next shot. He dropped it from its original position, well we thought it was. He had actually dropped it 1.8 metres from its original position which is clearly not ?as near as possible? to its original position. This came out in his after match interview. On hearing the interview the match committee then interviewed Woods and deemed it was outside the ?nearest? spot to the original place he had hit from and penalized him two strokes. Many people including Greg Norman believe he should have disqualified himself for signing an incorrect scorecard on Friday night. If it had of been someone else or at a week to week tournament would he have disqualified himself or would the match committee have had the guts to disqualify the great Tiger Woods. Those not knowing the importance of self-regulation in golf that is paramount at all levels of competition would probably sneer at such pedantic carry on, but not died in the wool traditionalist golfers. Tiger Woods has always been held in the highest esteem for his adherence to the rules of golf and the importance and integrity of the game that is usually a given for him but it seems on this occasion he may have let his judgment off the golf course interfere with his usual on course behaviour and integrity.
CLUB THROWING FOR DISTANCE & ACCURACY
After the previous paragraph this piece may sound a little contradictive but it happened and I am prepared to wear the embarrassment. Last night I was ordering some golf books and came across a book called How To Throw A Golf Club by Tom Carey. Some of the chapters include - Learn To Throw For Accuracy And Distance, The Twenty Basic Throws, Club Throwing Questions and Answers and What To Do When You Are Really Teed Off. Two weeks ago at Coomealla on the 17th hole I tried to hit a driver off the ground and hit it forty metres along the ground to which my playing partners all laughed. In an act off both frustration and a sense of fun I threw my club after the ball. We had a laugh about it at the time and that was it. Afterwards in the club house a fellow on the next table who had witnessed the ?incident? from an adjoining fairway enquired how far I had thrown my club and then added ?I bet we won?t read about that in the paper next week?. Firstly I don?t condone club throwing in any form, I was definitely in the wrong but it just goes to show that there is a Mrs Jessup (The Sullivans) lurking behind a tree everywhere so watch your P?s and Q?s. I know I will in the future!
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
Great golf this week with excellent scores at all clubs. Among the better performances were Grant Sibley, Heather Thomas, Patrick Gray and Stephen Bibby who were all six better than handicap. Next to best were Neil Bryant at Coomealla and Adele Dal Corobbo at Mildura Golf Resort who were both seven better than their marks. Winner of the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the week is Gordon Bettess who recorded eight better than his handicap in the Riverside Open on Saturday. Gordon can collect his prize of one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday 9pm.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
15/4/13
Entries for the 2013 Tri-State Masters closed today but we accept up to ten more people by Friday. 230 players from 80 different golf clubs including 80 first year players. Very pleased with the response this year to our 21st tournament which first began in 1993.
 
10/4/13
RIVERSIDE OPEN TO ALL
Riverside Golf Club will host the first Open tournament of the year this weekend. There have been a number of summer stars shining over the last three months and up to eight players could win without surprising greatly. Greg Rhodes hasn?t won this title since he went back to back in 2009-2010 when he recorded his twentieth win in the tournament. Rhodes thrives at Riverside and can be expected to be in the running on Sunday afternoon. Justin McPhee won in 2011 and usually bobs up at least once a year with an Open victory but he has played little golf in recent months. Ashley Whitehouse is primed and ready to go so expect a good showing from him. Tom Holmes is hitting it out of sight carrying the back fence at the Sunraysia Golf Range with a three wood (which he then has to go and pick up). Last Wednesday he shot a 67 at Coomealla after hitting six and seven irons into the 12th and 13th par fives in two. Riverside is not really a big hitters course but if he can reproduce that form he would be a big chance. Undoubtedly the hot favourite for the event is Mildura Golf Resort?s Cameron Stewart who has been playing superlative golf at Coomealla this year. Stewart is 29 under par at Coomealla for his best ten rounds of his last twenty. With more than ten runners up finishes in Opens compared to a handful of wins it is time for him to really step up this year. One thing that is sure to help him is the new golf link system Riverside with be using for the first time ? One Golf. One Golf is a scoring system specifically developed for smaller golf clubs whereby the player enters his or her score hole by hole after the game. If the score entered differs from your card, you can easily identify such and correct the mistake. As at Mildura and Coomealla, members are able to enter daily competitions on line from now on. In the ladies event Marg Lampard will defend her title with her biggest danger being Broken Hill?s Jenny Stephenson who plays of 8 and has performed well at Riverside in the last few years. Entries are still being taken for both men and women so call the club to enter on 50 231560.
THE CLUB IS ALWAYS BIGGER THAN THE INDIVIDUAL
I had previously decided not to comment on the situation at Riverside Golf Club. That was until I ready Toby Prime?s back page article on Friday where the secretary Manager of the club stated he had no confidence in the President or the committee and neither did the members. Now forgive me if I?m wrong but if any employee of any other organisation were to state that about their employer?s publicly in a newspaper article, surely it would be grounds for instant dismissal. As stated in this column last week, I have a genuine feeling for the Riverside Golf Club that we were members of for twelve years (Kym) and thirteen for me. I really want the club to thrive and be the club that it once was five or so years ago. I thought the letter to the editor by Caroline James yesterday was excellent. Good on her for having the guts to put her name to her opinion. It is easy for other weak gutted people to hide behind an anonymous name in texts to the editor. I have no problem with people stating their opinion but if you don?t sign your name to it, it has no value. This weekend there will be a minimum of 120 golfers enjoying the beautiful Riverside golf course and enjoying everything that makes a game at Riverside something special. One only hopes that all staff are on board as unbelievably Saturday and Sunday are usually the Secretary Managers rostered days off!
THE MASTERS ? FOUR AUSSIES DREAM
Last week to fill in a bit of space I include my golfing bucket list which listed the US Masters at number one. On reading this my wife began ringing around to try and organise for us to go to Georgia on Monday. Unfortunately her attempts were one week late as it would have been possible the week before. Ah well, lovely thought but no luck. The US Masters really is the cr?me de la cr?me when it comes to world golfing tournaments. It has the shortest history of the four majors but it is the most wanted ticket in golf, both for the players and spectators. Two weeks ago unbeknown to us at the time, we could have had a house and two passes to the Masters for free. To buy two weekly passes to the Masters will cost you $10,290 plus accommodation which goes up 500% to 1000% for Masters week. How I wish I had have included my bucket list the week before! Anyway, back to the tournament where Tiger Woods is a red hot favourite. Rory McIlroy is back in town after his runner up finish in the Texas Open at the weekend and defending champion Bubba Watson says that he can go back to back. Fourteen year old Guan Tianlang from China becomes the youngest ever Masters contestant taking over from Italy?s Matteo Mannasero who was 16 in 2010. Best chances in my view are Englishmen Justin Rose, and Luke Donald along with South African Louis Oosthuizen. Only four Aussies this year including Adam Scott and Jason Day who were co runners up in 2011 and John Senden and Mark Leishman. Maybe this year an Australian will win for the first time. Will it be Scott or Day? I have a feeling that one of them might win and to think that we could have been there to see it. Aw shucks!
PACING CUP GOLF DAY, TRI-STATE MASTERS ENTRIES CLOSE
The Mildura Pacing Cup golf day will be conducted at the Mildura Golf Resort on Friday morning at 9am. The game is an ambrose in fours to be followed by a BBQ lunch. Anyone who would like to play should ring me today on 0419 208 337 to reserve a spot in the field. It is not a big field, usually around 20 players and carts are available for those who don?t want to walk.
Entries for the 2013 Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters close next week. The tournament doesn?t hit off until the 19th of May but because we order caps and a range of other items for the gift packs we need a month up our sleeve to wait for those items to arrive. The three rounds will be played at Mildura Golf Resort , Red Cliffs Golf Club and Coomealla Golf Club. So far we have had entries from 78 golf clubs from every state in Australia and five from New Zealand. Almost 90 ladies have entered and 130 men. Phone me on 0419 208 337 for any further information regarding the tournament.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
The scoring around the district was very good this week. Tom Holmes produced a blinder at Coomealla with a 67 off the stick, Andrew Stewart returned to form with a 68 at Mildura, Cameron Stewart had a 71 at Coomealla, Dom Vartuli and Darren Mannix both parred the courses at Mildura and Riverside. The stars of the week handicap wise were Andrew Stewart, Dom Vartuli, Tom Holmes and Ron Rowse at Mildura Golf Resort who were all seven up on handicap. The brightest star though, was Roger Walder at Merbein who recorded a 63 net to be nine better than his handicap of eleven. Roger wins one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue which must be collected by 9pm on Friday night.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all
 
3/4/13
CAMERON STEWART FIRES 65 AT COOMEALLA
Cameron Stewart fired a brilliant 65 at Coomealla Golf Club on Saturday. This is the best scratch score recorded in the district so far this year. Stewart is in peak form coming in to the Open season which begins at Riverside on Saturday week. Since early February Stewarts best ten rounds of his last twenty rounds has seen him record an aggregate twenty nine under par, all at Coomealla Golf Club. His best rounds have included Saturday?s 65, two 68?s, three 69?s, two 70?s and one 71. Ryan Laird has topped Stewart in overall under par scores being thirty under par in his best ten rounds of his last twenty since late January. Laird?s best was a 66 at Coomealla. Unlike Stewart and Rhodes, Laird has played at seven different courses including Mildura (5), Riversdale (4), Coomealla and Commonwealth (3), Murray Downs and Thirteenth Beach (2) and Amstel Golf Club once. Some of the events he played in included the Victorian Open, and the Riversdale Cup which are both enormous events for a young lad from Sunraysia. Greg Rhodes is seventeen under par in his best ten rounds and won the Easter stableford at Coomealla over 72 holes with 146 points, which represents two under par. Another player who has been recording great scores at Coomealla over the summer is Mark Hahn who moved to the district last year. His best ten rounds of twenty has seen him go twelve under par and his handicap to one point off +1. Number one lady golfer in the district, Sue Laird has reduced her handicap to two which is a career low for her. This year she is playing division one ladies pennant for Commonwealth Golf Club.
GOLF, LIFE AND THE DASH
Yesterday I attended the funeral of Anthony Kerr who passed away with cancer last week aged 55. He would have been 56 today. During the service the celebrant read a poem about the dash between one?s birth date and passing date. It basically asked the question of how do you think you are living your dash or the years between those to dates. Anthony?s brother Gary and I have been close mates since I first signed up as a member at Coomealla Golf Club in 1979. During the service I began to think about my dash which is drawing closer to the second date as Anthony was diagnosed the month before I was. Even though this is my 35th consecutive year as a member at Coomealla, I have also been a member of Riverside 13 years, Mildura 8 years, Red Cliffs two and Wentworth two during that time. So it may surprise some people that I have a passion for all of our golf clubs in the district of Sunraysia. Last week I wrote an article about Riverside, it?s past, more importantly its present and future. Let me assure you of one thing, if I didn?t care about Riverside Golf Club or was anti it in any way, I wouldn?t have bothered. As a matter of fact my wife suggested that I leave the subject alone because we both knew what would follow. My view is that something positive has to be done at Riverside to get the club back on track and if my article stirred the pot and got people talking, then, from my point of view, it was mission accomplished. The rest is up to the committee and the club members. A meeting was held last night and it was expected that a section of the membership were going to attend and voice their concerns to the current committee.
GOLFING BUCKET LIST
Last week that great movie The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman was screened on television. It is about two men who are dying who put together a ?bucket list? of the things they want to do before they die. If you knew you were going to die soon what would your bucket list be? Mine is filled with golfing places I?d like to visit seeing Catherine Zita Jones and Hale Berry present too great a challenge at my stage in life! I would love to go to the US Masters as that is perfection when it comes to a golf event and how it is run. Number two is definitely to attend the Ryder Cup between the United States and Europe. To me, this is the best golf tournament in the world between two fierce rivals. The golf course I would like to visit most is Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande Spain. This is the course that Seve Ballesteros made famous when he redesigned several holes before the Ryder Cup in 1997. To meet Lee Trevino who is my favourite living golfer now that Seve has passed away. Finally to go back to Ireland once more and play my favourite golf course in the world Royal County Down. Let me know what your golfing bucket list is.
GOLF TOURNAMENTS AND CLINICS
The 21st Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters will close entries off in a fortnight, so if you are thinking of playing then get your entry in soon. We still have a few spots left, you could win $20,000 or a car for a hole in one or a minimum of a $10,000 prize on all the par 3's. Naturally there are other great prizes for the winners and runners up and door prizes along with teams prizes. Entries can be down loaded from our web site www.sunraysiagolftours.com.au. The annual Mildura Pacing Cup golf day will hit off at 9am Friday April 12th at Mildura Golf Resort. The game is an ambrose in fours and the $30 entry fee includes the round of golf a gift pack and a BBQ lunch and a chance to meet some of the owners, trainers, drivers and even stewards. Phone me on 0419 208 337 to book in. Ride on buggy?s are also available. The Sunraysia Golf Range recently completed their H O G clinics with just over 100 people taking part in the eight week sessions. The clinics are split up on either a beginner or handicap basis so that everyone in each group are comparatively at about the same level. Men?s, ladies and children?s groups congregate on different evening at the range which is followed by a free drink of choice and a free BBQ. Thereafter the groups try themselves out on the simulator for a nearest the pin competition. After the success of the first H O G sessions make sure you sign up soon as the clinics begin again on April 16 with AAA PGA Professional Rob Nicholls.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week there was heaps of golf played over the Easter break. No doubt Cameron Stewart had the best scratch score but the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week is a handicap competition which is fairly hard for a bloke off + three to win. Coomealla?s Ian Petrac and Neale Prior equalled Red Cliffs Wayne Smith and Mildura?s Bob Dalgleish who were all seven better than handicap. Three players went one better including Coomealla?s Geoff Sayers and Mildura Golf Resort?s Dennis Cavanagh and Robin Hubble. In a three way tie a toss up was required which saw Robin Hubble the lucky winner of one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls. This prize must be collected from the House of Golf 347 Ontario Ave by 9pm on Friday night,
Contact me with your golf news and views at golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
28/3/13
RIVERSIDE GOLF CLUB A LABOuR OF LOVE
When a golf club member puts their hand up at an annual general meeting and is voted into office by the club membership it is fair to assume that those members will support those elected as best they can. There can be no doubt that this has not been the case at Riverside Golf Club since their November AGM. Lorraine Fisher stood against the previous president Peter Detarcynski who had been president for the previous two years. When Mrs Fisher was voted in it was seen as a ground breaking move and a giant step forward by the club members. Why? Traditionally men have run golf clubs all over the world and the ladies were referred to as associates who were directed the ?main? committee to do as they were directed. In this day and age that attitude as changed in many clubs and associations to the point where the two State bodies have amalgamated and our local equivalents will join together later this year. Before then, both genders of pennant will be played at the same venues on the same day. However, back to Riverside which has arguably been the second most successful golf club in local golf over the last sixty years or more. Since that AGM in November the committee has struggled to agree on anything that will drive the club further and re-capture that wonderful atmosphere that was always prevalent in the clubhouse after golf. New captain Robert Garioch is a terrific fellow for that position, a businessman who knows business and knows golf. Ray Cottle is his vice captain and an ideal man to have as a back up. Rob Arnold is the vice president who has been a tireless worker for the club for a number of years. Finally Lorraine Fisher has been in the local golf scene for over thirty years and has a business background which holds her in good stead for the fine print and legalities that club directors really need to have a good knowledge of. So they are the leaders of the Riverside Golf Club, all very capable people who have a common love for the club. Why then are members leaving in droves with over 100 members so far not renewing their memberships? Good members such as Mick Burke who did a great job as president several years ago and Winston Easterbrook who tried valiantly as captain for the past few years. They have left because they are sick and tired of the bickering and in fighting that has been going on even before the election. There is no doubt that the tail is wagging the dog at Riverside and until that situation is reversed or the tail stops wagging and is replaced, then things will remain as they are. Except that four new people will have to be sourced to replace Fisher, Arnold, Garioch and Cottle and perhaps a couple more of the committee who will more than likely resign. For twelve years Milriver Golf P/L ran the on course golf shop supplying the committee with green fee receipt books and golf cart receipt books at the end of every month. That is the only way that committee can be certain as to what monies the club is taking and are able to compare those takings to previous years, on a day, week, monthly and yearly basis. My understanding is that the Milriver system is not employed by the current people in charge of finance both in and out. It is absolutely vital that Riverside Golf Club rise up from its current situation and become a driving force in Sunraysia golf once more. Let?s face it, they have the most picturesque golf course on the Murray River, they have a terrific core group of members and their reputation outside of our district is of a great place for visitors to have a game of golf. My understanding is that a special meeting has been called for tomorrow night when the major issues will be dealt with one way or another. Next week I hope to report that a satisfactory conclusion has been reached for all parties, including club members, visiting golfers and Sunraysia Golf in general.

GOLF GALORE IN SUNRAYSIA OVER EASTER
Last week we had a ridiculous situation where two charity events went up against one another at Mildura and Coomealla. Whilst both organisations reported adequate fields it is certain that at least one was well down on numbers in previous years. On Sunday the Sunraysia District Golf Association conducted their season opening mixed American foursomes event at Mildura Golf Resort whilst Red Cliffs hosted a Variety Bash charity day. Again the numbers weren?t record breaking at either with both clubs having trips to Tooleybuc and Murray Downs. Surely from now on when a club takes the booking for an event the first thing to do is to check with all over clubs to see if there is a clash of events. Unless that happens, everyone loses. This weekend there is a number of golf events listed at all clubs. Coomealla will welcome members and guests to their four round Easter Stableford Classic that begins on Friday and concludes on Monday. Competitors can play one, two or three rounds or all four if you have the stamina. Phone the club on 50 27 4658 to book.

TIGER WOODS NUMBER ONE ? AGAIN
Well boy howdy, wouldn?t ya know, that ol Tiger is back to number one golfer in the world? Woods won the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational Championship for the seventh time on Monday after a rain delayed weekend. Woods never looked in danger of losing because every time someone came at him he responded with a gutsy birdie. There is no doubt he is back to his best with six wins in twelve months. This is the eleventh time he has reached the number one in the world position since he initially tied Greg Norman who had held that position since 1986. This makes him an odds on favourite to win the Masters in three weeks. Rory McIlroy can reclaim the number one spot if he wins the Shell Houston Open this week. Tiger Woods won?t play again until the US Masters.

SERGIO GOES UP A TREE
There he was fifteen foot up a tree at Bay Hill. Was it Superman? Spiderman? Batman? No it was Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia who, to the delight of the crowd, stood up the tree with his back to the fairway and then back handed his ball back onto the fairway with an eight iron. That was the good news, the bad news was that in doing so, Sergio supposedly strained his wrist and he soon after withdrew from the tournament. Irrespective of that, it provided great theatre for the spectators and vast television audience. It is scenes like this that have people craving for more. You wouldn?t see anything like that in, say for instance tennis or any other sport not played near trees. Of course this shot has been played by several very famous other golfers including Arnold Palmer and Bernhardt Langer. It is something that makes the game of golf just that little bit more fascinating than sports that go up back and up back again.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
Not a lot of scores to coming in from clubs this week with many golfers either choosing to play charity days or going away to exotic locations such as Swan Hill and Tooleybuc. Five shots better than their handicap last week were Andrew Kinnersley, Tim Plumbridge and Jill Forster. Neil Saunders was six better and Greg Sells was seven up. All mentioned this week came from Coomealla as was our winner of one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls from the Sunraysia Golf Range House of Golf Andrew Tregeagle who posted an 84/62 on Monthly Medal where there was one of the most difficult pin positions I have ever seen and the tees were all off the back marks. Andrew will need to pick up his prize from 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email at golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
GOLF GALORE IN SUNRAYSIA OVER EASTER
Last week we had a ridiculous situation where two charity events went up against one another at Mildura and Coomealla. Whilst both organisations reported adequate fields it is certain that at least one was well down on numbers in previous years. On Sunday the Sunraysia District Golf Association conducted their season opening mixed American foursomes event at Mildura Golf Resort whilst Red Cliffs hosted a Variety Bash charity day. Again the numbers weren?t record breaking at either with both clubs having trips to Tooleybuc and Murray Downs. Surely from now on when a club takes the booking for an event the first thing to do is to check with all over clubs to see if there is a clash of events. Unless that happens, everyone loses. This weekend there is a number of golf events listed at all clubs. Coomealla will welcome members and guests to their four round Easter Stableford Classic that begins on Friday and concludes on Monday. Competitors can play one, two or three rounds or all four if you have the stamina. Phone the club on 50 27 4658 to book.
TIGER WOOD NUMBER ONE ? AGAIN
Well boy howdy, wouldn?t ya know, that ol Tiger is back to number one golfer in the world? Woods won the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational Championship for the seventh time on Monday after a rain delayed weekend. Woods never looked in danger of losing because every time someone came at him he responded with a gutsy birdie. There is no doubt he is back to his best with six wins in twelve months. This is the eleventh time he has reached the number one in the world position since he initially tied Greg Norman who had held that position since 1986. This makes him an odds on favourite to win the Masters in three weeks. Rory McIlroy can reclaim the number one spot if he wins the Shell Houston Open this week. Tiger Woods won?t play again until the US Masters.
SERGIO GOES UP A TREE
There he was fifteen foot up a tree at Bay Hill. Was it Superman? Spiderman? Batman? No it was Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia who, to the delight of the crowd, stood up the tree with his back to the fairway and then back handed his ball back onto the fairway with an eight iron. That was the good news, the bad news was that in doing so, Sergio supposedly strained his wrist and he soon after withdrew from the tournament. Irrespective of that, it provided great theatre for the spectators and vast television audience. It is scenes like this that have people craving for more. You wouldn?t see anything like that in, say for instance tennis or any other sport not played near trees. Of course this shot has been played by several very famous other golfers including Arnold Palmer and Bernhardt Langer. It is something that makes the game of golf just that little bit more fascinating than sports that go up back and up back again.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
Not a lot of scores to coming in from clubs this week with many golfers either choosing to play charity days or going away to exotic locations such as Swan Hill and Tooleybuc. Five shots better than their handicap last week were Andrew Kinnersley, Tim Plumbridge and Jill Forster. Neil Saunders was six better and Greg Sells was seven up. All mentioned this week came from Coomealla as was our winner of one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls from the Sunraysia Golf Range House of Golf Andrew Tregeagle who posted an 84/62 on Monthly Medal where there was one of the most difficult pin positions I have ever seen and the tees were all off the back marks. Andrew will need to pick up his prize from 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email at golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
GOLF TOURNAMENTS CLASH
Tomorrow two important charity golf events will be conducted at Mildura Golf Resort ? Mildura Masters and the Coomealla Golf Club ? NSW Police and Rural Fire Service Charity Day. On Sunday another two significant events will be played at Mildura Golf Resort ? Sunraysia District Golf Association Mixed American Foursomes and at Red Cliffs Golf Club ? Variety Bash Ambrose assisting ?kids with special needs?. Year after year this happens and all parties concerned miss out on those few extra players that can mean a big difference at the end of the day. The problem is that no one is answerable. Clubs take bookings for these events and no one cares to check if there is another similar day listed for ?their? day. It really should never happen as there are only about ten to a dozen of these days every year but the majority of them are run by non golfing fraternity organisers. That is why the responsibility comes back to the golf clubs themselves. To avoid these double ups an email should be sent to the other clubs when the booking is made. Let?s face it, there is only so much money to go around and even more importantly, people only have a certain amount of time to play in these events, so to maximize the returns and keep all organisations happy surely the clubs must endeavour to work together to avoid these double ups.
RIVERSIDE TO BEGIN OPEN SEASON
Riverside Golf Club will launch the district ?Open? season on April 13th and 14th with the playing of the 2013 Riverside Open. The three men who have dominated local ?Opens? in the last ten years are Greg Rhodes, Ashley Whitehouse and Cameron Stewart. Rhodes play lots more golf than Whitehouse or Stewart over the summer but this year Whitehouse has booked into weekly clinics at the Sunraysia Golf Range with AAA golf professional Rob Nichols. Reports are that Whitehouse is hitting it a treat and can?t wait for the Opens to start after only playing seven competition rounds so far this year. His handicap currently sits at 1.1 or +1 in club competitions. Greg Rhodes by comparison has played in twenty three competition rounds this year with is handicap 0.8 but also +1 in competition. The third member of this triumvirate is Cameron Stewart has competed in ten club competitions this year and his handicap is by far the lowest of the three on 2.6 or +3 in club competitions. With only three weeks to hit off at Riverside everyone is looking forward to the SDGA?s new top ten in the Opens competition which follow on at the Mildura Golf Resort the following week for their 2013 Open tournament.
WORLDS BEST PREPARING FOR MASTERS
The world?s best golfers are now in countdown mode for the US Masters at August beginning April 11th in Augusta Georgia. The US Masters is arguably the number one 72 hole tournament in world golf. Sadly no Australian has ever won at Augusta and every year we think, maybe, just maybe this will be the year. Adam Scott, Jason Day and Geoff Ogilvy will once more fly the Australian flag. Each year they lengthen the golf course and find ways to toughen it up to try and combat the new technology being introduced into golf balls and equipment. The one thing that separates the winner of the Masters each year from the rest of the field is putting. There has never been a poor putter win the Masters. Nowadays you also have to be able to hit it long and get it out there so, all facets of a players game are tested to the maximum.
RORY AND STACY WORLD NUMBER ONE?S
Even though Northern Ireland?s Rory McIlroy?s for has been in disastrous form this year, so far, he retains the number one position in the world golf rankings. Tiger Woods is creeping up on him each week it seems and if he were to win the Masters he would return to number one. I for one hope Rory recovers his form soon and starts lighting up the fairways as he did last year when he shot to number one. Bubba Watson was the man last year when he played the shot of the year in the play off to take out his first major. In the ladies world rankings Stacy Lewis became only the second American to become world number one after she won on Sunday. Lewis was diagnosed with scoliosis at eleven and wore a steel brace on her back for 18 hours a day for six years. She was told that any kind of sports were out for her but determination and hard work has seen her win seven times, six of her last 23 starts. Lewis dislodged Taiwan?s Yani Tseng who had been number one for 109 weeks. Lewis said ?I am going to enjoy this ranking. I have watched Yani struggle with it in recent months but this is the culmination of a little girls dream and I?m going to make the most of it?.
TRI-STATE MASTERS SEEKING LOCAL LADIES
In past years the NWWG Inc?s playing of winter pennant on a Monday has precluded many local ladies from playing in the Tri-State Masters 54 hole golf tournament in May. This year however, with men?s and women?s golf combining so that both groups play on Sundays, we are looking forward to welcoming more local ladies to play in the tournament.The daily competition is stableford in three grades for men and for women with seven 54 hole sections for both genders including champion, over 50 champion, A,B and C plus over 55 and over 65 stableford champions. It is not unusual for people to be eligible in up to four sections and the prizes are recognised as being second to none. The door prize again this year is an Adventure Houseboat holiday. You can check out the entry form and tournament brochure on our web site at www.sunraysiagolftours.com.au in the tournaments section or phone me on 0419 208 337 or Kym on 0408 310 532.
MILDURA PACING CUP GOLF DAY
This year the annual Mildura Pacing Cup ambrose will be played at the Mildura Golf Resort on Friday April 12. Riverside and Red Cliffs Golf Clubs have hosted the day in the last few years and all in attendance have had a great time. Hit off will be at 9am and followed by a BBQ lunch and trophy presentation. All golfing punters are welcome to come and rub shoulders with the drivers, trainers, owners and stewards over a few drinks at the completion of play. For some of the players it provides an excellent opportunity to get together, meet some of the locals and share a little bit of inside information. Phone me on 50 246799 to enter.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Scores at the top end were scarce this week without there being any logical reason. Merbein?s Ken Matulik and Mildura?s Geoff Waters came in six up on handicap then there were three players who shot one better. Coomealla?s Adam Job lost a three way countback with his 43 points which left Riverside?s Richard ?Tank? Tankard and David Stephens to fight it out for the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week. As the ?tank? has won the award previously David Stephens is the recipient of one dozen Callaway golf balls which must be collected from 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all
 
12/2/13
MILDURA GOLF RESORT FLYING HIGH
Mildura Golf Resort are riding the crest of a wave these days with club membership increasing each year and the course and project development well on track. Club manager Marcus Guthrie said yesterday that ?everything is going 100 mph around here lately. Eighteen of the thirty house blocks in in stage one of the project development have been sold with building permits anticipated being issued in June.? The golf club have hosted huge fields in recent weeks with 142 players turning out for last Saturday?s competition. On Monday the inaugural Regis Ontario Aged Care Services Sunraysia Labour Day two person ambrose competition saw 80 players turn up to support awareness and raise funds for Breast Cancer. This day proved to be a great success with Regis Ontario Aged Care Services Sunraysia committing to continue as the naming rights sponsor in the years ahead. This year Greg Bucanhan and Dora Stewart will continue their work as men?s and ladies presidents with Marg Morrison and Colin Harrison the respective club captains. Up coming events include the 22nd Sunraysia Daily Mildura Masters which first began in 1992. This has to be the best value day in local golf that includes 18 hole stableford event, complimentary drinks around the course, evening dinner and drinks in the clubhouse. This event books out every year, so get your entry in quick to Malcolm Goodieson at Sunraysia Daily. All proceeds go to the Mallee Accommodation & Support Program Inc (MASP). A novice non-handicap division caters for the once a year golfers along with the usual men?s stableford competition and an Irish Stableford Teams event to be sure. Another major event for the club is the 2013 NAB Mildura Golf Resort Open from April 16th ? 18th which is always the best supported Open of the year by competitors and sponsors alike.
RED CLIFF GOLF CLUB ? CONCERT ON THE COURSE
The annual Red Cliffs Golf Club Concert on the Course will be conducted this Friday night on the 18th green. This is a fantastic night where families come together to dance the night away under the stars to the music of Dave McMaster of ?Squashed Frogs? fame. Cost is only $15 per person or $40 per family who are encouraged to bring your own chairs and picnic tea but absolutely no BYO alcohol. The evening begins at 7pm on a beautiful setting in 31 degrees of perfect dancing conditions. The Red Cliffs Golf Club is humming along beautifully at the moment with increased fields, club spirit at an all time high and the course in tip top condition after the recent greens refurbishment. Another big day at the club is the Variety Bash four person ambrose on Sunday March 24 with a 12 noon shot gun start. A Mildura Houseboat holiday will be raffled off on the day along with lots of fun events. Cost of the day is $25 per person, book your team with Mark Bowring on 50 245143 or the Red Cliffs Golf Club on 50 24 1531.
GREG NORMAN
Dual British Open winner Greg Norman has been appointed head coach to the Chinese Olympic golf squad for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The China Golf Association in announcing the appointment said ?We are looking forward to working with Greg Norman who will help to identify and coach our most elite players to compete in the 2016 Brazil Olympics and beyond?. Norman said that ?he was thrilled with the appointment that is the culmination of 35 years as an international golfer?. Norman and other notable golfers such as Jack Nicklaus have been talking up China as the next big thing in golf. With the programs and dedication of the Chinese people there is no doubt that some superstars will emerge in the next few years.
COOMEALLA
Coomealla golf Club have completed their five new greens development and all five greens are looking terrific. The five greens are the 4th, 6th, 15th and 16th along with the ?old? 18th that is now used as a practice green. The previous thirteen greens that have been replaced are in superb condition, all ready for the season ahead. The fields at Coomealla have continued to be very good with the replacement of the greens now affecting green fees and competition numbers as much as it did last year.
NEW DENTURES
A couple of elderly gents were playing golf when one said he was going to see Doctor Taylor for a new set of dentures the next morning. His friend remembered that he had seen the same dentist a few years before. ?Is that so? the first said ?did he do a good job?? he asked. ?well I was playing yesterday when a fellow on the next hole hooked his tee shot and hit me fair in the groin? he said. ?The ball must have been going about 200 mph when it hit me, that was the first time in two years that my teeth didn?t hurt?.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Great scores again this week with Coomealla?s Aaron Blake and Neil Bryant six up on Handicap equalling Les Williams at Mildura. Coomealla?s John Keogh, Ivan McKenzie, David Tierney and Josh Longeri were one better at Coomealla but Mildura?s Bob Dalgleish and Riverside?s Graeme Southwell were eight up. This week?s winner of the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week is Mildura?s Tom Crouch who had a career best 63 net. Tom must have become envious of daughter Sophie who had been winning the ladies section at Mildura Golf Resort week after week. Tom wins one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls that must be collected from the House of Golf 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday 9pm
Contact me with your golf news and views at golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
5/3/13
DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIPS CARRIES EXTRA KUDOS IN 2013
The Sunraysia District Golf Association will add some extra spice to their District Championship at Coomealla in July. Two new events will be incorporated into the Open with the top ten players in A, B and C grades from the first seven Opens of the year invited to contest the tournament. The top ten players will be chosen after the scores from those Opens at Mildura, Riverside, Merbein, Red Cliffs, Robinvale, Broken Hill and Wentworth are calculated and the averages determined. This is a super idea which will give all players more reason to play in as many opens as possible to qualify in their divisional top ten. The other title will be the Champion of Champions which will be contested by the eight club champions of 2012. The best score by any of that eight will become the Champion of Champions for 2012. It is really heartening to see the district committee exploring ways of filling up the local Opens and giving local golfers an additional incentive to play in them. The next item on the agenda must be juniors. Michael McKenzie has a terrific group of juniors attending clinics at Mildura Golf Resort and Rob Nichols is really pushing junior clinic at the Sunraysia Golf Range (96 players in clinics last week including juniors, men and ladies in separate divisions. The next step is for the return of club junior Opens and junior pennant. One step at a time and steady as she goes but the SDGA are certainly on the right track.
MATT BOTTOMLEY A BOY ON THE WAY UP
Thirteen year old Matt Bottomley is the 2012 Wentworth Golf Club Medallist of the Year. Matt has been playing in club competitions for three years and has reduced his handicap to 16, just trailing dad Darren (10) and mum Lee (14). The Bottomley?s certainly are a fine example of the family that plays golf together. Last Saturday Matt continued on with his good form to beat his dad for the March monthly medal. He is keen to continue to reduce his handicap and go past mum and dad but this will become harder when football begins. Matt plays for Merbein and whilst he loves his golf, footy is his first priority. Matt hasn?t had any professional coaching other than tips from dad but if he were to find a good coach then the sky is the limit as he has all the fundamental skills to really make a name for himself in district golf in the coming years.
2013 TRI-STATE MASTERS ATTRACTS MORE LADIES THIS YEAR
So far entries have been received from sixty three golf clubs across Australia and New Zealand for the 2013 Tri-State Masters. On February 20 we had entries from twenty six clubs which means that in one month since the entry forms were released that entries have come on average from sixteen different golf clubs per week. Last year we had entries from seventy eight golf clubs. The other thing of interest is that of our entries so far forty seven per cent are from ladies. This is way above the usual 60/40 split. The ladies receive the same vale prizes as the men in the Tri-State Masters which is totally different to what happens at club level locally and in most Open tournaments.
GEOFF OGILVY BACK IN FORM
2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy returned to form last week finishing second in the Honda Classic on the US PGA Tour. The runners up placing shot him back into the top 50 in the world rankings at number 46. This now allows him to play in the World Golf Championship Cadillac Championship at the TPC Doral Blue Monster golf course in Miami Florida and the US Masters at Augusta from April 11-14. Ogilvy whose home club was Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne?s sand belt has put his poor form down to one thing ? his putting. Ogilvy was long recognised as one of the best putters on the tour but hitting greens in regulation and not finishing it off with the putter has sent many a good golfer into oblivion. The other in form Aussie on tour is Jason Day who played little golf last year due to injury and the birth of his first child. Matt Jones is another Australian with his foot on the till after recording a 68 to be the best score in the Honda on Sunday
GERRY POWER
Last week we enjoyed our sixth golf tour to Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm in Tasmania. Local chiropractor Gerry Power and his wife Catherine embarked on their first golf tour with us after Gerry had only taking up golf two years ago. Gerry plays off 28 at the Mildura Golf Resort and hasn?t played all that much competition golf. On hearing that he was playing at Barnbougle Dunes which is rated one of the hardest tests of golf in Australia, on advice from Mildura club mates Gerry armed himself with a big bag of balls. My wife Kym played with him and marked his card of 47 stableford points! Gerry was hoping to break 100 but was advised by all and sundry that had played the course that he had no hope of achieving that goal. Gerry, in fact, recorded an 89 off the stick to be his best score ever. That night he informed Catherine that they would definitely be booking again for next year?s tour. The only one not entirely happy for Gerry was Bill Cornwall who had come in with 40 points and thought that he was a monty to win the day. You should have seen Billy?s lip drop when Gerry burst through the door with news of the great day he had enjoyed. Bill recorded 94 stableford points for the 47 holes played to trail Ellery Award winner Gerry Power by three points. Lost Farm actually has 20 holes including two extra par three?s that are short holes that add a bit of extra fun.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE DEMO NIGHT
Our round of the week sponsor Sunraysia Golf Range is conducting a demonstration night tomorrow from 3pm til 8pm. Top brands including Ping, Callaway, Taylor Made Tour Edge/Exotics, Mizuno and Nike will have representatives available to show off their latest models for golfers to try out. Carlton Dry and Domino?s Pizza are sponsoring the night with eats and drinks. Booking can be made on 50 229 440 or just rock up.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
Sunraysia had a bit of everything weather wise last week but it didn?t effect the great scoring particularly at Merbein, Riverside and Mildura golf clubs. Rob Arnold and Travis Biddle had six better than handicap at Riverside which was matched by David B Tierney at Coomealla. Up and coming junior star female Sophie Couch continued on her merry way with seven up to equal David McPhee at Mildura Golf Resort. It came down to a toss up for the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week when Riverside?s David Stephens and Merbein?s Graeme McGaffin who both were eight better than their mark. Garth generously elected to give both golfer one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls which must be collect from the House of Golf 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
19/2/13
RYAN LAIRD TO PLAY VICTORIAN OPEN
Coomealla youngster Ryan Laird will tee off tomorrow morning in the Victorian Open at 13th Beach Golf Club near Geelong. Laird qualified for the Open after beating 59 other contenders at Ranfurlie Golf Club after shooting a three under par 69 there on Monday. Five players including amateurs and professionals at each of three venues qualified for the Open on Monday along with Ryan. Ryan has a good draw hitting off at 9-20 am tomorrow and then on Friday afternoon. After finishing school last year he will spend 2013 working on his golf and competing in events in Melbourne and Sunraysia. After the Vic Open his next tournament will be the Riversdale Cup which is considered the top amateur even in Australia. Following the Riversdale tournament he will play for Commonwealth Golf Club in division one metropolitan pennant. Depending on his schedule he plans to play local pennant for Coomealla and as many local Opens as possible. Next year he will begin a three year traineeship at Kingswood Golf Club with well known professional David Capaldo. It appears as though the sky is the limit for a young man that has put his heart and soul into working hard to make the most of his opportunities. Good luck at 13th Beach Ryan, all of Sunraysia?s golfers will be watching.

GOLF VICTORIA 4BBB CHAMPIONSHIP AT MILDURA GOLF RESORT
The Golf Victoria Four Ball Championship 2013 Country Qualifying Round will be played at the Mildura Golf Resort this Sunday February 24. Four balls are great fun, particularly if you can combine with your partner as to if one player is having a bad hole the other plays safely. There will be a men?s and a ladies section with the winners going on to the next level at the Rosebud Country Club and the National Golf Club. A $10,000 hole in one competition will be conducted on the new second hole and a drinks cart will be in operation throughout the day. A delicious lunch in the clubhouse is included in the $27-50 entry fee per player. Entries and enquiries should be directed to 50 23 1147 but be quick as entries are filling fast. The new Mildura Golf Resort looks so different to last year, let alone ten or fifty years ago.

TRI-STATE MASTERS FILLING UP
They say that advertising works. After the last ten days I?d agree with ?them?. With the help of the MRCC and the State Government we have advertised in three golf magazines over the last two months with March still to come. In that time we have received entries from twenty six golf clubs from as far away as Perth WA, several clubs in Tasmania, South Australia, far off NSW and Queensland. Locally, Victoria that is, we have received entries from Drouin, Traralgon and Sale. These entries are first timers so we know that the advertisements in the magazines are being read all over Australia and New Zealand where we will welcome five players including at least two new comers from the land of the great white cloud this year. It is pleasing to report that there will now be $250,000 in hole in one prizes available with several new sponsors coming on board including Int Tec Mildura, Mildura Solar, The Bulk Butcher, Mildura City Heart, Doug Haynes, Oasis Unmatched, Sunraysia Bus Lines, Brian Kennedy Electrical and Sunraysia?s newest legal firm Medina Legal. Next month we will be offering local golfers the opportunity to play in the Tri-State Masters at a reduced cost, so keep reading the 19th hole.

FANTASTIC LADIES ISPS HANDA AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Really enjoyed the 2013 ladies Australian Open at Royal Canberra. Not all that long ago I wouldn?t have given you tuppence to watch ladies golf but these girls are good. Our Australian girls including Karrie Webb and Katherine Hull were never in the hunt but that didn?t matter all that much. Jiyai Shinn played beautifully and really deserved to win. Lydia Ko the 15 year old from New Zealand put on an absolute clinic on Thursday shooting ten under par. After winning the New Zealand Open the previous week, she looked like running away with the title, but it is hard to lead from go to whoa. Make sure you catch some ladies golf on the box this year, you will be pleasantly surprised at the standard. Really, they are not they far behind the men as strength is not as important as feel and precision.

BRITISH GOLF RULES 1940
One of our loyal readers sent me this piece regarding ?Temporary Rules? posted at the Richmond Golf Club in England during war. It is a wonderful piece of golf history, and says more than anything else I have ever seen, about why Hitler lost the Battle of Britain.
1. Players are asked to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.
2. In competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
3. The positions of known delayed action bombs are marked by red flags at a reasonably, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom
4. Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the fairways, or in bunkers within a clubs length of a ball, may be moved without penalty, and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.
5. A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced, or if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty.
7. A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place. Penalty ? one stroke.
This notice was posted in war-torn Britain in 1940 for golfers with stiff upper lips. You have to admit --- these guys really had guts. German aircraft from Norway would fly on missions to northern England; because of the icy weather conditions, the barrels of their guns had a small dab of wax to protect them. As they crossed the coast, they would clear their guns by firing a few rounds at the golf course. Golfers were urged to take cover! You have to admire the Brits when it comes to golf, especially when you think of our local golfers who don?t play if it?s too hot or cold or it might be raining. Heaven forbid.

BARNBOUGLE DUNES GOLF TOUR
Next week we are chuffing off to Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm in Tasmania for four days with a nice group of people. The group will play 45 holes and enjoy visits to several wineries in between relaxing and enjoying the ambiance of the Lost Farm clubhouse which looks out over the sea. Coomealla?s Gary Klippel took out the champion golfer (Ellery Award) twice last year on tours to New Zealand and then to Ireland making him a firm favourite for the title that Stan Prymke won last year.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week the scores around the district weren?t quite as plentiful as last week but the best one would win most weeks. At Mildura Ray Quirk was six up on handicap as was Darren Biddle at Riverside. Brian McMillian had a day out for seven up at Mildura to match Chris Humphrey at Coomealla but our winner this week comes from Merbein. Nick Cavallo seems to bob up once a year with a blinder and his 64 net wins him one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls as the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week winner. Nick must pick up his prize by Friday 9pm from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
RYAN LAIRD TO PLAY VICTORIAN OPEN
Coomealla youngster Ryan Laird will tee off tomorrow morning in the Victorian Open at 13th Beach Golf Club near Geelong. Laird qualified for the Open after beating 59 other contenders at Ranfurlie Golf Club after shooting a three under par 69 there on Monday. Five players including amateurs and professionals at each of three venues qualified for the Open on Monday along with Ryan. Ryan has a good draw hitting off at 9-20 am tomorrow and then on Friday afternoon. After finishing school last year he will spend 2013 working on his golf and competing in events in Melbourne and Sunraysia. After the Vic Open his next tournament will be the Riversdale Cup which is considered the top amateur even in Australia. Following the Riversdale tournament he will play for Commonwealth Golf Club in division one metropolitan pennant. Depending on his schedule he plans to play local pennant for Coomealla and as many local Opens as possible. Next year he will begin a three year traineeship at Kingswood Golf Club with well known professional David Capaldo. It appears as though the sky is the limit for a young man that has put his heart and soul into working hard to make the most of his opportunities. Good luck at 13th Beach Ryan, all of Sunraysia?s golfers will be watching.
GOLF VICTORIA 4BBB CHAMPIONSHIP AT MILDURA GOLF RESORT
The Golf Victoria Four Ball Championship 2013 Country Qualifying Round will be played at the Mildura Golf Resort this Sunday February 24. Four balls are great fun, particularly if you can combine with your partner as to if one player is having a bad hole the other plays safely. There will be a men?s and a ladies section with the winners going on to the next level at the Rosebud Country Club and the National Golf Club. A $10,000 hole in one competition will be conducted on the new second hole and a drinks cart will be in operation throughout the day. A delicious lunch in the clubhouse is included in the $27-50 entry fee per player. Entries and enquiries should be directed to 50 23 1147 but be quick as entries are filling fast. The new Mildura Golf Resort looks so different to last year, let alone ten or fifty years ago.
TRI-STATE MASTERS FILLING UP
They say that advertising works. After the last ten days I?d agree with ?them?. With the help of the MRCC and the State Government we have advertised in three golf magazines over the last two months with March still to come. In that time we have received entries from twenty six golf clubs from as far away as Perth WA, several clubs in Tasmania, South Australia, far off NSW and Queensland. Locally, Victoria that is, we have received entries from Drouin, Traralgon and Sale. These entries are first timers so we know that the advertisements in the magazines are being read all over Australia and New Zealand where we will welcome five players including at least two new comers from the land of the great white cloud this year. It is pleasing to report that there will now be $250,000 in hole in one prizes available with several new sponsors coming on board including Int Tec Mildura, Mildura Solar, The Bulk Butcher, Mildura City Heart, Doug Haynes, Oasis Unmatched, Sunraysia Bus Lines, Brian Kennedy Electrical and Sunraysia?s newest legal firm Medina Legal. Next month we will be offering local golfers the opportunity to play in the Tri-State Masters at a reduced cost, so keep reading the 19th hole.
FANTASTIC LADIES ISPS HANDA AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Really enjoyed the 2013 ladies Australian Open at Royal Canberra. Not all that long ago I wouldn?t have given you tuppence to watch ladies golf but these girls are good. Our Australian girls including Karrie Webb and Katherine Hull were never in the hunt but that didn?t matter all that much. Jiyai Shinn played beautifully and really deserved to win. Lydia Ko the 15 year old from New Zealand put on an absolute clinic on Thursday shooting ten under par. After winning the New Zealand Open the previous week, she looked like running away with the title, but it is hard to lead from go to whoa. Make sure you catch some ladies golf on the box this year, you will be pleasantly surprised at the standard. Really, they are not they far behind the men as strength is not as important as feel and precision.
BRITISH GOLF RULES 1940
One of our loyal readers sent me this piece regarding ?Temporary Rules? posted at the Richmond Golf Club in England during war. It is a wonderful piece of golf history, and says more than anything else I have ever seen, about why Hitler lost the Battle of Britain.
1. Players are asked to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.
2. In competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
3. The positions of known delayed action bombs are marked by red flags at a reasonably, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom
4. Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the fairways, or in bunkers within a clubs length of a ball, may be moved without penalty, and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.
5. A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced, or if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty.
7. A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place. Penalty ? one stroke.
This notice was posted in war-torn Britain in 1940 for golfers with stiff upper lips. You have to admit --- these guys really had guts. German aircraft from Norway would fly on missions to northern England; because of the icy weather conditions, the barrels of their guns had a small dab of wax to protect them. As they crossed the coast, they would clear their guns by firing a few rounds at the golf course. Golfers were urged to take cover! You have to admire the Brits when it comes to golf, especially when you think of our local golfers who don?t play if it?s too hot or cold or it might be raining. Heaven forbid.
BARNBOUGLE DUNES GOLF TOUR
Next week we are chuffing off to Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm in Tasmania for four days with a nice group of people. The group will play 45 holes and enjoy visits to several wineries in between relaxing and enjoying the ambiance of the Lost Farm clubhouse which looks out over the sea. Coomealla?s Gary Klippel took out the champion golfer (Ellery Award) twice last year on tours to New Zealand and then to Ireland making him a firm favourite for the title that Stan Prymke won last year.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week the scores around the district weren?t quite as plentiful as last week but the best one would win most weeks. At Mildura Ray Quirk was six up on handicap as was Darren Biddle at Riverside. Brian McMillian had a day out for seven up at Mildura to match Chris Humphrey at Coomealla but our winner this week comes from Merbein. Nick Cavallo seems to bob up once a year with a blinder and his 64 net wins him one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls as the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week winner. Nick must pick up his prize by Friday 9pm from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
RYAN LAIRD TO PLAY VICTORIAN OPEN
Coomealla youngster Ryan Laird will tee off tomorrow morning in the Victorian Open at 13th Beach Golf Club near Geelong. Laird qualified for the Open after beating 59 other contenders at Ranfurlie Golf Club after shooting a three under par 69 there on Monday. Five players including amateurs and professionals at each of three venues qualified for the Open on Monday along with Ryan. Ryan has a good draw hitting off at 9-20 am tomorrow and then on Friday afternoon. After finishing school last year he will spend 2013 working on his golf and competing in events in Melbourne and Sunraysia. After the Vic Open his next tournament will be the Riversdale Cup which is considered the top amateur even in Australia. Following the Riversdale tournament he will play for Commonwealth Golf Club in division one metropolitan pennant. Depending on his schedule he plans to play local pennant for Coomealla and as many local Opens as possible. Next year he will begin a three year traineeship at Kingswood Golf Club with well known professional David Capaldo. It appears as though the sky is the limit for a young man that has put his heart and soul into working hard to make the most of his opportunities. Good luck at 13th Beach Ryan, all of Sunraysia?s golfers will be watching.
GOLF VICTORIA 4BBB CHAMPIONSHIP AT MILDURA GOLF RESORT
The Golf Victoria Four Ball Championship 2013 Country Qualifying Round will be played at the Mildura Golf Resort this Sunday February 24. Four balls are great fun, particularly if you can combine with your partner as to if one player is having a bad hole the other plays safely. There will be a men?s and a ladies section with the winners going on to the next level at the Rosebud Country Club and the National Golf Club. A $10,000 hole in one competition will be conducted on the new second hole and a drinks cart will be in operation throughout the day. A delicious lunch in the clubhouse is included in the $27-50 entry fee per player. Entries and enquiries should be directed to 50 23 1147 but be quick as entries are filling fast. The new Mildura Golf Resort looks so different to last year, let alone ten or fifty years ago.
TRI-STATE MASTERS FILLING UP
They say that advertising works. After the last ten days I?d agree with ?them?. With the help of the MRCC and the State Government we have advertised in three golf magazines over the last two months with March still to come. In that time we have received entries from twenty six golf clubs from as far away as Perth WA, several clubs in Tasmania, South Australia, far off NSW and Queensland. Locally, Victoria that is, we have received entries from Drouin, Traralgon and Sale. These entries are first timers so we know that the advertisements in the magazines are being read all over Australia and New Zealand where we will welcome five players including at least two new comers from the land of the great white cloud this year. It is pleasing to report that there will now be $250,000 in hole in one prizes available with several new sponsors coming on board including Int Tec Mildura, Mildura Solar, The Bulk Butcher, Mildura City Heart, Doug Haynes, Oasis Unmatched, Sunraysia Bus Lines, Brian Kennedy Electrical and Sunraysia?s newest legal firm Medina Legal. Next month we will be offering local golfers the opportunity to play in the Tri-State Masters at a reduced cost, so keep reading the 19th hole.
FANTASTIC LADIES ISPS HANDA AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Really enjoyed the 2013 ladies Australian Open at Royal Canberra. Not all that long ago I wouldn?t have given you tuppence to watch ladies golf but these girls are good. Our Australian girls including Karrie Webb and Katherine Hull were never in the hunt but that didn?t matter all that much. Jiyai Shinn played beautifully and really deserved to win. Lydia Ko the 15 year old from New Zealand put on an absolute clinic on Thursday shooting ten under par. After winning the New Zealand Open the previous week, she looked like running away with the title, but it is hard to lead from go to whoa. Make sure you catch some ladies golf on the box this year, you will be pleasantly surprised at the standard. Really, they are not they far behind the men as strength is not as important as feel and precision.
BRITISH GOLF RULES 1940
One of our loyal readers sent me this piece regarding ?Temporary Rules? posted at the Richmond Golf Club in England during war. It is a wonderful piece of golf history, and says more than anything else I have ever seen, about why Hitler lost the Battle of Britain.
1. Players are asked to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.
2. In competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
3. The positions of known delayed action bombs are marked by red flags at a reasonably, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom
4. Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the fairways, or in bunkers within a clubs length of a ball, may be moved without penalty, and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.
5. A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced, or if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty.
7. A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place. Penalty ? one stroke.
This notice was posted in war-torn Britain in 1940 for golfers with stiff upper lips. You have to admit --- these guys really had guts. German aircraft from Norway would fly on missions to northern England; because of the icy weather conditions, the barrels of their guns had a small dab of wax to protect them. As they crossed the coast, they would clear their guns by firing a few rounds at the golf course. Golfers were urged to take cover! You have to admire the Brits when it comes to golf, especially when you think of our local golfers who don?t play if it?s too hot or cold or it might be raining. Heaven forbid.
BARNBOUGLE DUNES GOLF TOUR
Next week we are chuffing off to Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm in Tasmania for four days with a nice group of people. The group will play 45 holes and enjoy visits to several wineries in between relaxing and enjoying the ambiance of the Lost Farm clubhouse which looks out over the sea. Coomealla?s Gary Klippel took out the champion golfer (Ellery Award) twice last year on tours to New Zealand and then to Ireland making him a firm favourite for the title that Stan Prymke won last year.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week the scores around the district weren?t quite as plentiful as last week but the best one would win most weeks. At Mildura Ray Quirk was six up on handicap as was Darren Biddle at Riverside. Brian McMillian had a day out for seven up at Mildura to match Chris Humphrey at Coomealla but our winner this week comes from Merbein. Nick Cavallo seems to bob up once a year with a blinder and his 64 net wins him one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls as the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week winner. Nick must pick up his prize by Friday 9pm from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with your golf news and views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
12/2/13
AMALGAMATION TO UNITE SUNRAYSIA?S MEN AND WOMEN GOLFERS
The Victorian Golf Association and Women?s Golf Victoria joined forces two years ago, during which time it has been a period to consolidation and understanding the way each body had previously operated. There are some events that are still conducted separately but the bigger events such as the men?s and women?s state opens are conducted jointly. Former C E O of the VGA David Greenhill said yesterday, ?the past two years have been about following a process and endeavouring to understand how each body has worked in the past. Basically it has been more about listening to each other in an attempt to communicate better and develop a feeling of togetherness?. So far it appears that the two groups have bonded well and it is this mantra that the SDGA and NWWG will follow with both bodies feeling confident that the local amalgamation will prove successful for golf in Sunraysia. Sunraysia District Golf Association President will attend a Country Conference in Melbourne along with every other country golf association where discussions with the state body will assist in the progress of Sunraysia golf and it?s amalgamation. Riverside Golf Club were the first club to elect a lady to the position of presidency but so far she does seem to have secured the support that was expected when she was elected. As David Greenhill explained, the process of combining together is about respecting each other?s views and once making a decision for change that everyone, including staff understand what is required. Naturally it is difficult with new people in positions that they have never held before as golf is a specialised business.

EXCITING VICTORIAN OPEN EXPECTED AT 13TH BEACH
The Men?s and Ladies Victorian Open?s will be conducted at the 13th Beach 36 hole complex next week with both events over 72 holes. England?s Laura Davies is sure to attract the biggest galleries. Davies has recorded eighty four victories around the world since she turned professional in 1985. At forty nine years of age she still hits it further than most men. She is in many ways a powerhouse performer. Other big names to compete in the ladies Open are Sweden?s Sophie Gustafson who has amassed 6mil in earnings in Europe and America. Australian chances include Stacey Keating, Nikki Garrett who was named Rookie of the Year in Europe last year and Kristie Smith. One name that grabbed my attention was Taiwan?s Babe Liu who comes from a nation renowned for excellent lady golfers including current world number one Yani Tseng. In the men's Victorian Open, left handed Victorian Richard Green is the standout performer after playing successfully on the European Tour for the last ten years. Peter O'Malley is approaching senior status but is as pure a ball striker as you would ever see. New Zealands Steve Alker is a consistent performer as is Steve Dartnall who played well at Creswick recently in the Victorian PGA. Korean Jin Jeong could be the surprise packet or Anthony Gilligan might provide a blast from the past. With 144 entries in the men's field, the winner may emerge from anywhere but it is sure to be a great spectacle on a terrific golf course The tournament begins on Thursday February 21 with the ladies playing the first 36 holes on the Creek Course before crossing over to the Beach Course with men on Saturday and Sunday after the 36 hole cuts. On Sunday the leading groups will be played in three?s with men, then women and so on throughout the field.

SNEDEKER WITH A RED BULLET
Brandt Snedeker is the form golfer in the world right now, after a win, two seconds and a third in the first four tournaments on the US PGA Tour. Snedeker is now number four in the world behind Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald. Australia?s Adam Scott is placed seventh. Snedeker took over fourth spot after a brilliant win in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday. Last year he jumped out of the box when he won the year ending Tour Championship which also secured the FedX Cup and the US 10mil that went with it. Snedeker is now planning to win a major, the first of which is the US Masters at Augusta in April. It is 36 years since the Pebble Beach ? Masters was won by Tom Watson in the same year but it will be Snedeker?s number one target.

ROCO NOW A FAT BELLY
When Lee Trevino turned fifty he nicknamed the Senior Tour the ?fat belly tour? and it has stuck for the last twenty three years. In January Roco Mediate turned fifty and as such played his first Champions Tour (Official Name) tournament at Boca Raton in Florida last week and became the tours youngest ever winner. Sixteen players have now won at their first attempt in the seniors including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. Roco grew up in Pittsburg Pennsylvania, his father was a barber with Italian ancestral heritage and knew little about golf. Roco soon became a very good golfer at university and graduated to the US PGA Tour in 1985, from day one though, he suffered with back problems. In 1990 he changed to a long putter to alleviate his back pain and became the first player to win (Doral-Ryder Open) using a long putter on the US PGA Tour. Roco is a real character, on Sunday he came to the seventh hole leading by one shot when he spotted a friend in the gallery. He called out to him ?hey, I?ve got a joke?, whereupon he raced over, started the joke, paused hit his tee shot to five feet on the par three. He then went back to his friend, delivered the punch line then marched up to the green and brushed the putt in for birdie. It is hard to imagine any other pro golfer doing anything like that whilst leading a golf tournament. In 2008 at Torrey Pines South course in California Roco really became famous in the US Open. Roco watched on as Tiger Woods made the most unbelievable birdie on the 72nd hole to force an eighteen hole play-off. After a further eighteen holes the pair were still locked together. Sadly to many looking on, Tiger won at the 91st hole against the most gallant of opponents that nobody gave a chance at any stage. Roco went from 180th in the world rankings to 47th after that second place finish. Apart from golf, Roco is quite a deft poker player contesting the 2005 World Series of Poker?s Main Event. The Golf Channel employed him as an on course commentator in 2007 but he now looks to be one of the top guns this year on the ?fat belly
tour?.
VARIETY BASH ?HOGS? GOLF DAY
Mark Bowring has been running a charity ambrose at Red Cliffs Golf Club for several years to assist ?special needs kids?. Cost of the ambrose is $25 per player which is open to anyone and everyone who would like to participate and support the Variety Bash. A continuous sausage sizzle will be available and auctions and raffles will be held after the golf which begins with a shot gun start at 12-00. Main feature of the auction will be a 12 berth Mildura Houseboat holiday for 8 people. Contact Mark Bowring to enter on 0417 059 007 or email markbowring@bigpond.net.au

SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
Mildura Golf Resort was the club to be at for low scores last week with five players five shots better than handicap. At Riverside Josh Flemming was one better as were Paul Wright and John Denman at Coomealla. Carol Miatke was seven up at Coomealla as was Chris Ashworth at Mildura. Shaun Clark would normally be a shoe in with ten up at Coomealla but congratulations to Fred Pelda whose 59 net at Mildura makes him the Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week winner. Fred can collect one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday 9pm.
Contact me with any golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
7/2/13
FROM SEVEN TO EIGHTEEN, THEN HOPEFULLY BACK AGAIN
In July last year I received the bad news that I had terminal cancer of the bowel and liver. This came as a bit of a shock. I should have realized something was seriously wrong because my golf game had gone right off several months before. I was operated on in early August and began playing golf again in September. Playing off a seven handicap I averaged 96 over the next ten games. The handicapper at Coomealla Golf Club approached me to adjust my handicap so that I had some chance of at least playing somewhere close to it. He put me out to eighteen which I still struggled to play to. The reasons for this was that in losing twenty three kilos off mainly my arms and legs it had affected my strength. Accordingly I lost around forty metres off my drives and ten to fifteen metres off my irons. I also had the shakes which affected my putting! Since October when the adjustment was made I have reduced my handicap one shot at a time to currently 11.5 after winning the B grade competition on Saturday and the combined A + B grade comp on Wednesday when I had 43 points. My target since October was to get my handicap down to single figures by this May. I still have 2.1 to achieve this but so far I am on the right track. Part of the reason for the improvement is that instead of having chemotherapy fortnightly, for the last three months it has only been monthly. This has been because my white cell count has been down and I can't have chemo unless it is at the required level. The funny thing is that there are one or two people at my club complaining about my handicap adjustment! Of course those same people complain that the sky is not blue enough. They are the sort that wold complain if they won tattslotto because it paid more the week before. Anyway, monthly medal on Saturday and hopefully I can break again.
 
5/2/13
21 ST TRI-STATE MASTERS
The 21st Tri-State Masters entry forms will reach past players and golf clubs all over Australia and New Zealand today. Last year 250 people entered the event which was almost 100 more than 2010/2011. This was mainly due to $12,000 worth of advertising that was done in three golf magazines. This year that advertising has been replicated due to a $5000 grant from the Mildura Rural City Council in addition to $5000 from the State Government through the Department of Sport and Recreation. This provides important exposure for the Sunraysia District, the Tri-State Masters golf tournament and its sponsors. Since 1993 approximately 4.5 million dollars has been spent in Sunraysia by competitors and their partners which goes around five times in a tourism sense. This makes the tournaments injection into our community of at least 22.5 million dollars during this period. Of course, that advertising of Mildura would also attract people in other time zones throughout the year. This year the tournament will be conducted between May 19 to 24 and it is anticipated that at least 250 will compete for the $250,000 worth of prizes on offer. Auto Synergy have offered three Honda Jazz motor cars as hole in one prizes at Red Cliffs, Mildura and Coomealla golf clubs. Sunraysia Medical Imaging are offering a $20,000 incentive for a hole in one on Coomealla?s par 3 seventh hole and the Sunraysia Golf Range House of Golf are offering a $10,000 package including $5000 worth of golf equipment of your choice and $5000 cash at all three courses. A further twelve partnering sponsors are offering $10,000 prizes of either cash or goods to that value for a hole in one. Any golfer with a registered handicap between 1 and 36 for the men and 1 and 45 for the ladies who are interested in participating in the tournament should phone me on 50 246799 or go to the tournament section of www.sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
FLAGSTAFF HILL?S MARK PAXTON GOES BACK TO BACK IN THE RIVERSIDE SUMMER OPEN
Sixty two year old Mark Paxton has developed a winning relationship with the Riverside Summer Open winning back to back tournaments in 2012 and 2013. Paxton who plays off a scratch handicap at Flagstaff Hill has won Flagstaff Hill?s senior championship six years in a row after winning the club championship in 2002. Before joining Flagstaff Hill in 1988 he represented Millicent and Mt Gambier in the South East as well as a stint at Mt Osmond. Yesterday he was quite effusive about Sunraysia, in particular Riverside Golf Club saying ?Riverside matches my eye and I have played well there both times I have played the Summer Open. On Sunday the club decided to allow players to take preferred lies which definitely was the right decision. My mates and I love going down to Riverside because their members and staff are so friendly. I?II be back next year to defend my title?. Paxton returned scores of 73-71 to win by one shot from Greg Rhodes 73-72, Ashley Whitehouse 73-74 and Justin McPhee74-74. Overnight leader Steve Wilmann shot a brilliant 70 on Saturday but played less brilliantly on Sunday. Riverside were delighted with the field of over 100 men and 30 ladies and with B O C stepping in as the major sponsor can look forward to an even bigger event in 2014.
HOUSE OF GOLF CLINICS FOR ALL LEVELS
The House of Golf Sunraysia Golf Range began clinics for district golfers last night. The clinics have been named ?HOG SQUADS 2013? and are designed differently to most golf clinics. Essentially the clinics are about improving a golfers golf game then providing an interaction with others of similar ability. After the clinic the players will receive a drink of their choice, a free sausage size and some fun on the new simulator with a par 3 hit off. The cost of the clinics are $160 for 8 sessions for the men, $100 for 5 sessions for the ladies including wine and platters and $80 for an eight week course for the juniors. The categories for men are scr ? 5 handicaps, 6 ? 12, 13 ? 19, 20 ? 27, 28 ? beginner. The ladies are set up in two categories, beginners and intermediate. This may alter depending on how many ladies show interest. In the juniors the divisions are 6 ? 9 and 10 ? 14 years of age. Rob Nichols who is a AAA PGA Professional will be teaching the squads and Garth Doherty will co-ordinate the catering and any club fitting that may be required. The clinics represent, a lesson, a drink, a hit on the simulator and some social time with likeminded golfers who want to improve their golf and have some fun at the same time. Ring the H O G on 50 229440 for more information.
KARRIE WINS HER 8TH LADIES MASTERS AT ROYAL PINES
Karrie Webb won her eighth Ladies Masters at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast last Sunday. Webb was just too consistent when the heat came on on the back nine Sunday when she came in four under par for the nine. At 38 years of age she was up against three teenagers who had blown the field away on Friday and Saturday but couldn?t finish the job on Sunday. The Gold Coast had absorbed sixteen inches of rain so the course was declared a lift and place (preferred lies) tournament for the three days. The next ?big one? on the calendar for the ladies is the ISPC Handa Australian Open at Royal Canberra Golf Club from February 14-17. This year the Open will be a co-sanctioned event with the LPGA and as such the best lady golfers will be here. World number one Yani Tseng and number three Stacy Lewis will line up with Karrie and Katherine Hull and a couple of exciting talents in Belen Mozo and Cheyenne Woods (Tigers niece). Royal Canberra is a beautiful tree lined course featuring many Pines, Birches and Cedars along with thousands of Australian natives. It will be the first time that most of the visiting golfers will see kangaroos walking freely on the golf course.
MICKELSON BACK IN FORM IN US
Phil Mickelson won the Phoenix Open on Sunday shooting 28 under par for the 72 holes to win by four strokes from Brandt Snedeker. Mickelson last won 51 weeks ago at the AT&T Pro-am at Pebble Beach which is on this week. He is an interesting golfer who is popular with the American fans but not so popular with many of his peers. During the tournament last week fabulous Phil had 29 birdies, one eagle and three bogies which would win every week with a score like that. The par 3 sixteenth is a classic where 40,000 plus gather to cheer or boo the players depending on whether they hit the green in regulation or not. It really sounds like a soccer match as they sing and shout and carry on a treat. It was this hole that was the inspiration for the Australian Golf Union trying it out on a par three in the Australian Open in Sydney over the last two years.
This week?s event at Pebble Beach was started by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in the 1940?s. There is a single event for the professionals and a pro-am event which Greg Norman and Kerry Packer won in the early 90?s.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE ROUND OF THE WEEK
The Sunraysia Golf Range House of Golf will be our sponsor this year for the Round of the Week. Alec Cattanach was the low scorer in the Riverside Summer Open with six better than handicap as was Dave Gardiner at Coomealla. Mildura?s Abe Nemes and Peter Miatke were both seven better one behind Mich Bacon at Coomealla. The first winner of 2013 with an excellent score of +10 at Mildura was junior Blake Myers. Blake wins one dozen Callaway Warbird golf balls which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave by 9pm on Friday.
Contact me with any golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good Golfing to all.
 
1/2/13
Great news, finally after several hicups the 2013 Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters entry form is printed. We will be posting them off to everyone on our data base on Monday as well as 450 golf clubs around Australia and 210 around New Zealand. The tournament is also being advertised in Golf Victoria, Inside Golf and Australian Golf Digest. We have received terrific support this year with grants from the Victorian State Government and the Mildura Rural City Council, which has enabled us to advertise with these State and National golf magazines. The Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club along with Trentham Estate, Prime Television, Auto Synergy Honda,The Sunraysia Golf Range House of Golf, Sunraysia Resort and Adventure Houseboats have also contributed to make this year better than ever. A further nineteen sponsors have also weighed in with significant support to enable us to offer $220,000 in hole in one prizes over the five days of the Tri-State Masters.
On the back page of the entry form is an advertisement for our apartment at Moonah Links which we have reluctantly chosen to sell due to my illness. We will miss our trips down to Moonah Links as it was so relaxing and provided so many lovely options to play some of Australia's best golf courses which are all located within fifteen minutes. Of course the two Moonah courses are sensational as well. Kym and I love the Legends course which is a tad easier than the Open course that has hosted two Australian Open's.
 
16/1/13
This morning I had the pleasure of playing at Coomealla Golf Club with Craig Tung, Steve Spooner and Dave Gardiner. Craig has won the Tri-State Masters once before, Spoons has won it twice, including last year and Dave has been runner up several times. This morning was quite memorable though, as Tungy knocked one in the hole on the par 3 eighteenth. It was a perfect shot, one bounce ten inches before the hole, then in. It was Tungy's second hole in one as he dobbed one into Coomy's seventh twenty two years ago. And gues what, I partnered him that day too. The only bad news about it was that it would have won him a Honda Jazz if it had of been in the Tri-State Masters at Coomealla on May 24! The entry forms for the tournament are not far off completion, we are just waiting for several sponsors to commit and we are done. We are looking forward to a great week and hope to top last year's entry as we have a lot of calls from new folk.
 
2/1/13
I hope you and your family had a happy and safe Christmas/New Year. We had a a lovely time this year with all of our family back home in Mildura. I am feeling really good after eight doses of chemotherapy. I played golf at Coomealla this morning and felt great after I had finished. Usually I am struggling by the 14th or 15th hole. Ninth chemo next week with only three to follow. All being well that will be completed by the end of February.
TRI-STATE MASTERS
Work has commenced on the entry form for the 21st TRI-STATE MASTERS which is to be held from May 19-24. We have had a lot of calls and Emails from new prospective players which is encouraging. It is six years since we have had a hole in one, so I fully expect to have at least one this year. We have had two in one tournament which would be even better.
BARNBOUGLE DUNES/LOST FARM golf tour not far off now in February. We are still seeking a lady to share and also a man to share, so if you or a friend/friends would like to join our sixth tour to this fantastic golfing destination let us know straight away.
 
17/12/12
COOMEALLA WIN SUMMER PENNANT
Coomealla won their third SDGA Summer Pennant in four years after a twenty one year break back to 1988. Wentworth stormed home to make the final but were never in contention against the strong Coomealla outfit. Hamish Glasgow, Greg Butcher and Gary Huxtable all had easy wins over Peter Bicker, Phil Lawn and Keith Plain. Junior Matt Bottomly lost narrowly to John Denman whilst club champion Matt Lynch was too strong for Coomy?s Ron Moore after the scratch marker had to concede twelve shots. Both teams were very complimentary about the Robinvale Golf course which has long been regarded one of Sunraysia?s best courses. Summer pennant has once again proved popular and can only get better with the expansion of the SDGA and NWWG next year.
2012 PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Three players stood out in Sunraysia golf in 2012. Cameron Stewart has long been lauded as the man most likely but it seems that when the opportunity to take that next step arrives he finds a way to falter. There is no doubting his skills or ability, it is his self belief that appears to be lacking. Everyone in district golf is looking forward to the day that Cameron believes he is good enough and then the wins in the big ones will follow.
The two players that stood out from day one were Ashley Whitehouse who dominated in the first half of the season and Greg Rhodes. Rhodes won the Merbein Open and the Coomealla open as well as the Mildura Golf Resort Club Championship. Whitehouse won the Red Cliffs and Robinvale Open along with the Coomealla Club Championship. So it came down to a flip of the coin which is no way to decide such an award. For the first time in twenty five years a tie has to be declared for the Sunraysia Player of the Year for 2012. Whitehouse is probably a bit stiff not to win it outright but on wins they are both equal in 2012.
SUE LAIRD ON TOP AGAIN
Sue Laird is the outstanding lady golfer for the NWWG again this year. Laird won almost all of the big events that she contested including the Tri-State Masters for the sixth year in a row. Laird is working hard on her golf in an attempt to play more events in Melbourne in 2013. She wants to test herself out in the big smoke just to see where she sits against the State?s best. Best up and comer this year goes hands down to Marg Lampard who had a great year after putting in some hard work. 2013 could be the year that he tests players like Laird.
POPOVIC THE NEW AUSTRALIAN HOPE
Daniel Popovic is the new great white hope in Australian golf after his fantastic performance at Coolum in the Australian PGA Championship. No one had heard of him until his first round at Coolum got everyone talking. Most expected him to be a one round wonder and slip down the leader board as so many have done before him. Popovic proved them all wrong as he kept making birdies and outplaying the field. On Sunday he hit one into the tree beside the par three eighth, which is extremely wide. A resultant double bogey cost him the lead since the first round and again his resilience was questioned. He showed plenty of guts and determination to forge to the front and go on to win by four strokes from seasoned pro Rod Pampling. This really was a first class performance and everyone in the golf world is interested in where he goes from here on. Whilst Popovic is just starting out, 53 year old Peter Senior who won the Australian Open the week before is contemplating the 2013 season that now includes many invitations into big events such as the British Open. I was at the Australian Open at Kingston Heath when he last won the Aussie Open and he was unbeatable that year winning the Australian Masters at Huntingdale. Senior has probably been the second best performed Australian behind Greg Norman in the last thirty years but has enjoyed a much lower profile. Norman only plays a handful of events these days whereas Senior has joined the US Seniors tour where he has performed admirably without winning. Next year is sure to see him post his first W on the tour after eight second places in the last three years.
McILROY PLAYER OF THE YEAR IN 2012
Even the Americans acknowledge that Rory McIlroy is the Player of the Year in world golf in 2012. McIlroy won the money title on both the European Tour and the US PGA Tour as Luke Donald had done in 2011. McIlroy has also won two majors including the 2011 US Open and the 2012 US PGA title. Nike have offered him $200Mil to play and wear their brand over the next ten years which takes the pressure off winning to pay bills. Apart from the majors the event of the year was the Ryder Cup where McIlroy performed ok without starring as did Ian Poulter. Poulter has jumped out of his skin in the last couple of Ryder Cups but can?t seem to reproduce that form often enough in the stroke play opens. Tiger Woods won three times but has not recaptured that magic that he possessed before his fall from grace. McIlroy on the other hand appears to be taking his popularity in his stride. Next year he is playing on the US PGA Tour full time so it will be interesting how he handles the fan fare and who ha that goes on every day of the tournament year.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Contact me with any golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
The competition for the last Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week for 2012 was intense this week with six under handicap not getting a look in. At Mildura Peter Henderson was seven better than handicap just behind Ryan Laird and Patrick Gray on eight better. Travis Coombes was nine better to fail by one shot behind Gary Fumberger and Hayden Flett who were both ten under. Gary Fumberger?s 75 off 13 was a standout but Hayden Flett had his best ever round so both receive four laminated placemats of some of Sunraysia?s best golf holes. These must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range by 9pm on Friday
Good golfing to all and a merry Christmas and safe New Year.
 
13/12/12
TWO WEEKS OUT INJURED
Sorry folks, no 19th hole the last two weeks. Unfortunately we went for a weeks break down to Moonah Links Resort on the Mornington Peninsula which turned out to be a week of ambulances, doctors and hospitals. On arriving home on Saturday it was into hospital for five days for a blood transfusion and an ECG and various other bodily check ups. The good news is I now feel 100% or as close to in my condition. Looking forward to playing golf at Coomealla on Saturday. My last three games has seen my handicap plummet 2-7, so hopefully I can keep that downward trend going.
AUSTRALIA PGA
Really enjoyed the PGA at Coolum today. The pro's are really pissed off that the tournament is leaving Coolum. This Palmer fellow seems to upset the apple cart wherever he goes. Most of the pro's treat the week as an opportunity to catch up socially with their playing partners, family and close friends. Hopefully another course can be sourced that offers similar traits as that holiday atmosphere that has made Coolum so popular for this event. Geoff Ogilvy was my pick before the tournament and he looks well placed after round one. Mind you, if he does win it will break my duck for the year. I have backed a lot of runners up who have been pipped by some fantastic fourth rounds by the winners.
 
28/11/12
EQUALITY IN GOLF IN SUNRAYSIA
It had to happen at some stage, first a black negro President, then a female Prime Minister, now a lady golf president in Sunraysia. Riverside members voted Lorraine Fisher into the top position at Riverside Golf Club last week and it has created a lot of discussion right across the district. Bear in mind that the majority of golf club members in this district are aged between 50 ? 70 years of age, the majority of that age demographic tending to see a half empty bottle rather than a half full one. No doubt there has been a fair bit of ?it wouldn?t have happened in my day?, type of talk. Of course circumstances are a lot different now to those ?my day? times. It is really difficult to get the best people, capacity wise, at clubs to take on important committee positions. Riverside Golf Club are an interesting case. There is so much potential, the golf course is just waiting to be picked up and made into easily the most popular course in the district. Clearly it is the most playable and when they get their water problems sorted the course will return to its best. It will then depend on if the club can attract people in numbers to the club. The last couple of years have seen squabbles and personality clashes that have no doubt held the club back. That should now be put in the past and the new committee should be given some time to assemble and work out a realistic plan to get the club back on its feet and moving forward. There has been talk of a mass exodus from Riverside which I think is most unlikely. Surely if people stayed under the last committee then they would at least give the new committee voted in by the members, 12 months to show their wares. Having known Lorraine Fisher for more than 20 years I would be prepared to trust her and we most likely will invite Riverside to host the Tuesday 4BBB component of the Tri-State Masters next year. After working closely with people at all seven golf clubs since 1980 I have a strong belief that trust is the most important ingredient when two parties are negotiating partnerships. I trust Lorraine Fisher and therefore we would be happy to sit down with the club for our 2013 event.
SUNRAYSIA ON THE WAY UP IN JUNIOR GOLF
Sunraysia junior golf is on the way back with Tim Peterson driving the juniors with the help of several keen assistants. Last weekend the junior district team travelled to Kyneton to contest the Victorian Junior Regional Championships. Although the team performed only moderately, teams wise, it provided a great experience for the new players in the squad. One of those first timers was Blake Myers who quite obviously is a big match performer shooting 68 net the first day and 67 net the second day to finish runner up overall in the handicap section of 42 players. Sunraysia appears to have a number of beginner to second and third year players that are cherry ripe to hit their straps next year. Tim Peterson with the help of the district coaches now available has the cattle to put together a really competitive group. It is now time for the clubs in particular and the SDGA to give Tim the backing he needs to take the next steps.
SDGA or NWWG
One of the strong discussion points from the last meeting of the Sunraysia District Golf Association was what the new body will be called when the amalgamation between the two bodies takes place next year. The ladies feel that North West should be included because of the width and breadth of the region that their group encompasses. The men believe that Sunraysia covers that adequately. This is the first of many such issues that will have to be overcome before a compatible partnership can be struck. I tend to think Sunraysia/Mildura Golf would be ideal as it would retain our district name and identify the district by including Mildura which most away people are familiar with.
PROSTATE CANCER 54 HOLE CHALLENGE
Gary Fumberger decided to do something different for the Movember Prostate Cancer cause so last year he called on seven of his best mates to help him out. They decided to play 54 holes in one day at Mildura, Riverside and Red Cliffs. All eight players completed the 54 holes raising $2500 in a splendidly gutsy performance. Man of the day was Mildura?s David Murray who took the challenge seriously shooting 72 on his home course at Mildura. This year 20 players have signed up for challenge and hopefully somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000 will change hands. The challenge will commence at 6am at Riverside followed by Red Cliffs and finally the Mildura Golf Resort. You can check details of sponsorship with Gary Fumberger on 0427 257 668.
RORY, RORY HE?S THE REAL STORY OF 2012
The Race to Dubai heralded the climax to the 2012 golf season worldwide. In 2011 Luke Donald finished top of the money list on both the US and European tours. That won?t be done for a long time again most pundits said. They didn?t count on the Irish dynamo Rory McIlroy winning five times to take out both money titles quite easily. On Sunday Justin Rose came home with a flurry of birdies in Dubai to post a course record 62 and a 21 under par score. At this point McIlroy was 19 under with four holes to go. As he knocked in his fifth birdie in a row to win by two the golf world looked on in admiration at a player who quite clearly is the equal of Tiger when he was at his top. McIlroy is a joy to watch and seemingly unaffected by the hype and carry on that goes with the title of world number one. Oh how I do hope he can continue in that way and not be drawn off the track as previous superstars of sport have been. The one big concern is the amount of money that is available in big time sport. Rory won almost $14, mil this year and has just signed a $200mil contract over the next 20 years to use and wear Nike clubs and clothing. It is amazing, quite disgusting really when you think about it. You know ?in my day??..?
COOMEALLA CLUB ? THE FRIENDLY PROFESSIONAL CLUB
On Monday night Kym and I were invited to attend the annual Board of Directors Dinner of the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club to recognise our contribution to the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club/Golf Club and Sunraysia Golf. We didn?t know what to expect, other than that club CEO Craig Muir was organising the function, so it was sure to be top class. And so it was. You know, if you go into a shop, club or anywhere where people are working, just take a look at their demeanour. In some places you feel like you must be just getting in the way of the grumpy staff who look at you as if to say ?what do you want??. One thing that I always notice at Coomy is how happy and friendly the staff are. This surely must reflect back on the top management and the secondary managers. On Monday night the club presented awards to staff who had been with the club for 10 years or more. The warmth and good feeling between the CEO and Club President Marge Sprague was quite obvious and equally reciprocal which I found most uplifting. After working with hundreds of people in the last 30 years I can say quite unequivocally that Craig Muir is without doubt the most professional and nicest person I have worked with during this time. We haven?t always agreed on certain things but the mutual respect for each other has always enabled an amicable result. Without the support of the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club we would never be able to deliver the standard of event that has become expected by anyone who competes in the Tri-State Masters. Next year is our 21st edition of the tournament from May 19th-24th which we are calling our ?coming of age tournament?.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week there were some good scores but no notes from Red Cliffs and Coomealla or Wentworth made the results a bit skinny. At Mildura Bob Shipsides had six better than handicap which was bettered by two by Ash Robinson at Riverside. Clearly though LES ?Hookey? McGlashan?s 10 up at Mildura would be hard to toss on any week. As such Hookey is the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week golfer and wins four laminated placemats featuring some of Sunraysia?s best golf holes which should be collected by Friday 9pm from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue.
Good Golfing To all.
 
14/11/12
vWHITEHOUSE WINS COOMEALLA IN A PLAYOFF
The 2012 Coomealla Golf Club championships will go down as one of the most memorable in the club?s history. Unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. On Saturday Greg Rhodes went into the third round four strokes in front. He knew if he shot par that would make it very difficult for his closest pursuers Ashley Whitehouse and Cameron Stewart. Rhodes shoots par or better most weeks at Coomealla but had begun the tournament 73-76 which is not up to his usual standard. Whitehouse had begun 74-80 so he wasn?t a happy camper either, Cameron Stewart had begun ordinarily with a 78 only to follow it up with 77. On Saturday Rhodes continued his mediocrity with a 74 but Whitehouse rebounded with a 71 and Cameron Stewart hit the jackpot with a brilliant 69. Stewart has been knocking at the door for ten years at both Coomealla and Mildura. If he could maintain that form on Sunday the breakthrough would finally arrive. On the preceding Thursday he went for a fitting for a new driver at the Sunraysia Golf Range, after the fitting he decided to take a lesson with new golf profession Rob Nicholls. Rob quite obviously picked up several flaws in Cameron?s swing as the weekends scores will attest. On Sunday Rhodes stood one shot clear of Whitehouse and Stewart who couldn?t take his place in the seeded group that afternoon and played in the morning. The captain asked him to file his scorecard in a desk so no one was to know his score until the end of the day. Rhodes and Whitehouse went head to head, come the par 3 18th hole Rhodes was still one shot in front. He duly hit first into the front right hand bunker only to see Whitehouse lob his ball safely on the green. Rhodes then blasted out to the back left sided pin, but too agressively to see his ball slip into the back bunker. He duly blasted out and two putted then watched on as Whitehouse three put for bogey and a possible playoff depending on what Stewart had shot. On examination of Stewart?s card it was discovered that he had signed for a three on the sixth when he had actually had a four in his round of 70. He was then disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard on what should have been a six stoke victory for his first ever club championship victory. Everyone was left shaking their heads, Cameron?s marker Jim Fahey will feel like he has cost Stewart the championship but that is not the case. It is the players responsibility to check his scorecard before handing it in. It is a hard lesson but I still can?t believe that they didn?t check the card together as it was safe to assume even at that early stage that it was a winning card. It is a little comfort knowing that he beat the best two players in the district by six stokes in championship competition. Rhodes and Whitehouse were quite deflated on hearing of what had taken place but they then had to regroup and play a sudden death play-off from the 10th hole. After getting through 10 and 11 Whitehouse made a pain free par on the par 5 12th but Rhodes made a bogey on a hole that he regularly knocks it on for two. This was Ashley Whitehouse?s first club championship win at Coomealla but he has won nine times at Mildura. At the end of the day he felt it was a hollow victory but he fulfilled all of golf?s conditions of play and therefore must be congratulated on his performance. Both Whitehouse and Rhodes played significantly below their best for the majority of the championship but for Stewart to come in five under par and then lose on a technicality leaves everyone feeling disappointed, but that my friends is golf and the rules are the same for everyone who plays the game at any level. Cameron has now proved to himself and everyone else that he can be the best in the district, hopefully next year he will continue that form and improve his paperwork!
RHODES FEATURED IN GOLF VICTORIA MAGAZINE
Local golfers will be interested to see an article featuring Greg Rhodes in the latest Golf Victoria magazine. Trevor Grant came to Mildura in September to interview Greg and the article gives an excellent portrayal of Greg?s life in golf. Anyone who would like to see the article can call in and pick up a magazine from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave.
AUSTRALIAN MASTERS AT KINGSTON HEATH
Australia?s best golf club Kingston Heath will host the 2012 Australian Masters this week. The golf course in in superlative condition and the weather conditions look favourable, so the scoring should be first rate. Last year England?s Ian Poulter was the champion golfer and he is back to defend his title. Poulter comes in great form after winning the World Golf Championship HSBC at the Mission Hills Golf Club in China last week. Poulter came from four behind to shoot a 65 on the last day. After the way he dominated in the Ryder Cup he is clearly the best clutch putter in the world. Anyone who beats Poulter this week will just about be the winner. One thing is for sure, he will be the best dressed golfer on course in his own label. Nothern Ireland?s Graeme McDowell would not surprise anyone if he won. He has a ton of guts and won?t flinch coming down the stretch. I?ve decided that Adam Scott is just about the best tee to green player in the world but unfortunately golf tournaments are won on the greens, so until he can knock in a six footer for birdie I?ve jumped off his bandwagon. Irrespective of who wins it should be a great tournament and a great lead in to the Australian Open in Sydney and the Australian PGA on the Sunshine Coast.
COMMITTEES AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES
Inside Golf is an excellent golf magazine that goes to every golf club free to members. An article that should be read by anyone holding a position of authority on a club committee should read the article featured in last month?s edition that is headed ?The true role of the Board and Committees?. The article is written by Mike Orloff www.golfcentral.com.au who specialises in providing golf operations and marketing solutions for all levels of golf facilities and businesses. Basically the committee is made up of a manager/CEO, the board or committee and sub committees off the main committee. A strategic plan should be adopted with all committee members fully agreeable and understanding the plan and how it is to be implemented. The role of the committee member must be fully understood by anyone standing for committee. How often do we see new committee members either not showing up for meetings or resigning soon after being elected onto the committee. The general committee at most clubs used to be a men?s only zone, but not any more. A lot of people who know me will be surprised to hear that I have changed my view on women on general committees. After sitting on committees for the last 25 years I believe that there are a lot of women with much to offer that have been overlooked in the past because they were women. Many women have the intellect and awareness of seeing the problem then analysing the solution far quicker than some men. In fairness, irrespective of the gender what I am saying is choose the best people for the job. On committees you need progressive thinkers, workers who get out and get the job done, salesmen and women who can market a strategy to potential sponsors and new members choosing which club to join. In short you need a diverse group to make a plan work. Almost all clubs are preparing for their AGM?s soon and it is vital that your club has the right people running it. If you think someone has something to offer, sound them out and inform them of how important it is to have a good committee running their club in 2013.
GOLF MOVIE AND GOLF BOOK OF THE WEEK
Over the last few months I have been reading my golf books that have been gathering dust and it has been a real joy. Many of you would have watched the US Masters each year and listened to the commentary of Ken Venturi the 1964 US Open winner. Venturi?s story is a good one as he had to overcome many setbacks before and after he became a champion golfer. His teacher was none other than Byron Nelson and he counted among his best friends Frank Sinartra. Venturi overcame a bad stammer to become one of the most respected commentators in the America. The book is called Getting Up & Down ? My 60 Years in Golf. The golf movie is called Seven Days In Utopia and stars Robert Duvall and Lucas Black with a cameo performance by K J Choi. This is not your typical golf movie but has a few life messages in it about what you feel is important in your life and how you go about using those things to improve yourself and your golf. It is a love story as well so there is a bit going on as well as the golfer who has reached the bottom and discovers after a car accident a farmer who used to play on the tour but helps him rediscover his love of the game.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Great scores this week with four player playing six better than their handicaps including Mildura?s Chippa Kolpin, Steve Bibby, Marty Livingstone and Michael Bulucaglia. David King and Kate Murdoch both had seven better at Coomealla while Robin Hubble would have felt past the post with and eight under at Mildura. Mildura junior Sophie Crouch had the round of her short life when she came in with an 86-59 to be this week?s winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. Sophie can collect her prize of four laminated placemats featuring some of Sunraysia?s best golf holes from the Sunraysia Golf Range by Friday.
Contact me with your golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.
 
7/11/12
RHODES IN CONTROL AT COOMEALLA
Greg Rhodes was surprised to be four shots in front on Sunday night after 36 holes of the 2012 Coomealla Golf Club championship. On Saturday Rhodes and Ashley Whitehouse were equal on 73 four shots ahead of Mark Hahn with Cameron Stewart one shot further back. On Sunday the scores blew out. Rhodes came in with an uncharacteristic 76, Cameron and Andrew Stewart both recorded 77?s, Mark Hahn had 78 and Ashley
Whitehouse crashed with an 80. Saturday?s third round is regarded as moving day when you can either set yourself up for Sunday?s final round or blow yourself out of the championship. Rhodes needs to shoot par to
just about put the championship to bed. Whitehouse needs to shoot par just to stay in contention as do the other three contenders. Coomealla really needs to look at starting the championship a week later next year which would guarantee at least a dozen more players in the field.
IRELAND GOLF TOUR WAS SOMETHING TO REMEMBER
A group of local people took a Sunraysia Golf Tour to Ireland last month. Unfortunately Kym and I were unable to host this tour due to my illness. This was not a problem as Lynda and Neil Saunders assumed control and did a terrific job filling in for us. Mind you, Kym had everything timed to the minute after we chose the accommodation, meals, golf courses and attractions to be visited. This was our first golf tour in 23 tours going back to 1993 that we have missed. After 7 tours to New Zealand, 7 tours to Tasmania, 3 to Ireland, 3 to Queensland and 3 to Perth WA where more than 500 people have joined us on tour. This was also our first golf tour where everyone was from Mildura. Graham and Suzanne McClellan were first timers who really enjoyed their first tour. Graham said yesterday ? We didn?t know what to expect but right from the start we were blown away by the sheer class of the accommodation, meals and the golf courses. It really was a sensational tour and we highly recommend it to anyone thinking of going next year. We intend to go on next year?s tour to Ireland in August?. Interestingly the favourite course of the group couldn?t be established as all of the courses were superb. Waterville seemed to just get the vote ahead of Adare Manor that was voted the outstanding accommodation venue. Next year we have plans for a four day tour to Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm in February which will be our fifth tour there. An eight day tour to Queenstown New Zealand in March where we will stay in the same accommodation for the whole trip. Queenstown is our favourite place in New Zealand with five top golf courses and some panoramic attractions. Next on the list is a ten day tour to Perth in June which is our favourite city in Australia where we will play several new courses next year. Finally a fourteen day tour to Ireland in August where the people are so friendly and love Australians. For the last twenty years we have been saying to people to ?come with us and enjoy the different destinations, golf courses and attractions with like minded people who love golf and having a good time?. You never know what is around the corner, which really hit home with us in July, so we are getting on with life and doing something that we love. People have said to us to forget the tours and go off and do things by yourself. They don?t understand that this is what we enjoy doing. There is a sense of satisfaction in seeing people enjoy themselves on our tours. These people often turn out to become great friends which is something that Kym and I treasure. Let us know if you are interested in one of our 2013 tours.
POULTER SENSATIONAL IN HSBC CHAMPIONSHIP
The HSBC Champions tournament at the Mission Hills complex in China turned out to be one of the best tournaments of the year. Engand?s Ian Poulter who was the hero of the Ryder Cup finally put his best form into a four round tournament finishing 21 under par to win by two shots. Poulter is known as a great putter but he had everything working for him last week. Every day there was a different leader after Brandt Snedeker shot a 60, Lee Westwood a 61 and Nick Watney a 62. Loius Oosthuizen looked the winner early, Westwood led until four holes to go, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson also looked good at different stages. The emotionless Jason Duffner finished up equal second with compatriot Scott Piercy, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.
ROB NICHOLLS JOINS THE SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE
Rob Nicholls was born in Swan Hill and became interested in golf as a junior, progressing sufficiently to win the junior club championship in 1992. Rob then decided that he wanted to make golf his career in life. He moved to Brisbane to work with Royal Queensland Golf Club professional Charlie Earp. After five years at Royal Queensland he moved to the Greg Norman course at Brookwater. In 2005 he decided to go on tour and test himself out against the play for pay boys. In 2006 he was appointed club professional at Sale Golf Club where he was installed as head coach of Gippsland Sports Academy and regional junior head coach. After the floods in Gippsland that saw his pro shop closed for 45 days in a row he decided to move on. After a holiday at his aunties earlier in the year he decided it was time to return to the river if a job became available. Garth Doherty had decided to increase the teaching capacity at the Sunraysia Golf Range and after Rob and his family of three children under five and his wife had visited Mildura and gave it the thumbs up, it was a done deal. Rob has plans to grow junior golf in Sunraysia and assist the Sunraysia Sports Academy with their junior golf program. Increased participation by local juniors will see more talent emerge and that will flow through the ranks. We have had some very good talent pop up in recent years but the numbers have been minimal. With more attention and focus on junior golf this should be a real fillip for the sport and our golf club. Rob Nicholls comes with a AAA rating as a golf teach which is the highest grade possible, he has worked some of the best in golf teachers in the country including Ian Triggs who teaches Karrie Webb and a host of other PGA professionals. Rob is available for lessons at the Sunraysia Golf Range, phone 50 229440.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ROUND OF THE WEEK
Good scores around the district this week with Patrick Gray at Mildura and Heather Thomas at Coomealla coming in six better than handicap. The winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week is Heidi Schultz who had eight better than handicap at Mildura Golf Resort. Heidi wins four laminated placemats featuring some of Sunraysia?s best golf holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave by 9pm on Friday.
Contact me with any golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
30/10/12
GOLF MOVING FORWARD IN SUNRAYSIA IN 2013
Golf in Sunraysia is set to take a giant leap forward in 2013 after a highly productive meeting between the Sunraysia District Golf Association and their North West Women?s Inc equivalent body last week. Whilst everything is still in the formative planning stages, it is clear that both parties wish to amalgamate into one committee that drives Sunraysia golf forward from 2013. Men?s and ladies pennant will be played together making it a big day each Sunday for the respective clubs hosting pennant. All clubs will be encouraged to embrace this new strategy and have input as to what we as a district do together to attract more new golfers and satisfy the competitive and social side of club golf for existing members. The attitude will be ?let?s do it together?. In the past it would be fair to say that there was a real us versus them mentality between the women and men in many clubs. As with many aspects of life and the community that bridge has been forged closer in recent years with a more open mentality of acceptance where many women have become the major bread winners or have taken over roles traditionally held by men. Steven Henshall is the current president of the SDGA after being a fantastic captain of the Mildura Golf Resort for a number of years. Henshall brings a real freshness of ideas and open mindedness to the role, it will be an exciting time for him, his committee and the golf clubs as they combine to really put golf on centre stage in Sunraysia sport. At the recent Victoria Golf Association meeting Sunraysia won the right to stage Victorian Country Teams Championship on October 24 2013. Each country district will send two teams of three to play 36 holes of stableford on the 24th and 18 on the 25th. This is the first time the championship will be played in Mildura. As for the remainder of 2012, summer pennant kicks off at Mildura Golf Resort on November 18 then moves to Riverside, Coomealla then Red Cliffs for the semi finals and Robinvale for the final. The last club championships will be held at Coomealla and Robinvale commencing November 12-13 and 19-20.
RORY VERSUS TIGER IN CHINA
Northern Ireland?s Rory McIlroy the world?s number one ranked player met number two ranked Tiger Woods in a head to head medal matchplay contest in China on Monday. The match was promoted not only as an opportunity to confirm and establish who is currently the better player but also to promote the game of golf in China. China is seen as a huge market for golf which until now hasn?t been explored at all. Jack Nicklaus has stated that before too long five of the top ten ranked players in the world will be Chinese. This will happen once they formalise their info structure and get their junior programs up and running. There are currently a multitude of courses being built in China which has really only seen courses being built since 2000. As to the exhibition match, Rory won with a score of five under par to Tiger?s four under par. The match was played in a friendly spirit with both players walking and talking together with a huge crowd following their every move. Interestingly Woods out drove the Irishman all day which was quite surprising as McIlroy hits it around 300 metres and is usually the longest in his group off the tee most weeks. In winning, basically McIlroy did not make a mistake with 13 pars and five birdies as against Woods six birdies and two bogies. Neither of them putted well but it was the first time they had played the course and the greens were fairly slow. McIlroy had finished second in Shanghai the day before behind Sweden?s Peter Hanson whilst Tiger had finished 4th in Kuala Lumpur behind Nick Watney after shooting 8 under par on Sunday. McIlroy pocketed $2mil for his victory while poor old Tiger had to settle for $1mil for the stroll around the course with a few thousand new friends.
WGC HSBC CHAMPIONS AT MISSION HILLS CHINA
The World Golf Championship HSBC Champions tournament will host 78 of the world?s best golfers this week at the Mission Hills complex in China. Mission Hills has ten golf courses designed by Jack NickLaus, Jumbo Ozaki, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Annika Sorenstam, David Leadbetter, VJ Singh, David Duvall and the longest course 0f 6600 metres by Jose Maria Olazabal which is the course being used this week. All of the top European golfers apart from Rory McIlroy are playing as well as 14 well-credentialed Americans, 10 Australians, 9 South Africans and 7 Englishmen. Last year German Martin Kaymer won with a score of 20 under par. This year Sweden?s Peter Hanson is the hottest man in the field but the South African contingent look good including Louis Oosthuiven, Brandon Grace and George Coetzee. Adam Scott, John Senden and Geoff Ogilvy will head up the Australian charge with the big US challenge coming from Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson all being good chances.
FITTING NIGHT AT SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE
The Sunraysia Golf Range will host a club fitting night for all Sunraysia golfers tomorrow from 3pm till 8pm. Company representative will be in attendance from Callaway, Mizuno, Nike, Adams, and Tour Edge Exotics. The night and appointments is free but you will need to book a time to see one of the representatives on 50 229440. Any person making a purchase on the night will then be entitled to hit a free bucket of balls. This is an excellent opportunity to get fitted properly for golf clubs and find out from the representatives what is the latest in golf equipment that can help you improve your enjoyment of the game of golf. New Sunraysia Golf Range PGA golf professional Rob Nicholls will also be there after arriving in Mildura one month ago. Rob is a AAA rated teaching professional who is highly regarded throughout the PGA. More on Rob in next week?s 19th hole.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Great weather means great scores and they keep coming again this week. At Red Cliffs David Bartlett had seven better than handicap. At Mildura Alan Wishart and John Bothroyd were both eight better which is great golf. Glenn Parker looked our winner with nine better than his mark at Mildura until Michael Cook came in with eleven better at Merbein. Cooky either has 11 up or let?s find the golf ball day. He wins the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week entitling him to four laminated placemats of some of Sunraysia?s best golf holes which were painted by Broken Hill artist Mick Andrich which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm on Friday.
Contact me with your golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.

 
23/10/12
WILMANN WINS SIXTH RIVERSIDE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
Steve Wilmann is the Riverside Golf Club champion for 2012. Wilmann?s sixth title didn?t come easily as he had good competition from Chris Thomas, Dave Woolcock and James Daly. Ultimately though, the best player usually comes out on top in a 72 hole tournament. To average under 74 in four championship rounds of golf is great shooting anywhere. Wilmann has been a real talent for more than a decade but to him it is a game he plays on Saturday, nothing more nothing less. On Sunday he began four shots clear of Thomas and that is how it finished as both players shot 76?s. Dave Woolcock won the handicap section after outplaying the top two boys with a fine 75 and four rounds in the 70?s. James Daly was fourth and looks to be a great pick up for the club if he remains in the area. The next month is going to be possibly the most important month in Riverside?s history. It hasn?t been a happy club this year for a number of reasons that are sure to be thrashed out at the clubs Annual General Meeting on November 20. At the end of the day, any club is about the people in it and the decisions that are made at committee level must be for the betterment of the club and its members. Unfortunately ego?s sometimes get in the way and emotion takes over from common sense. Riverside is a beautiful place to play golf, there is an opportunity for good strong members to stand up and say, ?we love our club and we are determined to restore the happy atmosphere that has always existed here, once again?. That atmosphere and sense of welcome when visitors and locals alike came to the club built Riverside?s reputation. That reputation hasn?t gone too far, yet, but it needs a real boost. How about it members?
SMASHER MCGAFFIN TOO GOOD AT MERBEIN
Merbein Golf Club completed their 2012 club championships on Sunday with the clubs top two players fighting it out for the third year running. Peter ?Smasher McGaffin? won last year after being overtaken in the final round to lose to Phil Matotek in 2010. On Sunday McGaffin commenced proceedings one shot in front but the smart money was on Matotek to strike back after losing last year. McGaffin had other plans which came to fruition and saw him claim a massive seven shot victory. Matotek could never get on the right foot shooting 84, whereas McGaffin was happy to plod along coming in with a respectable 78. Next year the club is seriously considering a draw each day of the championships which is similar to what happens at many of golf clubs around the state.
LAMPARD TOPS AT NELL SMITHETT IN HORSHAM
2012 has been a year to remember for Riverside?s new queen of golf Marg Lampard. In past years Marg hasn?t been able to commit to golf as she would have liked, subsequently her golf stagnated somewhat. This year though, the green light went on and she has played a practiced regularly and the results have followed. Riverside Club Champion, Country Teams representative, Nell Smithett scratch and handicap champion and handicap reduced to eight. The Nell Smithett, played at Horsham is a much coveted tournament in ladies golf with over 100 ladies teeing it up on the tough Horsham lay out. Riverside ladies are always great supporters of the event and took 12 players down to contest the individual and teams section. Stawell were the winners of the teams this year with Riversides Lampard, Lynda Saunders, Coleen James and Tracey Hywood runners up. The Horsham hit out must have cleaned out the pipes for Mrs Lampard as she lined up at Mildura on Saturday for a 74 off the stick for her best score of the year. Good story this, about one of the districts nicest golfers.
VAN PELT WINS IN PERTH
Next June we are taking our fourth golf tour to Perth and were weighing up which courses to play. Having not played Lake Karrinup we listed it as a possibility. After watching the inaugural ISPS HANDA Perth International for four days last week Lake Karrinup is definitely on the list along with, The Cut, Port Kennedy, Joondalup and Araluen. The Perth Internation was a terrific golf tournament played in our favourite city in Australia. After three golf tours to WA we feel well equipped to host tours there as it really just feels like a bigger version of Mildura. American professional Beau Van Pelt played superb golf to keep his good mate Jason Duffner at bay by two shots. The tournament was co hosted as part of the European tour schedule and is sure to be supported by many more top players next year after the ravings about the course by this year?s competitors. This week the Race to Dubai lands Singapore with all the big name European players battling it out in the rich $7mil BMW championship.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
It was difficult to separate the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week aspirants as no less than nine players came in six better than handicap. In the end it was decided to go to Riverside?s Travis Biddle who has been runner up on three previous occasions with someone just pipping him each time. Travis wins four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia?s best golf holes which must nbe collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday.
Contact me with your golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.
 
16/10/12
WILMANN IN FRONT AT RIVERSIDE
2011 Riverside Golf club champion Steve Wilmann holds a two stroke advantage over 2010 champion Chris Thomas after two rounds of the 2012 Riverside Club championship. Wilmann played great golf on Saturday but let it slip only marginally on Sunday to give his nearest challengers a sniff. Thomas was nine shots behind after the first round last year when Wilmann slipped a 67 into the box to open proceedings. This year only seven strokes separate first to fifth with a couple of new boys putting their hands up including Irishman James Daly who has recently joined the club. Daly has been in Sunraysia before but hadn?t played much golf here. He has now committed to the club and is a great four handicap pick up for pennant and club competitions. He is in third place after rounds of 71-80. 2009 club champion Joe ?computer? Violi is next after rounds of 75-77 followed by Dave Woolcook who returned 77-76. The club was happy with the fields at the weekend and are delighted with the way the golf course is coming along under new greenkeeper Richard Moore. Moore arrived from Bermagui five weeks ago and has lifted the condition of the course already. Originally from the Southern Highlands of New South Wales where he did his traineeship at Mossvale Golf Club beginning in 1988, he comes with a wealth of experience and is a real bonus for the picturesque river course. Rounds three and four of the championship will be completed this weekend.
GOLDEN MEMORIES AT MILDURA CENTENARY
The Mildura Golf Resort celebrated everything that is so special about a golf club and its happenings over 100 years at the weekend. How good it must have been for people such as Noel Pugsley and many of his mates who have been at the club for over 50 years. I was member there for seven years in the 90?s and was able to experience the culture of the club. I particularly enjoyed the observance by the committee of many of the traditions of the club such as the captain wearing a suit for trophy presentations. Unimportant to some but a reminder of the past and the position that the captain held in the club as a leader. There were other attention to detail matters that also stood out that didn?t occur at other local golf clubs that were impressive to someone who had was a member at four other golf clubs during this period. Club legend Greg Rhodes was a guest speaker at the major function on Saturday night and recalled his first job as a ?tray boy? picking up glasses in the bar and ferrying breakfast trays back and forwards to motel guests. Greg spoke of how he learnt to play golf through the expertise of Ken Harrison who was responsible for a golden era of local juniors under his tuition in the late 60?s, 70?s and beyond. He went on to explain how he had grown up on the Mildura golf course and later on how his family had spent many pleasurable times there together. In most clubs there is an underlying theme of family and how the club becomes an intrinsic part of the family and their lives. Whilst also running the on course pro shop at Riverside Greg and I ran the on course pro shop for two years in the mid 90?s and feel that we extended a professional, yet, friendly welcoming window to the golf club, its facilities and values to both members and visitors alike. There were lots of familiar faces back for the reunion including the most popular Bruce Milgate who was such a trail blazer in many ways for Sunraysia golf. Bruce was responsible for organising the first pro am circuit here in the 80?s. Golf professionals such as Craig Parry, V J Singh, Wayne Riley and a host of others came and played on our courses. Of course they were just beginning their golfing journeys but they will always feature in our golfing annals along with Guy Wolstenhome, Peter Thomson and a handful of other well known champions of their day. It is said that you can learn more about a man on a golf course than off, I?m not sure if John Daly would agree with that but spend a day at Mildura Golf Club Resort with someone such as Noel Pugsley and you will learn more about life and golf than you thought possible. Congratulations to the club for the facilities, history, attraction and the memories.
GOLF, GOLF THEN MORE GOLF
Last week there were no less than seven major golf events on Fox Sports, which, as you might guess, held my attention for much of the weekend. Two tournaments that stood out were the inaugural Turkish World championship where the top eight ranked players were invited to play medal/matchplay to determine the world champion. Medal matchplay is where you play a stroke event against your opponent. In straight matchplay like they play in the Ryder Cup, you can pick up your ball if your opponent has had less shots on a hole. A three round robin saw two groups of four players with each in the group playing each other. The winner of group one then played the runner up in group two with the two winners then going into the final. England?s Justin Rose won the title from compatriot Lee Westwood after Tiger Woods and Charles Schwartzel were beaten in the semi?s. The tournament was proclaimed to be the birth of big time golf in Turkey where the winner picked up US$1.5 and the runner up US$1mil.
The other event that was great viewing was the Sime Darby Championship at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club for the LPGA in Malaysia where the world?s top 60 ladies teed it up. Last year Korea?s Na-yeon Choi won but had to settle for second this year to her fellow country woman Inbee Park who played simply breathtaking golf. In the third round she recorded six birdies on the tot to skip away to a handy lead. The Korean girls are great to watch. Impeccable course management skills and perfect golf manners. Australia?s best ever ladies golfer returned her best result for year coming in third after playing like the Karrie of old. She is ready to win but the season is almost over. Lindsay Wright also flew the Aussie flag coming in equal sixth. The other tournaments were the US Frys Open, Portugual Masters, US Seniors championship, Asian Tour Championship and the Webb.com secondary US tour event.
PHELPS KEEP BREAKING RECORDS
US swimming sensation took up golf several months ago and has been on top of the invitee lists for all of the major pro ams conducted on the Wednesday before the big golf tournaments around the world. Playing in Scotland in the Dunhill Links championship with England?s Paul Casey as his partner, Phelps knocked in a 53 yard putt that had about 12 breaks in it at Kingsbarns Golf Club that has unofficially been declared the longest putt holed on record in any major event. Phelps then had the temerity to ask his playing partners whether ?there is something harder to play than this easy game of golf??. No doubt beginners luck was a factor but it is interesting how champions in one sport can quickly perform improbable things in other sports that they devote their time to.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the week was blown out of the water this week by Red Cliffs golfer Robert Stewart. ?Stewie? rode into the club on his horse on Sunday and blitzed the field with a staggering plus 10. Anytime you better your handicap by ten shots there has to be questions asked. Was someone from Lance Armstrongs team nearby? Was he pretending to be someone else such as Greg Rhodes or Ned Kelly? Does he think anything like this will ever happen again? Only Robbie knows the answers but he is our winner this week and can collect his prize of four laminated placemats of Sunraysia?s best golf holes from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday.
Contact me with your golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
9/10/12
SUNRAYSIA COUNTRY WEEK SETBACK
Sunraysia have been relegated back to division two after winning only one match from five at the 2012 Melbourne Country Week tournament. Ryan Laird got off to a great start finishing second in the Victorian Country Championship after 36 holes on days one and two. This is the best finish by a local in this championship for a long time, if not ever. The matchplay contests between the country golf associations began at Victoria Golf Club on day three (Wednesday) and our boys were really confident of doing well this year. It was decided to try and win from the bottom of the order so Brad Steer and Andrew Stewart played at one and two. This back fired as we lost both morning and afternoon matches with the morning match against South East going right down to the wire. This match could have gone either way. Ballarat in the afternoon were too accomplished on the day. On Thursday the decision was virtually to go back to plan B and play straight down the order giving all players more of a chance to play someone of relatively equal ability. A 5/4 result gave us hope of staying in division one if we could win in the afternoon against the strong Goulbourn Valley. This did not eventuate. On Friday the team met Peninsula Golf Association at virtually one of their home courses at Long Island Country Club. Ashley Whitehouse played scintillating golf to birdie four of the last seven holes to beat the reigning Long Island club champion one up on his home course. Greg Rhodes lost his only match of the week after hitting the ball the best he had done all week. His opponent had eight putts less to beat him one down. Therein lay the problem with a lot of our players who reported difficulty in adjusting to the fast and undulating greens. Golf is a game of centimetres and if a few putts had of dropped here and there and we could have won three matches. Greg Rhodes was once again our top performer with good support from Ashley Whitehouse, Ryan Laird and Sean Baumgurtel but they needed more help at the other end of the order. Next year the team drops back to seven players which will take the pressure off a little bit at the bottom of the order. Out of the week the positives were, great morale within the team, excellent support staff in Alan Scorer and Neville Walker and best dressed team sponsored by the House of Golf Mildura. The fantastic condition of the golf courses used at Victoria, Keysborough and Long Island was also well noted by all teams. Our boys will need to work harder and go in with the right plan from the get go if we are to get back in division one.
DAVID KING WINS SOUTH AUSTRALIAN LEFT HANDED CHAMPIONSHIP
Coomealla golfer David King is the South Australian left handed champion after rounds of 79-81 gave him a two shot win at Victor Harbor Golf Club recently. In windy rainy conditions David, who plays off nine at Coomealla was able to hold it together against strong opposition on the second day to win the title for the first time. Next Monday he will tee it up in the National Left Hander Championships in Toowoomba Queensland against 300 other hopefuls from all over Australia. Yesterday he said ? I am really looking forward to the championship. I haven?t played Toowoomba before but I feel confident of giving a good account in the handicap section as I have been playing really well lately.? King has only been in Sunraysia for two years after being a member at the Grange Golf Club in Adelaide for 18 years. He is hope full a Sunraysia left handed championship can be added to the SDGA program of events next year. All up around district golf clubs there would be approximately 100-120 left handers who play regular competition golf.
MILDURA GOLF RESORT CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
Everyone is very excited at Mildura Golf Resort in anticipation of this weekend?s centenary celebrations. Past members, committee members, staff and whole range of folk are expected back for the clubs biggest ever reunion including Bruce Milgate who was club professional for fourteen years. The Trilogy nine hole twilight medley stableford kicks off proceedings on Friday to be followed by a Cocktail Party in the clubhouse where there will be lots of good cheer and welcome backs being heard. On Saturday a 4BBB medley stableford will be contested between old friends and new followed by the Centenary Dinner with guest speakers Dr John Tickell, Greg Rhodes and Noel Pugsley. This promises to be a great night and one that all Mildura members will enjoy. On Sunday a single stableford will round out the golf progam with a carvery dinner will closing proceedings in a grand fashion. Bookings should be made today for any dinners or golf as spots are limited on 50 231147.
MIRACLE AT MEDINAH IN RYDER CUP
Anyone who thinks golf is a boring game of golf to watch should grab a copy of the recently completed 2012 Ryder Cup between the United States and Europe. What you will see is virtually a highlights reel of the very best of what?s in golf. In a world where Tiger Woods is a golf billionaire and VJ Singh has won $67mil US in winnings, twenty four players tee it up for nothing to represent their countries every two years. This year has to be the very best ever. With twelve head to head matchplay contests on the last day, the US needed only to win 4.5 whilst Europe had to win eight games to retain the cup. Europe win the first five matches, so it is game on. After winning a further 3.5 matches the Cup travelled back to Scotland full of good cheer and anything else they could pour into it. Ian Poulter the man for Europe birdying his last five holes on Saturday to gain Europe a match saving point. On Sunday he won again to finish the tournament undefeated in any match. Tiger Woods on the other hand, earned a half a point for one drawn fourball match. This really was golf at it?s very, very best.
LOTS MORE US, EUROPEAN & AUSTRALIAN PGA TOUR GOLF TO COME
Don?t think for a minute that the golf season is over. On the US Tour the scramble for the top 125 on the money list is on good and proper with all of the pro battlers going hell for leather in the last four events for the year. In Europe, the Race to Dubai has got everyone?s attention as it is at least as big as the FEDEX Cup in the States. Last year England?s Luke Donald made history when he became the first player to win both money lists. Lo and behold Rory NcIlroy is poised to do the same thing this year depending on how he finishes in the last few European events. Back home in Australia we have some big events at Lake Karrinyup later this month, Kingston Heath for the Australian Masters next month, finishing off with the Australian Open and then the PGA in December at Coolum. Top overseas players visiting our shores for these events include Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Jason Duffner, Tom Watson, Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy.
MOONAH LINKS ? GOLFING HOLIDAY DESTINATION
We have been hosting couples and groups at Moonah Links Golf Resort this year with some excellent play and stay packages. With more than 16 golf courses within ten minutes of the resort it is a golfing wonderland. Other options including fishing, winery tours and endota spa and beauty treatments for the ladies that can also be included in these visits. Portsea and Sorrento are only minutes away and provide lots of dining and shopping options that also fit well for a balanced golfing holiday. Give me a call on 50 246799 if you are interested in visiting a truly special sea side escape for couples or groups, you?ll love the Mornington Peninsula.
GOLF FACT
If you were wondering why the South Korean?s have dominated world golf on the ladies tours in recent years, then this should answer the question. In South Korea there are more than 1500 females on a scratch handicap or better! The programs and disciplines that they employ in that part of the world really show their determination to be the number one golfing nation in years to come. The men are nowhere near as dominant but that may be the next avalanche.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Great scores everywhere this week with Jai Hudson, Chris Ashworth, Rob Garioch, Ron Dewar, Sean Turnbull and Jeff McKeon all seven better than handicap. At Wentworth Darren Bottomley equalled Jon Slatter at Riverside when both finished eight better than their handicaps. Both men share the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week and may collect their prize of four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia?s best golf holes from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday night.
Contact me with any golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
26/9/12
RHODES JUST TOO GOOD AT COOMEALLA
Greg Rhodes continues to dominate local golf after an eight shot victory in the 2012 Coomealla Open at the weekend. On Saturday he opened with a 74 to lead by three strokes from Andrew Stewart and four from Cameron Stewart and Robert Veit. Both Ashley Whitehouse and Tim Peterson were unavailable to play due to work commitments. On Sunday Rhodes returned another 74 winning from Cameron Stewart 78-78, Andrew Stewart 77-79 and Ryan Laird 79-79. Next week the Golf Victoria magazine will feature an excellent story on Greg Rhodes and touch on his record of over 200 wins in local golf tournaments. What an amazing record, best thing is though, he hasn?t changed one iota since his first win. That in every sense. Such a nice man whose competiveness and will to win is still as great now as then. He told me recently that to be very good at golf one has to be quite selfish, nothing could be further from the truth for this man, except for maybe coming down to the wire in a man on man head to head battle. It is then that everyone else starts feeling sorry for the other bloke. The Coomealla golf course was at its very best on at the weekend with the greens as good as I have ever seen them. I thought the scores would have been a little better at the top end but Coomealla intimidates even the very best players. Golfers from 40 different golf clubs competed but not many from local clubs and even Coomealla members were down in numbers. Maybe the tournament was too late for many who have signed off for the year or are happy just for their usual 18 holes. Some suggestion has been made that B and C grades be stableford in our opens which may attract more players in those grades.
SUNRAYSIA ALL FIRED UP FOR COUNTRY WEEK
Sunraysia will head to Melbourne at the weekend all fired up for a big assault on division one Country Week. Greg Rhodes is back in the team this year after a couple of years off and his presence will be a great boost for the team. Ashley Whitehouse and Cameron Stewart give us a really classy top three whilst Tim Peterson, Ryan Laird and Andrew Stewart capably fill the next level. Brad Steer and Sean Baumgurtel are both capable of producing in matchplay golf, both are well experienced at this level. Captain Justin McPhee is the main concern, form wise, after recent performances. Rounds of 86-82 at Coomealla at the weekend is very un McPhee like. Justin has been one of our most consistent and best golfers in the last fifteen years and clearly our best ever Country Week captain. I am sure he will be working hard to overcome his swing problems as we really need him up and firing if we are to win division one for the first time ever.
SNEDEKER WINS $11.44 MIL IN FEDEX CUP
Brandt Snedeker is the 2012 Players Champion and FEDEX Cup winner after a superlative display of golf and putting at East Lake Golf Club Georgia at the weekend. Snedeker was a surprise winner as Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and to a lesser extent Phil Mickelson were favoured over him. Snedeker won $1.44 Mil for the tournament victory and a further $10mil for his FEDEX Cup win which is a type of superannuation fund. Rory McILroy finished second in the FEDEX Cup and receives a $3mil bonus, down to Aussie John Senden who finish 30th and wins $175,00 for finishing last in the 30 man field. The FEDEX Cup is now run and won but big time golf attention will move to the European Tour after this week?s Ryder Cup when the Race To Dubai will take the worlds golf focus.
RYDER CUP ? THE GREATEST GOLF ON EARTH
For most people the AFL grand final will be the main sporting event this weekend but for me it will be the Ryder Cup in Chicago at Medinah Golf Club. The Ryder Cup first began in the 1920?s between Great Britain and Ireland and the United States of America. During the first fifty years of play between the two teams the US dominated winning 21 of 24 contests, usually quite easily. In 1979 the European Team included players from all over Europe which quickly recovered a bit of the balance between the two sides. Since 1979 Europe has won nine of sixteen contests and are the current title holders. In 2010 Europe won by one solitary match 14.5 ? 13.5 in the best exhibition of golf imaginable in Wales at Celtic Manor golf Club. Team captain Colin Montgomerie who has won everything possible in golf other than a major said afterward that ?This is the highlight of my golfing career?, such was his joy. The competition goes over three days with the first two devoted to 4Ball Best Ball games then a two man ambrose competition where the players hit alternate shots with the same ball. On the last day the 12 players play head to head stroke matchplay to decide the winner of the Ryder Cup. With the enormous money that the players line up for every week, for this event they play for free. The passion that both teams and supporters show is akin to a football match and with 40,000 spectators urging their favourites on, the volume is loud. The US have the home ground advantage and the thirteenth man (crowd) on their side and are favoured to win. Europe will be favourite at my house, go Rory and the boys!
FROM 100 TO 100 IN THIRTY YEARS
Putting things into perspective has become somewhat easier in recent months, this was never more the case than my efforts at golf last week. I joined Coomealla Golf Club in 1979 but really didn?t start playing regularly to 1982 after two knee reconstruction in my last two years of football. My first handicap was 18 but I couldn?t break 100 at Coomealla for the first six months, then only occasionally. I worked hard to get my handicap down to single figures by February 1983 eventually getting it to three in the early 90?s. The highlights were winning a pennant final with both Coomealla and Riverside and the club championship at both clubs as well as seven runners ups at Coomealla (5), Riverside and Mildura. After having nine weeks off from golf after being diagnosed with cancer I began playing again three weeks ago after a couple of practice hits. I now play every second week and have chemotherapy the other week. Last week I played 100 holes in nine days including four rounds of 18 hole competition. Playing off a seven handicap I recorded 95, 100, 95 and 100 and was last in A grade every time. Apart from the actual scores I have loved every minute of those rounds. I now have a target of breaking 90, just like I did all those years ago. You know, reaching your targets are satisfying but when you look back, it is the journey to those targets that you reflect on and savour the most. The worst part is I have had to cancel all bets which has always been a significant part of games with my golfing mates. They are disappointed too, at the lack of my revenue to assist them in bar takings for our club. I will keep you posted on hopefully further progress in the weeks to come. It is said that golf is a game of mistakes and disappointments and my good friend David Gardiner and I put our golf balls in really hard to get at places on the weekend. Dave popped one up a tree on the 14th on Saturday and I slid one between some bark and a tree on the 9th on Saturday!
CAPTAINS GESTURE
On Saturday Coomealla Golf Club captain Alan Scorer offered to play with twelve year old Nicholas Rogerson who has been allocated a 36 handicap in the Coomealla Open. Playing as a two at the end of the morning field Nicholas had 203 strokes. Quite obviously he is not ready for play in such events at this stage of his career, however I thought it was a wonderful gesture by the captain to help him along the way. I doubt if there would be many other club captains who would have done the same. Alan who plays off seven himself sacrificed his own game but will be watching Nicholas?s progress from here on in. The SDGA ran a junior competition under junior officer Tim Peterson on Saturday. Twenty one juniors played, which was encouraging. With people such as Tim, Michael McKenzie and Garth Doherty really getting behind junior golf the future looks bright.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Scores were down slightly last week with only a few players worthy of mention. Col McDonald at Red Cliffs and Rod Truman at Mildura both bettered their handicaps by six shots to be three behind this week?s winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours ? Round of the Week. Marg Stanbrook recorded a 63 net at Red Cliffs to be our outstanding performer. Marg has had a good year at the Cliffs improving her handicap on a regular basis. Marg wins four laminated placemats featuring some of the districts best golf holes, which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday night.
Contact me with your golfing news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.


 
19/9/12
COOMEALLA OPEN ? RHODES OR WHITEHOUSE?
The last 36 hole golf open tournament of the year will be played at Coomealla this weekend. It promises to provide the best golf of the year with all of the district?s top twelve players entered. There are at least six players who could be the champion player by Sunday night. The Coomealla course is the best it has been all year with the greens ready for lots of birdies. Greg Rhodes is always the man to beat but his form in the district championship there last month was well below his best when Cameron Stewart broke through for a popular win. My guess is that Ashley Whitehouse is champing at the bit for a turn on the podium. Whitehouse has been knocking on the door in the last few tournaments and his closing 68 in the Mildura Golf Resort club championships was outstanding. Tim Peterson is another player that should not be overlooked. Working on the golf course has given him more time to practise and learn more about the course that the casual observer might miss. Justin McPhee has had a light year success wise but is a winner at Coomealla in the past and will be determined to put in a strong performance in the last event before Melbourne Country Week. Cameron Stewart plays Coomealla as well as anyone and is sure to be in the finish come Sunday. My smokey this week is Wentworth Club champion Matt Lynch who has the ability to be right up there on Sunday if he can put it all together. So far the Opens have been won by Tim Walker Riverside, Justin McPhee Mildura, Greg Rhodes Merbein, Ashley Whitehouse Red Cliffs, Ashley Whitehouse Robinvale Cameron Stewart SDGA Championship. It is not just the top liners that will provide the interest as B and C grade players will also want to show that they can excel on the district?s top course. Phone 50 274658 to secure your place in the field, at $25 for two rounds of golf it is highway robbery. I hope to see you there this weekend.
COOMEALLA SENIORS OPEN ? GREAT EXPOSURE FOR SUNRAYSIA GOLF
Coomealla Golf Club staged another top class tournament last week for their 6th annual Coomealla Seniors Championship. Players representing forty different golf clubs represented their clubs in a great show of support for the event. Seniors golf is a terrific concept but not to be confused with veterans golf. Both have a starting point of 55 years of age but the Seniors events are strictly scratch and handicaps in grades against the more social and varied vets program that reflects most clubs normal program of events but only for over 55?s. Coomealla have shown the way, perhaps, Mildura, Riverside and Red Cliffs should look at running a Seniors tournament for local golfers, perhaps not to the extreme of Coomealla but an 18 hole Seniors tournament. I think those clubs would be surprised at the reaction from district Seniors. I for one would be happy to assist with sponsors and co-ordination if there is a need for such assistance. How about it Mildura, Riverside and Red Cliffs?
FEDEX CUP GRAND FINALE ? MCILROY OR WOODS?
Over the last couple of months I have been watching lots and lots of golf, nothing different there, but the quality of the golf has been quite exhilarating. This week the finale of the FEDEX Cup in the US will be played at Eastlake Golf Club in Boston between the top 30 FED EX Cup qualifiers which has been reduced down from 125 over the preceding playoffs tournaments. Whilst it is a normal US PGA Tour tournament in one respect where the winner will receive his 1 $mil US +, if the winner comes from one of the top five leaders in the FEDEX Cup he will receive a bonus !0 $mil US over a period of time. Those five players are Rory McILroy, Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker. McIlroy has won three of his last four events so it is unlikely that he win will win again. Woods looks to have timed his run to a tee, as does Mickelson but with all of the top guns there any one of the top 30 could win on Sunday. Two Australians finished in the top 30 including Adam Scott at 21 and John Senden at 29. The following weekend is the golf tournament that is the best, hands down. The Ryder Cup Europe versus the US at Medinah Golf club in Chicago, head to head matchplay. What a month in golf!
SHIN SUPERB IN LADIES BRITISH OPEN
The men get most of the accolades in golf, have done since the year dot, but that may be changing some time soon. Ladies golf around the world is soaring to great heights. Last week the ladies British Open was played at Royal Liverpool under some of the most atrocious conditions possible. On Friday the second round had to be postponed to Saturday when Korea?s Jiyai Shin produced the round of her life with a 64. Shin had come from five shots back to get into a playoff with American Paula Creamer the week before to finally overcome Creamer at the seventh playoff hole. This week she won by 10 shots at nine under par from fellow Korean Inbee Park and Creamer third. The skill that these women show is not that far behind their male counterparts with the bonus being that they are very graceful and lovely to watch. Karrie Webb was fifth after dropping a hand full of shots in the closing holes to drop from second place. Leading amateur was 15 year old Lydia Ko from New Zealand. Ko recently won the LPGA?s Canadian Open in an amazing performance. This kid can really play and is destined to be the Tiger Woods of the ladies circuit in the next few years.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Great scores around the district complimented our weather and course conditions. Five players were came in six shots better than handicap including Wentworth?s Lee Bottomley, Gary Sharman and Glenn Martin at Riverside and Michael Timms and Geoff Smith at Red Cliffs. It was at Mildura Golf Resort where the top two performances came in a huge week for the club celebrating its 100th anniversary. Gavan Tellefson and Peter Bell both recorded nine better than handicap off their marks of 13 and 12. Great golf chaps, too close to separate. Both players receive four laminated placemats featuring some of Sunraysia?s finest golf holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday at 9pm.
Contact me with any golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
12/9/12
ROSS PERCY DOMINATES AT COOMEALLA SENIORS CHAMPIONSHIP
Former Coomealla Golf Club champion Ross Percy is six strokes clear of Commonwealth?s Alan Bullas, goonawarra's Pat Giles,Mount Gambier's John Beaumont and Riverside's Robert Veit after two rounds of the 2012 Coomealla Seniors Championship. Percy who these days plays out of Cobram Barooga, opened the tournament on Monday with 73 to lead by two shots from Goonawara?s Pat Giles. Chirnside Park?s Ray Walker, John Beaumont from Mount Gambier and Alan Bullas who shares his golf between Commonwealth and Portsea were all one shot further back. Percy loves the Coomealla lay out and was delighted with its condition this year. ? The greens are a little bit more conducive to good scoring this year, not quite as lightning fast as I have seen them before. In the Senior championships around the State we get to play on all of the very best courses but there are very few that offer a sterner test in golfing skill than Coomy?. he said. Yesterday with a few tougher pins 75 was the best of the day with Alan Bullas and Riverside?s Robert Veit next best on 77. Bullas will be punching hard right from the start. Few golfers in the field can match his record. Top three at either Commonwealth or Portsea in the last 20 club championships at those courses. Another record is qualifying for the Ivo Whitton tournament at Portsea for all 29 years of its existence against the cr?me of metropolitan Melbourne top golfers. Percy though is a natural. As a younger man he represented Victoria in baseball and has also been a top A grade tennis player. The last thirty years has seen him go from one level to another in golf to becoming the number one Victorian Senior golfer six years ago. He has represented Australia in Seniors golf twice and looks certain to once again take out the Doug Bacchli award for the State?s top Senior. Play concludes at Coomealla today with a closing presentation dinner at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club tonight for the visiting players from over 40 clubs and their wives.
MATT LYNCH ? WENTWORTHS QUIET CHAMPION
Former Robinvale boy Matt Lynch won his sixth club championship at Wentworth on Saturday in his quiet effective manner. The 32 year old first came into prominence when he knocked Greg Rhodes out in the first round of the Shell Sunraysia Matchplay Championship at Riverside in 1997 as a 17 year old. Big things were predicted of him after that and though he played some steady golf he never really approached that level of play for some time. After three years he stopped played regularly taking a seven year break. After moving to Mildura seven years ago from Robinvale he formed some friendships with some Wentworth members and began playing there on a semi regular basis. Six club championships make good reading on his resume but it is the scores he has had in those wins that tell more of the story of Matt Lynch the golfer. This year on a course, that in all fairness, is well below it best condition, he shot 71-71-77-73-292. Earlier this year after a chat with Country Week manager Alan Scorer, he decided to play in some of the Opens and have a crack at getting back to Country Week. This was soon curtailed when he picked up a short term position that required him to work weekends ending his campaign early. Next year he is looking very seriously at having a real go at Country week, playing division one pennant and catching up on a career that I am sure is set to blossom. Matt Lynch will quite possibly be the last club champion at Wentworth and also the course record holder (65) if the club decides go down a different path. As one of the really nice guys in district golf I am sure that everyone in Sunraysia golf will be wishing him well in 2013.
MATT BOTTOMLEY ? WENTWORTH JUNIOR?S UP AND COMING JUNIOR
Wentworth junior Matt Bottomley played at Kooringal on Monday for the 3rd year in a row in the Primary Schools State Golf Championships. Matt has previously won the qualifying round at Mildura twice and runner up last year. This year he won with a 41 for 9 holes on the shortened course. Matt has only just started taking golf reasonably serious and his handicap which started at 36 at Wentworth last year is now down to 21. His best score off the stick is an 88, he is 12 years old.
The final on Monday at Kooringal was played over 18 holes on a shortened course with around 120 boys and girls competing from all over the State. Matt shot a respectable 89 in tough conditions, not bad for a little boy in the big city, all the way from Wentworth. There is no doubt he will shine in the years to come.
RORY MCILROY ? WORLD NUMBER ONE ? SUPERSTAR
With only one round to go in the play off for the FEDEX Cup in America, Northern Ireland?s Rory McIlroy has shot clear after another superb win at the weekend in the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel Indiana. McIlroy is playing superbly in the playoffs against the world?s best golfers including Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson. It really is much harder for a foreign player to do really well regularly on the tough PGA Tour as the Yanks really pull hard for their home grown players but McIlroy seems to have attracted a groundswell of support everywhere he goes. On Sunday he won by two shots at 20 under par from Westwood and Mickelson. The last round of the playoff for $10 mil US will be conducted at former legendary amateur champion Bobby Jones home club, East Lake in Georgia on September 20. The top five contenders vying for the $10 mil bonus are McIlroy, Woods, Nick Watney, Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker. Crooked Stick, you may recall was where John Daly won the 1991 PGA Championship kicking off one of the most amazing stories of golf that is still continuing all over the world. Famous course designer Pete Dye first saw Crooked stick as a corn field but soon turned it into one of the best golf courses in the world. Since then he has designed many fantastic courses but Crooked Stick was the one to really launch his career.
COOMEALLA 0PEN ? CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS
Coomealla Golf Club are hoping that as many district golfers can play in their Open tournament on September 22-23. Club captain Alan Scorer is encouraging as many club champions to play in the tournament as a first up ?unofficial? champion of champions for our district. It will be the last hit out for the Country Week team who will all be keen to hone their skills in readiness for a super tough week in Melbourne. Apart from the big boys it will also be a great opportunity for anyone else who has excelled at their club this year in other grades to see how they measure up against their peers. The cost of $25 is so cheap for a two day Open so give the club a call on 50 274658 and have a go in the last open of the year.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Spring in all its glory in Sunraysia. Local golf courses are just waiting for you in perfect condition. Lots of good scores from a variety of golfers this week including Chris Ashworth and Paul White at Mildura and Greg Cooke and David Guild at Coomealla who all had 41 points. One of the standout rounds of the year came from Coomealla?s Ilker Deli who broke 100 of the stick for the first time in recording 49 points at Coomealla. Ilker was absolutely stoked, so he should have been and has declared that his golf is going to be a real focus over the summer. As winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours round of the week Ilker wins four laminated placemats featuring the beautiful golf holes at a selection of local clubs which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm Friday. These placemats are also available for sale at $10 each or $49 for a set of six.
Contact me with any golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.

 
5/9/12
MR RHODES ? TAKE ANOTHER BOW
Greg Rhodes won the Mildura Golf Resort championship for the 18th time on Saturday. Rhodes began the last round four shots clear of Ashley Whitehouse who was coming hard after a championship low round of 68 in the third round. Rhodes knew it would be on from the first tee but he was prepared and up for the contest. After four holes he was three under the card and to the interested onlookers, looking home and hosed. Whitehouse wasn?t idle while this was going on and dug deep. By days end Whitehouse had clawed his way back to within two shots after draining a thirty foot birdie on the 210 metre par three 18th. Rhodes had come in one under par with a 71 against Whitehouse?s 69. Cameron Stewart wasn?t making up the numbers as he chipped in with a 71 as well. Club junior champion Tom Holmes wasn?t disgraced with a 79 in this company but he must have had the best seat in the house watching the three big boys comes in five under par. It says a lot about Greg Rhodes to keep on doing it year after year against such strong opposition. It says a lot about Ashley Whitehouse who outscored the champ by three strokes in the last 36 holes. It also says a lot about Cameron Stewart, who in another era would probably have won four or five club championships by now. Final scores were Rhodes 74-69-70-71-284 ? Whitehouse 74-75-68-69-286. The Mildura golf course must get a big tick, attributable to the excellent green staff and their helpers.
BRAD STEER NEW RED CLIFFS CHAMPION
Brad Steer is the 2012 Red Cliffs Golf Club champion after a gutsy performance in the last round of the championship at Red Cliffs on Saturday. Steer or ?Hensby? as he is known, began the day two shots adrift of six time club champion Justin McPhee. After nine holes the scores were all even and it virtually became matchplay coming home. McPhee by his own admission didn?t play well on the day but lauded his first year club mate for his perseverance and tenacity under pressure to shoot a one over par 37 and win by two shots. Reports from district golfers are raving about the condition of the Red Cliffs golf course which is looking an absolute treat and credit to the greenkeeper and his helpers. This was just the fillip that Steer needed to get into sync for the Coomealla Open in a fortnight?s time where virtually all the club champions will be teeing it up for an unofficial ?Champion of Champions?. Following on from that is Golf week at the end of the month where we will launch quite possibly our best ever chance of success in division one. Well done Hensby, keep up the good golf.
NORTH WEST LADIES BATTLED HARD AT COUNTRY TEAMS
Our North West ladies didn?t enjoy the success they had hoped for at Country Teams in Division Two recently but it winning isn?t everything. Sure it is what the ultimate goal is but realistically our girls are weekend golfers going up against, in many cases semi full time amateurs. As with many of the Country Week men competitors, these ?country golfers? play metropolitan golf and many of the National, State and major regional tournaments that are simply out of reach for the vast majority of our players. The NWWG girls reported a terrific week together where everyone really gelled well and enjoyed the experience as a group. Much of this is attributable to Sue Walmsley who has really installed a feeling of ?we? and not I. Well done Sue. Best performers included Nycole Riordan who really plays to her strengths in Melbourne, Sue Laird who works very hard on all aspects of her game and Michelle Bowditch who travels over from Renmark and has provided that youthful edge in the team. Next year back to div 3 and the chance to start climbing the ladder once again, all be it with a very happy group of ladies.
6TH ANNUAL COOMEALLA SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
The cream of Victoria?s senior golfers have answered the call to challenge the mighty Coomealla Golf course next week in the 6th Annual Coomealla Seniors Championship. Past winners Ross Percy Cobram Barooga, Michael Jackson Yarra Yarra, Michael Bullas Commonwealth and Goonawarra?s Pat Giles will all tee it up with other potential winners including Mt Gambier?s John Beaumont and Guy Krall from Yarra Yarra. Our top four seniors Robert Veit, John Keogh, Maurice Warn and Steve Bibby would all be good chances if they play with the old smokey being Coomealla club captain Alan Scorer who played his best golf for some time in the SDGA championship at Coomealla recently. Play commences at 11-30 on Monday in 3?s of two tees with entries open to all district golfers over 55 with a handicap. Ladies are also playing again this year giving the event a really good feel as many of the visiting ladies don?t get to play in most of the other senior events throughout the year. If you are interested in meeting people from other places who have your common interest in golf and socializing with other golfers, why not ring the club and enter on 50 274658? The tournament is not just about the heavy hitters, it is about enjoying yourself and having fun.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS IRELAND GOLF TOUR THIS FRIDAY
Our third golf tour to Ireland heads of on Friday with a lovely group of people all from local golf clubs including, Coomealla, Mildura, Riverside and Wentworth. The tour begins in Northern Ireland where the course rated number one in the world for many years ? Royal County Down will give everyone a hardy introduction to Ireland golf at its finest, links golf under the Mountains of Mourne. A lot of the scenery around Country Down was featured in the dramatic 1970?s movie Ryan?s Daughter which is quite breathtaking. After Royal Country Down the group move a few miles to Ardglass Golf Club which has a reputation of being one of Ireland?s best kept golfing secrets. Back down to Dublin and through the centre of Ireland to golfing and accommodation delights at Adare Manor, Old Head, Druids Glen, Waterville and Mt Juliet. The tour is planned almost to the minute with our same coach driver (Rory McIlroy to a tee) as last year and two couples who were with us in 2011. Actually, within the group there are six new faces but 27 tours have been completed with us by the rest of the group to places such as Ireland/Scotland, NZ, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania so they know our format very well.. Unfortunately Kym and I will miss hosting our 22nd golf tour in 20 years but with tours planned to Tasmania, New Zealand, Perth and Ireland next year and our 21st Tri-State Masters on May 19th, 2013 is looking good.
MILDURA GOLF CLUB CENTENARY 40 PAGE LIFT OUT ON SATURDAY
I am really looking forward to reading the 40 page lift out in the Sunraysia Daily on Saturday on the first hundred years of the Mildura Golf Club/Resort. Noel Pugsley has virtually the historian of the club and has kept lots of wonderful old stories from the 50?s through to the present, many of which he wrote himself as the club publicity officer. Naturally the pioneering of the early 1900?s features prominently in the early beginnings of the club and the course which will provide a really good read. This supplement will be a terrific coffee table piece that I hope is embraced by all Sunraysia people because it represents a significant place in the history of Mildura/Sunraysia.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
The Sunraysia Golf Tours round of the week came down to some terrific golf this week with Riverside players to the fore. Brett Hayes, Ken Hornsby and John Fraser were all seven better than handicap as was Nia Whittle at Coomealla. The star of the week nearly was former Imperials footballer Gary Sharman who had ten better than his mark at Riverside. Sharman was a prolific kick of a football but these days he is a finesse of the golf ball. Last notes in from Merbein toasted Jenny Ellis who has one of the best rounds of the year so far with 47 points. Wow what a round! Jenny can pick up her prize of four placemats featuring some of the prettiest holes in Sunraysia golf from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday 9pm.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.
 
29/8/12

RHODES VERSUS WHITEHOUTE AT MILDURA ? AGAIN
The stage is all set for another great finish to the club championship at the Mildura Golf Resort on Saturday between regular combatants - Greg Rhodes and Ashley Whitehouse. Whilst Rhodes holds all the aces with a four shot lead, it is not as easy as that to pull away or hold the challenger at bay. Whitehouse always feels a measure of confidence going head to head against the champ, unlike most others in our district. This comes from chasing him down several years ago in the last round of the championship and then taking over completely in the last nine of the 18 hole playoff. That was a while ago, but I?m sure both men remember it with totally different emotions. Since then Rhodes has held the upper hand but Whitehouse has been the district?s number one performer in 2012, so far. Rhodes has shot 75-69-70 so far, in different playing groups to Whitehouse, who has had 75-75-68. Cameron Stewart has returned 75-75-72 to be in third place. Cameron is eight behind but only six over par, not good for him but still reasonable championship golf at this level. The fourth player in the seeded group on Saturday will be Tom Holmes who find out just how far behind he is our top three Sunraysia golfers. He won?t be behind off the tee but it is thirty metres from the green that makes all the difference. Whitehouse was on fire with his wedge on Sunday, six birdies ? two bogies. A repeat of that performance and we will have a real matchplay contest. May the best man on the day win.
McPHEE IN LINE FOR TITLE NUMBER SEVEN AT RED CLIFFS
Justin McPhee will begin Saturday?s last round of the 2012 Red Cliff Golf Club Championship only two shots clear of club newcomer Brad ?Hensby? Steer. Last year McPhee was runner up to Tim Walker who has just recently flown over to the US to take up a college golf sponsorship. The arrival this year of Steer, who was recruited to the club by McPhee and Walker, has really injected some excitement into the club championship. Both players have enjoyed each other?s company and competition over the first three rounds but it might become a touch more competitive on Saturday. McPhee has recorded 75-78-81 against Steer?s 77-77-82. Yesterday McPhee reflected on the first three rounds of the championship. ?The scores have definitely been higher this year, possibly due to less run on the fairways. There is no doubt that with the tremendous growth all around the golf course that, not only does the course look fantastic but it is a much tougher test. I am looking forward to Saturday, it should be a good contest against Brad who has come back from a time off golf and settled straight back where he left off. He will be a great acquisition to our team at Country Week next month.?
FEDEX CUP HOTTING UP ON US PGA TOUR
The FEDEX Cup is enormous in the US at this time of year. The Barclays tournament was played and won by Nick Watney after a superb 68 closed out fellow Americans Brad Snedeker and Dustin Johnson at Bethpage Black public golf course in New York. This is a beast of a course that bought a few to their knees at the weekend including Tiger and Rory. Sergio Garcia began the last round looking to go back to back after his win the week before but it wasn?t to be and he fell back to equal third, four shots behind. The constant chanting of USA, USA on some of the late tees wouldn?t have helped his mindset but I guess the locals were getting into practice for the Ryder Cup next month. Greg Chalmers was our best finisher, six off the pace with Geoff Ogilvy a further two back. The line up so far in the FEDEX Cup standings are Nick Watney, Brandt Snedeker, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson, Jason Duffner,
PAUL LAWRIE TURNS BACK THE CLOCK AT GLENEAGLES
1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie?s was the toast of Gleneagles on Sunday night when won the Johnny Walker Classic by four strokes from Australian Brett Rumford. This has been a real comeback year for the 43 year old Scotsman who has only occasionally risen to any prominence since 99 when he last contested the Ryder Cup. He has sewn his place in the team up before Gleneagles so the pressure to perform to make the team was not as immense. The Ryder Cup will be played in the US from September 28-30. The shift in opinion on the cup has swayed slightly from the US in recent weeks after victories in the States by Europe?s Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and now Lawrie on Sunday. The Race to Dubai sees Rory McIlroy atop Justin Rose, Louis Oostuhisen, Francesco Molinari, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie Nicolas Colsarts, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood. This week the European Tour moves to Switzerland for the Omega European Masters where Thomas Bjorn stormed home with 62 to win by four from Martin Kaymer last year. Greg Norman will be stopping off for a hit as he does most years. Norman is a huge attraction wherever he goes but his best golf is way behind him.
WHERE WILL IT END?
First the US vote in a Negro born President ? sure, it had to happen, probably much sooner than it did but bigotry and racism has been a real wart on the backside of America since way back when. Now ladies membership has been opened up at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta Georgia. Well, for two ladies at least. Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the ?Darl?, Darla Moore a high powered business woman. Now the Scottish Government has suggested to the ?Home of Golf? St Andrews Golf Club and Muirfield Golf Club that they do likewise. Wow, welcome to the new world folks! I?ll tell you what, if someone suggests a woman as the next coach of Carlton then she will have to be of Asian descent ? maybe Mrs Win one Soon!
LAST CHANCE FOR LADIES GOLF TOUR TO BARNBOUGLE DUNES/LOST FARM
The second annual ladies only golf tour to Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm will head off on November 12-15. Four vacancies remain for any ladies who would like to join the group. The girls had a ball last year, as has been the case on all four of our tours to the Tasmanian Resort so far. The golf courses, accommodation at Lost Farm, meals are top class. Give Kym a call on 0408 310 532 if you are interested, but be quick or you will miss out.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Lots of great golf played all over Sunraysia last week with club championships in full flight at Mildura and Red Cliffs. Steve Bibby put in a ripper at Mildura in the second round of their championships to shoot up the leaderboard shooting six under handicap. Barry Waters matched that at Coomealla whilst Faye Englefield went one better at Red Cliffs. The big numbers this week were at Riverside where Chris Lee was seven shots up but way behind super talented all round sportsman Tom Vadlja who came in with 62 net after parring the course. Tom therefore wins the Sunraysia Golf Tours/Round of the week and four laminated placemats featuring some of our districts prettiest golf holes, which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday at 9pm.
Contact me with any golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.


 
15/8/12
DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIP TO MR CONSISTENCY CAMERON STEWART
Cameron Stewart is the 2012 Sunraysia District Golf Association champion after two consistent rounds at Coomealla Golf Club at the weekend. On Saturday the conditions were brutal, particularly in the afternoon. The greens at Coomealla have been rock hard in recent weeks making it hard to stop a ball on the green. The fairways are dormant at this time of year so it is imperative to strike the ball really well to achieve a good result. Ryan Laird showed plenty of composure by a young player to return a 75 to lead by one shot from Cameron Stewart with Tim Peterson and Coomealla Captain Alan Scorer two strokes further back. On the next line in equal fifth place were Greg Rhodes, Ashley Whitehouse and Andrew Stewart. On Sunday the seeded group was Ryan Laird, Cameron Stewart, Tim Peterson and Ashley Whitehouse. Peterson was the first casualty after taking seven up the first hole, leaving him six shots back. Whitehouse kept plugging away to eventually finish third after a workmanlike 75. Laird stood on the eighth tee two under the card and seemingly in full control until disaster struck and he doubled bogey eight and nine to turn two over par and neck and neck with Stewart. On the back nine Cameron Stewart did what Cameron Stewart does on a weekly basis just hitting fairway and greens. In the final analysis his consistency held up under the fiercest pressure. Both boys hit the par three eighteenth, sadly Laird thee putted against Stewarts two putt and that was the difference between them at the end of the day. District golfers to a man would be pleased for Cameron Stewart who so often has been the bridesmaid. If you keep putting yourself in with a chance at the end, eventually the cards will fall your way. For young Laird it was a tough break but I hope he takes the positives out of outplaying the rest of the field for 35 holes.
TOP TEN 2012 SDGA CHAMPIONSHIP.
1. Cameron Stewart 150, 2. Ryan Laird 151, 3. Ash Whitehouse 154, 4. Tim Peterson 157, 5. Greg Rhodes/Alan Scorer 160, 7. Tom Holmes/Dom Vartulli 162, 9. Shay Toma 163, 10. Andrew Stewart 165.
COUNTRY WEEK TEAM ANNOUNCED
The team to represent the SDGA at Country Week in Melbourne next month was announced at Coomealla Golf Club on Sunday night. Captain again this year is Justin McPhee (Red Cliffs), Greg Rhodes, Ashley Whitehouse, Cameron Stewart, Tim Peterson, Andrew Stewart, Ryan Laird, Sean Baumgurtel and Brad Steer. Two juniors, Tom Holmes and Shay Toma will also be taken down to act as caddies to give them a taste of what top end matchplay is all about. Team manager will be Alan Scorer who finished equal fifth with Greg Rhodes in the district championship at weekend. The team basically picked itself this year, with the exception of the ninth spot. I personally would have opted for Tom Holmes who after returning an 87 on Saturday, fronted up on Sunday to shoot the equal second best round of the day with a 75. Brad Steer would have earnt a few more brownie points if after his 90 on Saturday he had have turned up on Sunday.
PGA CONFIRMS GOLF?S LATEST SUPERSTAR
The fourth and last major of the year was completed at the weekend for the US PGA championship. The venue this year was Kiawah Island which is a relatively young links style course in South Carolina that really bristles when the wind blows. 2011 US Open winner Rory McIlroy (13 under par) romped in by eight strokes and confirmed what many in the golf would has predicted. McIlroy is the world number one superstar golfer who has taken over that mantle from Tiger Woods who is struggling to reach the heights that came so easily to him in his prime. McIlroy is a delight to watch, he has the boyish, impish grin that makes you warm to him straight away. To watch the top professionals play on a course like Kiawah Island and show the enormous skills that they put on show last week was a real eye opener as to how good these guys are. Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy were equal eleventh at two under par but neither were in real contention by the last round. The next really big worldwide golf event will be the Ryder Cup when the US host Europe late next month.
MEDICAL REPORT
As many of you would know I have been off the scene for a while after going to Melbourne for a week?s holiday almost one month ago. A bad turn at the football ended up in St Vincents emergency, which may sound bad but indeed turned out to be my lucky day. From there after several tests I saw three doctors which culminated in a bowel cancer operation on August 3rd. Unfortunately secondary cancer is in my liver. It is funny the things you think of when you get that sort of message. When I was a boy growing up at 150 seventh street Mildura our mum would say to my sister and I, keep clear of your father he has woken up with a dirty liver, which was code for bad mood. Mum passed away with cancer in 1965, as we grew into teenagers dirty liver became Sh? On Liver. I never heard a swear word in our house but we knew what S O L stood for and duly kept out of Jacks way after being alerted to his mood. I hadn?t thought of S O L since 1970 until I was diagnosed the worst possible type of S O L. To the many people who have texted, emailed and rang to check on my health, please accept this as our personal thank you for your concern and kind wishes. I have a good friend and mentor that I speak to when I am struggling with different but now irrelevant issues who always suggests that I treat any set back as just another stitch in the rich tapestry of life, and so it is and so it will be. Once again it further reinforces the fact that memories live longer than dreams.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Apologises to anyone who has had a good round in the last month and hasn?t got recognition through this column. Mildura junior Tom Holmes had a splendid 75 in the district championships only one shot behind the best rounds of the championship. Superb effort from the youngster. The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week goes to Graeme Burrows who had 43 points. This was truly an amazing performance from a golfer whose best days are still ahead of him as he hasn?t had many good days on the golf course this century! Graeme wins four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia?s best golf holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
18/7/12
WENTWORTH OPEN AT MERBEIN
After some speculation the Wentworth Open will be held this year on August 4th and 5th. Due to course renovations, Merbein Golf Club will host the Open on behalf of the Wentworth Golf Club. Wentworth have decided to go down the same path as Merbein did in the mid eighties and have planted eight new santa ana grass greens. New club captain Keith Plain yesterday explained the reason for the switch, ?Basically it all comes down to money. The upkeep on santa ana greens is much less than on bent grass greens. The reality is that we haven?t got the resources that we once enjoyed, so our committee believes that this is the best way forward for the Wentworth Golf Club. We have a strong core of members who are determined that the Wentworth Golf Club continues to offer the benefits that a golf course provides to our town and our visitors. We are delighted that Merbein have offered their course to host our Open this year.?
This show of inter club spirit follows on from the Mildura Golf Resort?s efforts in hosting the Merbein Golf Club?s Open from 2009 ? 2011. Wentworth golf Club has been through some turbulent times in recent months with committee members changing seats due to policy and personality disputes. At a club meeting on Monday night Andrew Thomas stepped down as President and Steve Wait resigned as Captain. New President is Jim Jacobs and new Captain is Keith Plain. Club competition are held on Tuesday (ladies), Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Keith Plain is confident that the club can survive and encourages all district golfers to slip over to Wentworth for a relaxing hit, ?Thursdays used to be huge for us as a lot of the districts golfers liked to have a comp game on Thursday and only have to pay the $7 comp fee that our members pay. This Saturday is Presidents Cup day which is the main day of the month. Sunday will be a two man ambrose celebrating Brooksy?s Day. We are hoping that a lot of our past members and district golfers who knew Brooksy will turn up to enjoy a game and remember Brooksy who was such character and hard worker for the Wentworth Golf Club.? The Wentworth Golf Club phone number is 50 273244.
BROKEN HILL OPEN ? THIS WEEKEND
The Broken Hill Outback Open will be contested on Saturday and Sunday and is open to both men and women. At time of writing only eight local golfers have entered the tournament but late entries will be accepted. Of the local contingent, Wentworth?s Phil Lawn will fly the Sunraysia flag as the lowest marker from down here. Phone 08 8087 9099 for more details.
BRITISH OPEN AT ROYAL LYTHAM & ST ANNES
The British Open has been described by 1976 Open winner Johnny Miller as the ?most important tournament of the year?. Tiger Woods admitted this week that it was his favourite major. This, from such American golf icons is really such surprising admissions. The Open as it is known throughout Europe attracts the very best field of the year, as such it is the most sought after title in golf. Last year Northern Irishman Darren Clarke won in emotional circumstances. Clarke had lost his wife after a long fight with cancer several years before and it seemed like everyone at the tournament wanted him to win, once he had moved into contention. Clarke had played an event several weeks before and used a different caddy who had carried his bag at different times in the past. When the Open came around, the caddy, out of his liking for Clarke and his hope that his sometime boss might win, placed ten pound on the nose at 150-1. Rumour has it that Clarke didn?t sleep for ten days after the Open due to celebrations with anyone and everyone. The caddy made the most of his windfall as well.
The Open is the biggest golf gambling event with British bookies every year. Last year half of the 600 million dollar turnover on golf betting came from the Open. 300 million on one event is massive. A lot of the players have a punt on themselves, and they put some significant money down. You can bet to win, top 5, top 10 and top 20 as well as first round leader, top American, top Australian and a whole myriad of other gambling options. Royal Lytham & St Annes will be a brutal test this week with the rough at a premium. It is unlikely that the players will be pulling the driver out of their bags as accuracy will take precedence over length on the 6378 metre par 70 layout. The 205 bunkers scattered around the course have been described as penal.
My favourite Open was the 1988 Open at this venue when Spain?s Seve Ballesteros hit it everywhere to get up and beat Zimbabwe?s Nick Price who had looked the winner a long way from home. The Open is all about tradition, fair play, luck, brilliance under pressure and staying up all night trying to stay awake till the end of play. It has been a tradition in our house for more than thirty years, I just love it. This year I?m hoping for one of the 13 Aussies to win, hopefully Adam Scott or John Senden but if not my money will be on South African Tim Clark, and the poms, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Somewhere in Ireland a village is missing an idiot - by former Irish golf professional David Feherty. This is a very funny read about golf, life and the Irish.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Dora Stewart won the Merbein ladies open last Wednesday giving her three titles for the year after Coomealla and Riverside. This makes her the ?winningest? ladies golfer in Sunraysia so far in 2012. Well done Dora. The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week is a net event and as such there were three players who played five better than handicap including Riverside?s Rob Garioch, Wentworth?s Matt Bottomley and Coomealla?s Will Ryan. Wendy Dawson was one better at Riverside but new Wentworth President Jim Jacobs stole the show with 44 points. Jim wins four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia?s most picturesque golf holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday 9pm.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
13/7/12
WHAT DO YOU HEAR? WHAT DO YOU SAY? EDITION 3

THE ORIGIN OF THE TERMS BOGEY AND PAR
I almost didn't believe this when I heard it recently. I like to think I'm reasonably well informed on the game of golf and its origins, but this one had bypassed me completely. Please don't think for one second I am assuming you are also as naive. but here's the low-down on 'Bogey' and 'Par'.
According to wikipedia, par is a relatively easy one to comprehend. It derives its name from Latin, where 'par' means equal. The origins of the term bogey are a little more obtuse though.
Supposedly, a British army bandmaster named Lieutenant Ricketts penned the tune the Colonel Bogey March, which was inspired by a bloke who used to whistle a two-note phrase rather than yelling 'Fore!'. Somewhere along the line, golfers in the 19th century would often play against an imaginary opponent who became known as Colonel Bogey.
How it became known as one over par I'm not so sure, but it probably makes sense for an imaginary opponent to be one over par every hole, rather than making par.

SIR BOB CHARLES BREAKES HIS AGE BY 10 SHOTS

The only left handed golfer to win the British Open - New Zealander Sir Bob Charles shot a 66 in Switzerland last week on the European Senior Tour. No bad for a 76 year old who only plays competitively two or three times a year. Whilst his other two rounds weren't as good he still manged to finish one over par for 54 holes beating 100 or so other competitors in the tournament, many more than 25 years his junior.

MERBEIN TO HOST 2012 WENTWORTH OPEN

In a bazaar turn of events, it was announced recently that Merbein Golf Club would host the 2012 Wentworth Open. Merbein took back the hosting of their own Open this year after having to transfer it to the Mildura Golf Resort in the past few years. Wentworth were left no alternative as their course is really not up to the condition of attracting a reasonable field. It is a great shame what has happened to the Wentworth golf course whose greens were once regarded almost unamimously by most district golfers as the districts finest. Wentworth and Merbein have enjoyed a great association for long time, winning pennants together in A Grade (now known as division one)and hosting reciprocal days at each club. Entry dtails for the tournament listed for August 4-5 should be available soon.

DORA STEWART DOES IT AGAIN AT MERBEIN

In Wednesday's 19th hole we featured a piece on Dora Stewart's win in a playoff in the Riverside Open the previous wee. This followed her win in the Coomealla Open in May. On Wednesday she took home the trophy for the Merbein Open which makes her the winningest lady golfer in the district this year! Only the NWWG district championship at Coomealla and the Mildura Open remain.
 
13/7/12
GOLF AUSTRALIA TO CHANGE HANDICAP ADJUSTMENTS AGAIN
This is an explanation of how the handicapping system is virtuall y going back to a form of the old Daily Course Rating (DCR) that was used to determine the difficulty of the course from day to day depending on the weather and other factors that was assessed by either the handicapper or captain of the club. This system will determine those factors after the conclusion of the golf rather than before as was previously employed in the days of the DCR.

In a tacit admission that a dis-service had been done to Australia's golfers when our Aussie CCR (Calculated Course Rating) was discarded in an attempt (now abandoned) to fully align us with the USGA handicap system, Golf Australia has recently announced that they will introduce a DSR (Daily Scratch Rating):

How will the new DSR (Daily Scratch Rating) system work?

"Under the new DSR system, we will assess a current course rating
for you each day. This rating will be appropriate to the conditions you actually experienced. GOLF Link will do all of the work and publish the DSR immediately after the scores are processed."

In other words, its another form of CCR with some more intricate maths involved (now that we have the computerised GolfLink system). Whereas CCR was determined (basically) by taking the 15th percentile score (ie assuming that 15% of players played to their mark or better, with 85% worse), the new DSR is more thorough:
"The formulas used to assess the DSR are complex as our
statisticians have advised that simple formula options are not efficient
enough to produce reliable ratings ? this was the problem with CCR.

Through GOLF Link, the DSR system will establish each of the
following:

The average net score for a field.??

The average handicap of a field.??

The field size.??

The type of competition (Stableford, Par, or Stroke).??

The gender of the competitors.??

Once it has established each of these factors, GOLF Link
will compare the ACTUAL average net score on the day with the
average net score GOLF Link EXPECTS for this precise field
composition. (The EXPECTED average is determined by
GOLF Link from millions of prior rounds.)

GOLF Link will then determine the DSR by using the difference
between what ACTUALLY happened on the day and what was
EXPECTED to happen. "

Will the DSR system mean more work for clubs?

No. GOLF Link will do all of the work and provide the DSR
immediately after the scores are processed.


 
12/7/12
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR GAME ON THE PRACTISE RANGE
I recently read of how one particular golfer used the practise range to prepare for his next game of golf. He would play an imaginery 18 holes at his driving range. He would stand on the tee at the range and imagine he was on the first tee of the course he was going to play. Out would come the driver, from there he would assess how far he was from the green, then pick a target of similar distance and hit to it. After reaching the imaginery green he would allow himself two putts and begin the preparation for the second hole. At Coomealla, for instance, that would be a par five but at your course it could be a par three so you would choose your club according to the conditions such as wind and fire away at a similar distance target. The fellow who wrote the story suggested it did two things for him. Firstly it made his practise more interesting and secondly it provided a great warm up for his next game. The other benefit is that he used nearly all of the clubs in his bag. Give this method a try when you are next having a hit at your nearest golf range. I'd like to hear back how you went after playing after that practise.
 
12/7/12
OUR THIRD GOLF TO IRELAND TAKES OFF ON SEPTEMBER 7. WE CURRENTLY HAVE A LADY LOOKING FOR ANOTHER LADY TO TWIN SHARE WITH ON THE TOUR. WE ALSO HAVE A MAN WHO IS A VERY GOOD FRIEND OF MINE WHO IS ALSO HOPING TO TWIN SHARE WITH A MAN. OUR TICKETING WILL BE FINALISED EARLY NEXT WEEK WHICH IS THE DEADLINE FOR BOOKINGS. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED PLEASE CONTACT KYM ON 0408 310 532 OR ME (SHANE) on 0419 208 337 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
 
12/7/12
A LITTLE BIT OF GOLF HUMOUR FROM ANOTHER BIG PLACE
An alien spaceship hovered over a golf course and two aliens watched a solitary golfer in amazement. The golfer duffed his tee shot, shanked his second into the rough, took three to get out of the rough onto the fairway, sliced the next shot into the bushes, and then took a putter to get it out on the fairway again.
Meanwhile, one alien told the other that he must be playing some sort of weird game and they continued to observe the golfer.
The golfer then skulled a shot into a bunker by the green. He then took several shots to get out of the bunker and finally on to the green. He putted several times until he finally got into the hole.
At this point, the other alien told his partner, "Wow, now he is in serious trouble!"

EVERY NOW AND THEN A JOKE OR POEM IS SENT IN, I LIKED THIS ONE

In My Hand I Hold A Ball,
White And Dimpled, And Rather Small.
Oh, How Bland It Does Appear,
This Harmless Looking Little Sphere.

By Its Size I Could Not Guess
The Awesome Strength It Does Possess.

But Since I Fell Beneath Its Spell, I've Wandered Through The Fires Of Hell.
My Life Has Not Been Quite The Same
Since I Chose To Play This Stupid Game.

It Rules My Mind For Hours On End; A Fortune It Has Made Me Spend.
It Has Made Me Curse And Made Me Cry, And Hate Myself And Want To Die.
It Promises Me A Thing Called Par, If I Hit It Straight And Far.

To Master Such A Tiny Ball,Should Not Be Very Hard At All.
But My Desires The Ball Refuses,And Does Exactly As It Chooses.

It Hooks And Slices, Dribbles And Dies,
And Disappears Before My Eyes.
Often It Will Have A Whim,To Hit A Tree Or Take A Swim.

With Miles Of Grass On Which To Land, It Finds A Tiny Patch Of Sand.
Then Has Me Offering Up My Soul,If Only It Would Find The Hole.

It's Made Me Whimper Like A Pup,
And Swear That I Will Give It Up.
And Take To Drink To Ease My Sorrow,
But The Ball Knows ... I'll Be Back Tomorrow.

 
11/7/12
MILDURA BACK ON TOP IN PENNANT
Mildura Golf Resort won their first division one pennant since 2007 at Riverside Golf Club on Sunday 3/2 over Coomealla. The win concluded a topsy turvey pennant season where four clubs including Red cliffs and Broken Hill could quite easily have been the 2012 champions. The final played over 36 holes provided many surprises but in the end the best team won on the day. In the first match, youngster Shay Toma was down for most of the day but overcame seasoned performer Leigh Fuller two and one. Toma has now staked a claim for inclusion in the Country Week team. It will come down to his performances in the Wentworth Open at Merbein on August 4-5 and the district championships at Coomealla the following week. In the second match Andrew Stewart carried on his great form from Saturday when he shot a 71 at Coomealla to beat Sean Baumgurtel one up. Stewart has struggled this year but always finds a way to come good just at the right time. The best golf of the day came in match three where Tim Peterson knocked over Cameron Stewart. These two are class golfers and have played each other many times. Peterson began his local golf at Riverside after coming from Hamilton and always plays well at Riverside winning 3/2. In the match at number two Mark Sutherland had a day to forget as he lost 13/11 against Ryan Laird. Laird has had a great year but Sutherland is a player of the future and will learn from that experience. In the last match Ashley Whitehouse went four up during the opening nine holes only to see Troy Neville turn it around and come in two up after the first 18 holes. Whitehouse really struggled with his putter all day. The 36th hole saw both players knock it on to the back of Riverside?s par 3 18th. Whitehouse was away first and to the amazement of the small crowd of spectators, putted his ball off the green and down the steep slope fronting the green. After some conjecture as to whose shot it was next, Whitehouse putted up to tap in distance. Neville then putted past the hole and missed the one coming back. Down the 37th hole they went where Whitehouse?s par was enough to give Mildura victory. Neville who had been sacrificed at number one was almost the hero of the day but great players usually find a way to win, even when they are playing poorly. Whitehouse has proven to be our second best golfer of the last 25 years and on Sunday he rose to the occasion at a time when his club needed him most.
In division two Broken Hill proved much too strong for Mildura winning 4/1. Ross Mackay would be an automatic selection in most division one teams and he led his boys well with Andrew Ashwood, Nick Millstead and Jason Pearce all winning and only Ash Davis standing up for Mildura.
In division three the low handicaps of Wentworth gave shots away to Mildura but the stronger team prevailed. Wentworth had winners in Doug Rowsell, Darren Bottomly, Phil Lawn and Nathan Gard whilst Mildura?s sole survivor was David miles.
In division four Coomealla went through the season undefeated and won comfortably four one against Riverside. The wee Scotsman Hamish Glasgow led from the front with good support from John Denman, Rowdy Lewin and Rob Narramore with Riverside el supremo Peter Detarczynski their only winner.
Four pennants to four different clubs is a good result for the SDGA. It is crystal clear that the inclusion of Broken Hill several years ago has really paid off in terms of adding interest back into district pennant but there is so much more that has to be done. As suggested in this column several weeks ago, why not combine men?s and ladies winter pennant on Sundays and really give pennant a real shot in the arm? When I first played pennant in the 80?s, the pennant final was huge. There was always upwards of sixty spectators at the final. On Sunday there was a sprinkling of friends and relatives following the combatants. With just a touch of vision and co-operation between the men and ladies associations, pennant could blossom into such a wonderful event for local golf. At least discuss it and explore the possibilities. Give the few juniors coming through a chance to play on a bigger stage in front of people. Who knows, our district might become trend setters for other country associations who also may be struggling to attract juniors and new golfers to our wonderful game of golf.
DORA EXPLORES ANOTHER TITLE AT RIVERSIDE
Dora Stewart arrived in Mildura in May last year and in that fourteen months she has proved to be a terrific acquisition to district golf, in particular ladies golf. Last week she won her second Open for the year at Riverside after winning the Coomealla Open in May. Dora played with Riverside club champion Marg Lampard who recovered a one shot deficit on the 27th hole to force a playoff. Stewart was able to win the tournament after Lampard had a hole to forget on the 18th. Dora Stewart is such an interesting person having been in the air force for many years then working in event management in Dohar and Quatar for the Asian Games. As such it was no surprise when she was asked to take on the presidency for the ladies at the Mildura Golf Resort last year after only six months in the district. After speaking to her several times recently, she has some very progressive ideas that might just send a few shivers through local golfing establishments. Gone are the days when the catch cry is ?we have always done it this way?. Dora will be the explorer who brings lots of experience to the table, I only hope that there are enough forward thinking people both at Mildura and in the NWWG/SDGA that give her a fair hearing.

SIEM ON TOP IN FRANCE
This time of the year is fantastic if you are a sports tragic. The Tour de France is compulsory viewing every year. I love the commentary, the picture perfect scenery, the skill and athleticism of the cyclists and the history of the tour. On another channel is the French Open held just out of Paris where nearly all of the European hopefuls line up to prepare for the Scottish Open then the British Open. This year Germany's Marcel Siem won after an excellent performance the week before in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Siem is an interesting character who wears his hear on his sleeve when he plays. He probably has the second best fist pump in golf behind Tiger Woods, if he just misses a putt you would think he has been mortally wounded. This is a bit different to say, someone like Retief Goosen or Jason Dufner who wouldn't change expression if a bomb went off behind them or if they won tattslotto. This week is the Scottish Open where Phil Mickelson has been given a late entry to the event at Castle Stuart. Mickelson quite often uses the Scottish Open as a warm up for the British Open the following week.

GOLF WEEK NEEDS YOU
Mildura Golf Week begins on July 27th with the Murray Valley Championship hitting off at Red Cliffs on Monday July 30. Round two will be played at Coomealla followed by Riverside and Mildura. The ladies championship begins July 31 at Mildura followed by Riverside and Red Cliffs. Golf Week organiser Trevor Carroll would like to hear from any local golfers who haven?t already entered this year. Trevor can be contacted on 50 222447 or trevor.carroll2@bigpond.com. Golf Week has been an enormous event for local golf but this year in particular it needs the support of local golfers and local golf clubs.

RED CLIFFS TEACHERS & FRIENDS DAY
The annual Red Cliffs Teachers & Friends day is on again this Friday at Red Cliffs Golf Club. A shot gun start a 12-00 follows a sausage sizzle. The game is an ambrose in 3?s with trophies for both scratch and handicap sections. Both handicap and non handicap players are invited to play at a cost of $12 per player. Those requiring refreshments around the course will be well catered for as the social side of the event is paramount each year. Phone 50 242388 to enter.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Good scores at four district golf clubs this week saw eight players bettering their handicaps by at least five shots. At Mildura Brent Heib had six better as did Darren Biddle at Riverside. Darren has featured in this section prominently over the last few weeks and has been stiff not to win the round of the week as there has always been one player who has topped him. This week that player is Andrew Kinnersly at Coomealla who had eight better than handicap at Coomealla last Wednesday. Andrew is either hit or miss but last Wednesday he was a big hit. Andrew wins four laminated placemats featuring the districts best golf holes that must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
9/7/12
Here's a couple you may not have heard
THE PERFECT EQUATION
The owner of a golf course was confused about
Paying an invoice, so he decided to ask his
Secretary for some mathematical help. He called
Her into his office and said, 'You graduated from
The University of Tennessee and I need some help.
If I were to give you $20,000, minus 14% - how
Much would you take off?' She replied, "Everything but my ear-rings!"

THE PERFECT CADDY
Fore!
My five-year-old nephew wanted to caddy for my brother.
"You have to count my strokes," my brother told him.
"How much is six plus nine plus eight?"
"Five," answered the nephew.
"Okay," my brother said, "let's go."
Golf can best be defined as an endless series of
Tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer.

EVERYTHING IN GOLF WORKS IN OPPOSITES
Golf! You hit down to make the ball go up. You swing
Left and the ball goes right. The lowest score wins.
And on top of that, the winner buys the drinks.

If you find you do not mind playing golf in the rain,
The snow, even during a hurricane, here's a valuable tip: your life is in trouble.

Golfers who try to make everything perfect before
Taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot.

The term 'mulligan' is really a contraction of the
Phrase 'maul it again.'

A 'gimme' can best be defined as an agreement
Between two golfers .... neither of whom
can putt very well.

An interesting thing about golf is that no matter
How badly you play, it is always possible to get worse.

Golf's a hard game to figure. One day you'll go out
And slice it and shank it, hit into all the traps and
Miss every green. The next day you go out and
For no reason at all you really stink.

If your best shots are the practice swing and
The 'gimme putt', you might wish to reconsider
This game.

Golf is the only sport where the most feared
opponent is yourself.

Golf is like marriage: If you take yourself too
seriously it won't work and both are expensive.
The best wood in most amateurs' bags is the pencil.

 
4/7/12
MILDURA STORM BACK IN TO CONTENTION IN PENNANT FINAL
Mildura Golf Resort went from boiled lollies to old gold chocolates at Coomealla on Sunday when they blew the home team away with a commanding performance. In fairness to Coomealla, four of the matches reached the last hole, so the result could have gone either way. Only Ryan Laird was able to lift his putter in victory after an even match against the much improved Shay Toma. Toma has really risen to the occasion this year in his first full division one pennant season. Mark Sutherland returned to the team after a stint in the two?s and put on a real show to knock off seasoned performer Tim Peterson. Sutherland climbed off the floor to come from four down and win at the 19th. Other winners for the Resort were Greg Rhodes, Cameron and Andrew Stewart. The final to be contested at Riverside this Sunday came down to percentages (holes won) as all three teams including Red Cliffs had won the same amount of matches. Red cliffs had won their games by the skinniest of margins, so they miss out. If Coomealla had have won one more game, Red Cliffs would have been in the final and Mildura out. If Toma had have beaten Laird, Coomealla would have missed out. Mildura should win if it can replicate their form this Sunday at Riverside.
The division two final will be between Broken Hill and Mildura Golf Resort after Mildura overcame Coomealla on Sunday. With the score standing at two games each, Mildura?s Chris Williams defeated Dave Gardiner at the 20th in a gutsy performance. Broken Hill who have a strong line up led by Ross Mackay will start hot favourites to win and should do so. For Mildura to win they will look to strong performances from Greg Toma and Chris Williams.
In division three the final will be between Mildura and Wentworth after another countback on holes won was required. Robinvale finished a close third from Coomealla. Wentworth are always very strong in this division as they have a mixture of handicaps. Mildura have been the standout team and should win.
In division four Coomealla have beaten all other competitors comfortably. Their opponents came down to another count back on holes between Riverside and Mildura. Riverside will go into the final with confidence on their home track but the Coomealla outfit look too accomplished and should go through undefeated.

SALLY JONES GOES BACK TO BACK AT RED CLIFFS

Sally Jones came from behind after the first round to record her second victory in the Red Cliffs Club championships last week. Runner up was first round leader Sheryl Blagus who hasn?t been playing for long but has really improved her golf each year. Red Cliffs has a great group of ladies who really stick behind the club.

BROKEN HILL OUTBACK OPEN

The Broken Hill Outback Energy 36 hole Open for men and women will be conducted on Saturday July 21st and Sunday July 22nd. Entry is $40, bookings can be made on 08 8087 9099 or Email bhillgolfclub@bigpond.com. This is a great weekend of golf on an excellent golf course. If you haven?t been to Broken Hill before then I recommend it highly. Whilst there you should visit Silverton and have a look at the fantastic art galleries. That is also where the pub used in Mad Max is located.

TIGER BACK ON TOP

Trying to find any golf news report from America without Tiger, Tiger, Tiger this week is impossible. The man is back, and how. His win at the weekend was his 74th, he now has passed Jack Nicklaus and is sitting second only to Sam Snead. The A T & T tournament at the Congressional Golf Club near Washington was blown apart on Saturday when a huge storm ripped the place apart. No spectators were allowed in the afternoon due to the damage to the course. By Sunday the 60 green staff had cleaned up the majority of the fallen trees and play resumed as per normal. Woods returned to his former previous unstoppable form winning for the third time this year. The win has seen his odds reduced to almost unbackable for the British Open beginning on July 19 at Royal Lytham & St Annes. On Sunday Adam Scott began the day five shots behind but by the turn he was equal leader at six under par. He faltered on the back nine to eventually finish third with Bo Van Pelt second. This week the US PGA Tour moves to West Virginia where last week?s storms also decimated many areas. More than 200 trees were damaged at the Old White TPC course in White Sulphur Springs. An enormous effort by volunteers, many without power at their homes, have ensured that the tournament will go ahead without a hitch. Eight Australians will tee it up against Tiger and Phil and the rest of the good ?ol boys.

IRISH OPEN IN NORTHERN IRELAND AT ROYAL PORTRUSH

It is 59 years since the Irish Open was played in Northern Ireland where the very best Irish golf courses and professionals come from. Royal Portrush is a typical links course where the difficulty depends on the severity of the elements. The North Coast Irish wind can make the course almost unplayable at times. Last week though, the golf gods smiled and the conditions were relatively benign. Welshman Jamie Donaldson blitzed the field with 18 under par to win his first European Tour event after almost ten years of trying. The favourites with the crowd were the home grown bodies of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke who are all from that area in Northern Ireland. Padraig Harrington on the other hand represents Ireland but throughout the tournament he seemed to be the one that the crowds were cheering the loudest for. He responds to them more readily than the others, naturally the crowd react accordingly. Darren Clarke lives on the course at Royal Portrush and has worked hard to get the Irish Open played there. The crowds from the Tuesday practise day were sold out every day, 130,000 all up. This will hopefully show the R & A that the British Open must return to Northern Ireland. Either Royal Portrush or my favourite golf course in the world Royal Country Down would make excellent venues. I love to see golfers talking passionately about their countries and their golf courses, such was the case with the Northern Irish boys last week. Ireland is such a wonderful place to visit, the Irish are very similar to Australians in many ways. Jim Stynes was a perfect example. We have included Royal Portrush on our 2013 Northern Ireland/Spain golf tour.

FAREWELL FOR TIM WALKER AT RED CLIFFS GOLF CLUB

Red Cliffs Golf Club are conducting a farewell day at the club this Saturday to send off Tim on his adventure to the United States. A 4BBB stroke event will hit off with a shot gun start at 12-00pm on Saturday following a free BBQ. Great trophies are assured as the day is being sponsored by the Sunraysia Golf Range and House of Golf where Tim has worked as a ?ball boy? for the last few years. Phone the club to book in on 50 241531 or the Sunraysia Golf Range on 50 229440.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK

Much higher scores to choose the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week from this week. At Mildura John Gange was seven up as was Travis Biddle who also had an eight up as well at Riverside. Riverside?s Graeme Adair, Coomealla?s Ralf Wagner and Wentworth?s Peter Weuffen made it a three way tie on ten better than handicap necessitating a toss up for the prize. The lucky man this week is Graeme Adair who wins four laminated placemats of some of Sunraysia?s best golf holes. The prize must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm on Friday.
Contact me with any golf news and view on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
4/7/12


KARRIE WEBB AND KATHERINE HULL IN US LADIES OPEN

Karrie Webb and Katherine Hull are the only two Australians in the field at this week?s US Women?s Open ? the third women?s major of the year on the international schedule ? to be played at Blackwolf Run Golf Club in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Webb won the title in 2000 and 2001 and remains the last player to successfully defend the title and one of just seven players to win the title twice in her career.

The course has a reputation for being one of the most challenging on the US Open circuit and last hosted in 1998 when Hall of Fame member Se Ri Pak lifted the trophy and in the process made a landmark step for Koreans in professional golf.

Fellow Hall of Fame member Juli Inkster, who won in 1999 and 2002 recently spoke about this year?s championship venue.

?Toughest course I have ever played for a Women?s Open,? Inkster said.

In 1998, the course produced a winning score of 6-over-par 290, which is tied for the highest winning score in the last 34 years.

Australia?s Jan Stephenson claimed the 1983 Women?s Open at Cedar Ridge C.C. in Tulsa, Okla., with a 6-over 290 total.

The test is expected to be just as stiff in 2012. The course will play to a par of 72 and is nearly 500 metres longer than in 1998.

Greens are anticipated to run at 11.5 to 12 feet on the Stimpmeter, with the first cut of rough topping out between 2? and 3 inches, depending on hole length.

?The most vigorous, the most difficult yet fair test in championship golf is what awaits these women come July,? said Ben Kimball, the USGA?s director of the U.S. Women?s Open Championship, at media day on May 22.

Defending champion Korean So Yeon Ryu said the greens were more challenging than last year at The Broadmoor, where she defeated countrywoman Hee Kyung Seo in a three-hole playoff.

?This is really a tough course,? said Ryu, whose first two Women?s Opens were played at Oakmont C.C. and The Broadmoor, two highly challenging layouts. ?This is the hardest golf course.?
 
3/7/12
SERVES YOU RIGHT
Perenial golf hacker Sam Sung was sitting in a bar outside Mullingar on Saturday night. He was feeling down just staring at his drink when a large, tattoo ridden biker stepped up next to him, grabbed Sammy's drink and gulped it down in one swig.

"Well, whatcha gonna do about it?" says the biker, menacingly, as wee Sammy burst into tears.

"Come on, man," the biker says, "I didn't think you'd CRY. I can`t stand to see a man crying."

Sammy explains "This is the worst day of my life, I'm a complete failure. I was late to a meeting yesterday and my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car had been stolen and I don't have any insurance. I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found the wife in bed with the milkman and then my dog bit me."

"So today I went down to our golf club, only to find that someone had pinched my golf clubs and I hadn't paid my insurance. So I came to this bar tonight to work up the courage to put an end to it all, I bought a drink,dropped a capsule in and sit here watching the arsenic dissolve. Then some jack-ass shows up and drinks the whole thing!

But enough about me, how's your day going?"
 
29/6/12
WHAT DO YOU HEAR? WHAT DO YOU SAY? EDITION 2
1 Apparently there has been a rumour going around Mildura that the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club have severed ties with the Coomealla Golf Club. Unfortunately Mildura is renowned for scandalous rumours that are usually (as in this case) just a figment of someones imagination. Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club Manager Craig Muir said this morning,"nothing could be further from the truth. We see our golf club as being an integral part of not club, our local community and the Sunraysia district. To suggest that we are dropping the golf club is preposterous". Hopefully that will cease any more ridiculous suggestions that were possibly started at a local golf club who have other issues to contend with and the rumour monger may have ben trying to divert attention to another club.
2. I write a page called the 19th hole in our local Sunraysia Daily newspaper every Wednesday. The same page is also featured in this section (19th hole) on our web site. I really enjoy writing the piece each week and try to, where possible mix it up with local content, State, national and international golf news. Occasionally I throw in a bit of humour, or attempts at humour. The Sunraysia Daily run a "have your say" column every day where anyone can text in anything they like and sign off as merely Golfer or confused or whatever. It is an ideal opportunity for cowads who haven't got the guts to sign their name to their whinge but can say anything they want to. I am all for freedom of speech but only when the speaker has the intestinal fortitude to include their name, other wise it is a s weak as water.
3. Loved the Irish Open last night from Royal Portrush. We are going there in Sptember with the view to playing the course on our 2013 golf tour to Northern Ireland and Spain. Watch Rory go tonight. He shot 61 there as a 16 year old and last night's 70 was a good warm up for tonights second round.
4. Jason day is only a couple off the pace at the A T & T in the US. He is due for a big one. Not so Adam Scott who shot four over par. Tiger was one over and six behind Bo Van Pelt who has to have the best name on tour.
 
28/6/12
NORMAN BACK ON THE CHAMPIONS TOUR
Greg Norman doesn't play much these days but he usually fires up around the British Open every July. This week he is contesting a Champions Tour event in the US, playing alonside Tom Watson and Tom Lehman. Between then they have eight British Open's. Norman will also get to see some of the fellows who stole tournaments off him, including Bob Tway, Larry Mize and a host of others who flipped one into the last hole to knock him off. Norman held the world number one ranking for 331 weeks. Only Tiger Woods has held it longer. Peter Senior has been knocking on the door for two years on the Champions Tour and nothing would give him more pleasure than to win with Norman in the field.

MCILROY ALL SET FOR IRISH OPEN
The Irish Open begins tonight at Royal Portrush in County Antrim Northern Ireland. A few of the local boys will be contesting the event this year including, Rory McILroy, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke to name just a few. Rory will start a hot favourite as he still holds the course record of 61 which he set as a 16 year old amatuer in 2007. Richard Green and Brett Rumford will be flying the Aussie flag but both would really need to lift if they are to have any chance. I will be watching on TV with great interest as we will be visiting Royal Portrush after our Ireland golf tour in September with a view to including it on our itinerary for the 2013 of Northern Ireland and Spain.

TIGER LOOKS GOOD AT THE A T & T
Tiger Woods will be the top gun tomoroow morning when he hits off in the A T & T tournament in the US. Woods will get tough opposition from Hunter Mahan and Dustin Johnson but don't be surprised if an Aussie doen't win for the second week in a row on the PGA Tour. Marc Leishman made Warnambool and Australia proud last weekend and he is in the field again this week. Other Aussies in the field include: Adam Scott, Jason Day, Robert Allenby, Rod Pampling and Greg Chalmers.

HOW TO GET CAUGHT OUT - BIG TIME
My boss phoned me today. He asked "Is everything OK at the office?"
I said, "Yes, it's all under control. It's been a busy day, I haven't stopped"
"Can you do me a favour" he asked.
I said "Of course, what is it"
"Can you pick up the pace a little, I'm in the foursome behind you!"
 
27/6/12
WHAT DO YOU HEAR? - WHAT DO YOU SAY? EDITION 1
This is a new section on our 19th hole page about different happenings, rumours, events and humourous snippets from the golf world, both here, nationally and overseas. Let me know if you enjoy it, hate it, or would like to contribute to it with your antedotes, rumours, jokes or odd spots.
1. Willie Nelson's Rolls Royce inspired golf cart is to go under the hammer at auction for the second time. It first was auctioned along with Willies golf course after all was confiscated by the IRS. The cart comes fully equipped with a wet bar, so at any time you pour yourself a scotch, gin, vodka, bourbon, whiskey or water. The cart is done out in red and white with Willie embroidered on the red velvet car seats. You can check it out along with three other sensational looking carts at http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2012/6/23/top4ridiculously-good-looking-golf-carts-7709387/

2. Interesting to see that cheating or in this case attempted cheating still exists at the highest level. A caddy discovered on the third hole in the BMW tournament in Cologne on Thursday that he had 15 clubs in his players bag. Rather than report it and have his man suffer a three stroke penalty, he went into the bushed and ditched a club. His professional thought that he had answered the call of nature but the other two professionals smelt a rat and followed him in. The professional was immeadiately disqualified as it was his responsibility to know how many clubs he had, but was deemed not to have any knowledge of the 15th club, so no further action was taken against him. The caddy has been banned from the European Tour.

3. David Coulthard drove a Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Roadster down an airoplane runway at 178mph as a golf professional hit a golf ball that landed in the back seat. It took a number of attempts but to fly a ball 300 yards into a car goinf that fast means two things; it certainly was a mean feat and some people really have nothing better to do.

4. A local golf club secretary/manager is believed to have been overheard to say that "the women in this club are nothing but a pack of whingeing bitches". This must be a completely exagerated overview as surely there is a certain proportion of the ladies in the club that are happy go lucky gals who merely enjoy a game of golf with friends and the challenges that the course presents.
 
27/6/12
RED CLIFFS RAGS TO RICHES IN SDGA PENNANT

Red Cliffs Golf Club are poised to accomplish an audacious rags to riches mission of winning the 2012 Sunraysia District Golf Association division one pennant. Last year the club wasn?t able to field a team in division one due to a lack of single figure golfers. Over the summer club champion Justin McPhee and district number three golfer Tim Walker decided to recruit a couple of players so Red Cliffs could have a viable chance of hoisting the pennant this year. Exciting junior Tom Holmes who had played golf as his third sport behind hockey and cricket was approached and he duly agreed to transfer. Next man in the mission was ex district representative Brad Steer who had given golf away for two years but was becoming keen again. The opportunity of being part of an exciting pennant attempt appealed to Steer and he put his hand up. The final man in the team came more by accident when former golf professional Ben Hogan, who had played at Red Cliffs as a junior received his amateur status back the week before pennant commenced and he was cleared to play as an amateur. Everything went to plan in the first match at Broken Hill against the strong home team whose highest handicapper was 2. In the second match against Coomealla the result hinged on the match between Tim Walker and Ryan Laird. Laird put on a blinder closing out Walker in what most people thought was a boil over. This meant the following match at Mildura against the home team was do or die. The Cliffs prevailed with Walker knocking off Ashley Whitehouse who had been in sparkling form this year. Now with the bye this week, they must wait to see who they will play in the final at Riverside Sunday week. Coomealla are odds on to be their opponents as Mildura must beat the undefeated Coomealla on their home course 5/0 to make the final.
Last Sunday at Red Cliffs the home team had no trouble in despatching Riverside 4/1 with only Ben Hogan failing against his mate, Chris Thomas, after being four up with six to go. The second contest was a ripper between Mildura and Broken Hill with four contests going to the 17th or beyond. Ashley Whitehouse turned his pennant form around to beat Broken Hill?s top player Tim O?Neil 3/1 after Cameron Stewart and Shay Toma won their matches. This week at Coomealla 2011 pennant winners Riverside will be looking to finish the season on a high when they play Broken Hill. On paper the low handicaps of the Broken Hill boys looks somewhat inflated but their two matches against Red Cliffs and Mildura could quite easily have been 3/2 their way instead of against and they would be sitting pretty. Riverside have their best team in for the year so it should be a great contest. In the other match Mildura will come out with all guns blazing as clearly they would have expected to be sitting on the top of the ladder. For them to win it will come down to a big effort from their captain Andrew Stewart who needs to show more control if he is to win and David Murray who went down at the 20th last week. Coomealla look too strong at home with Peterson, Laird and Fuller playing well.
In division two Broken Hill are assured of a spot in the final after a mammoth battle last week against Mildura that culminated on the 23rd hole of the final match. Their opponents will emerge from the match on Sunday between Coomealla and Mildura. Mildura look a much stronger combination on paper but it will depend on how they handle the tight Coomealla course. On form it is looks very even with both teams having won twice.

SUE, LAIRD OF THE MANOR?S

Sue Laird has stamped herself as the pre-eminent female golfer in Sunraysia over the last five years. She has dominated most events she has contested and in the process worked extremely hard to achieve that success. Last week she won the Coomealla and Mildura Golf Resort club championships in resounding fashion after winning the Tri-State Masters for the sixth time last month. Earlier in the year she played district division one pennant for Commonweath Golf Club for the first time against the State?s best golfers. Very few female golfers show this sort of dedication to their sport, particularly at 48 years of age. The next step in her career would be to win the Murray Valley championship in Golf Week. That would really top off a year to remember.

LAMPARD RIVERSIDE?S QUEEN OF THE GREENS

It is not easy for working ladies to be at their best in a sport such as golf, where touch and feel plays such an important part in a golfers performance. Marg Lampard normally only plays at the weekend due to her employment but over the last couple of years she has contested the Riverside club championships. Last year she won for the first time. Sometimes players rise to the occasion only to drift into obscurity thereafter but not this lady. After a disappointing 91 in the first round she hit the front by two shots after an 86 with one round to go. Leaving the best for last she left the field for dead with an 82 to win by twelve strokes from Tracey Hywood. Winning back to back championships for a weekend golfer is a fine achievement. It is a pity she is unable to take leave and play in the Country Teams Championship for North West Women, in Melbourne in August, as her inclusion would strengthen the team enormously. Salli Doherty won the Heather Bothroyd trophy and B grade. She stated in her acceptance speech that winning was very special to her as she began playing golf at Riverside, met her husband Garth at Riverside, worked in the on course pro shop for several years and loved playing golf at the picturesque course.
Red Cliffs ladies play their second round of the club championships today with Sheryl Blagus leading Sue Johns and Linda Hickey by one stroke.

THE DILEMMA

I recently received this email from a player who played in the Tri-State Masters last month. It read: This is a snippet from mine and my wife?s diaries after the last round of the Tri-State Masters at Coomealla. Wife?s Diary: Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn?t flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed but he didn?t say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, ?Nothing? I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn?t upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can?t explain his behaviour. I don?t know why he didn?t say ?I love you too?.
When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly watching TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt he was distracted, his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep; I cried. I don?t know what to do. I?m almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.
Husand?s Diary: A five putt? who the f%@*! five putts?
I am not sure how much of the wife?s diary is true but the five putt did happen on the first green when the said player was only two shots behind in the last round!
OUYEN - THE MEN'S 4BBB THIS ORIGINALLY PLANNED FOR THIS WEEKWEEK HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO THE 20TH OF JULY.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK

District golfers are struggling this winter, or maybe the handicap system is finally achieving some sensibility with scoring quite even across the board. Five golfers played four shots better than handicap including: Sandi Briggs, Cliff Tomlinson, Brett Hayes, Tom Ryan and Mark White. John Dickie was one better at Mildura with Michael Nott at Riverside and Denis McGlaughlin at Mildura six better. After a flip of the coin Denis McGlaughlin wins the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week and must collect his prize of four laminated placemats of Sunraysia?s best golf holes from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.

Contact me with any golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au

Good golfing to all.


 
20/6/12
COOMEALLA IN FAMILIAR POSITION
Coomealla erased any doubt of their supremacy in division one pennant at the

Mildura Golf Resort on Sunday when they comfortably eclipsed Broken Hill. The

Broken Hill combination are the lowest handicapped team in Sunraysia pennant

history with their highest marker playing off 2. When it comes to matchplay

golf however, handicaps on paper mean very little. Leigh Fuller doesn?t play

much club golf but is a dogged match player winning his third match on the

trot against Jamie Greeney who is no slouch. Sean Baumgurtel?s form has been

scratchy in the first two rounds but he was too good for multiple Broken Hill

club champion Trevor Henderson who plays off +1. Ryan Laird was untroubled in

his match against first round winner Mark Johns and Tim Peterson finally broke

through against Declan Henderson. In the match at number one, Broken Hill?s

premier golfer Tim O?Neill overcame Jacob Slimmon 2 up. Coomealla is now

assured of a place in the final whilst Broken Hill?s campaign appears over for

2012. The second place in the final now rests between Mildura and Red

Cliffs. Red Cliffs look to be in the box seat after Sunday as Mildura now

have to beat Coomealla to have any chance of making the final.

In the second contest Mildura Golf Resort started hot favourites against new

glamour team Red Cliffs. Mildura captain Andrew Stewart got his team off to a

great start when he had an easy win over Ben Hogan. The avalanche then began

for the Cliffs when Brad Steer used his experience to overcome Shay Toma and

Justin McPhee was too accomplished for Dave Murray. The match of the day was

between Ashley Whitehouse who has clearly been the stand out player in the

district this year and the US bound Tim Walker. On his home track most people

thought Whitehouse was a shoe in but Walker did win the Mildura Open in April

and was feeling confident. After Cameron Stewart closed out Tom Holmes the

winner of the Whitehouse/Walker match proved to be the decider. The contest

finished on the sixteenth hole when Walker won 4/2 in a high quality contest

between the top two players in Sunraysia golf so far in 2012.

In division two the two finalists is between Broken Hill,Mildura and Coomealla

who have each recorded two wins. Broken Hill lined up against Coomealla with

a combined aggregate handicap of 24 which included a 2, 3, 4, 7 and an 8

handicapper which, in previous years would have been a strong division one

combination. Coomealla on the other hand had a combined aggregate handicap of

44. The result came down to the 19th hole when Ross Mackay defeated Shane

Doherty in an exciting match. This week at Red Cliffs, Broken Hill and

Mildura clash whilst Coomealla have the bye. In the last round Mildura face

Coomealla at Coomealla which will decide who plays off in the final at

Riverside the following week.

LAMPARD IN CHARGE AT RIVERSIDE
2011 club champion Marg Lampard powered her way to the front of the pack at

Riverside Golf Club last week in the second round of the 2012 club

championship. Lampard improved her first outing by five shots, shooting an 86

to lead by three strokes with one round to go tomorrow. Newcomer Tracey

Hywood had an 89 to be in equal second place with long time veteran Lorraine

Palmer who had another 90, both are three strokes back. Hywood is playing

good solid golf and could be a chance to win her first local championship but

Lampard will be determined to go back to back. Palmer will call on her

experience to put her in a position to win. Good luck to all four ladies. At

Merbein, evergreen Bev Cetinich took out the daily double when she won the

2012 club championship and the McDougall Cup. Bev has been an icon of the

Merbein Golf Club for years and continues to be its premier performer both on

and off the course. Lee Bottomley took out her third Wentworth club

championship in a row in a popular result for the club captain yesterday.

IT ALL HAPPENED AT THE US OPEN
After viewing the US Open in San Francisco for four days there were many

things that grabbed my attention. Webb Simpson won but this was one of the

least featured pieces of news in America. Much like when Geoff Ogilvy won

when the story was more of how Phil Mickelson lost. This year it was past

winners Jim Furyk and to a lesser degree Graeme McDowell who ?lost it?. Tiger

Woods was the talk of the town on Friday night when he was equal leader after

36 holes. Ladbrokes betting agency in London had him at 5/4 to win with two

rounds remaining but he couldn?t keep it on the fairway, missing 16 out of 28

on the weekend. Apart from driving he only got up and down out of the sand

twice out of eleven visits. These were six of the reasons suggested by Gary

Van Sickle (US golf journalist) on what could be Tiger?s problem. 1 His body

has been riddled with injury. 2 The Sean Foley (his current coach) method

produces only great golf or terrible golf. 3 It?s a Major problem ? Tiger

can?t win a major ever again. 4 Tiger is only human. 5 The investment. Tiger

has invested so much energy and strength into his golf that his drive and

hunger is no longer as strong. 6 Tiger did a deal with the devil in exchange

for golfing greatness, and, uh-oh, times up. (this is my favourite reason)

Apart from Tiger, Webb Simpson?s father revealed that he had once offered Dowd

(Webb?s wife) $100 to go out with his son, which she refused but they hooked

up some time later. Dowd, who is 8 months pregnant walked all 18 holes

following her husband to victory on Sunday. He will miss the British Open due

to the birth of their second child. Petulant Spaniard, Sergio Garcia put on

a clinic on the third hole on Saturday when he chopped a tee microphone in

half after missing the green. Sergio still went on to record a one over par

71. Lee Westwood?s charge to win his first major came to a sudden holt on

Sunday when only three shots behind he hit his ball up a tree and it stayed

there. Everyone who watches golf on TV is heartily sick and tired of some

idiot in the gallery screaming out ?Get in the hole? every time someone hits a

ball. On Sunday immediately after McDowell had hit a fan yelled out ?Yabba

dabba doo? which bought a smile to most people?s faces. A 40 year old pommy

got his moment of fame, wearing a union jack hat he high jacked the

presentation ceremony when he jumped in front of Webb Simpson and did a

peacock call before he was yanked off the stage in no uncertain manner. The

player that impressed me the most other than the winner was 17 year old Beau

Hossler who played immaculately and is very reminiscent of Colin Montgomerie

in his action. Just in case e you were wondering Webb Simpson took home $1.4

million on Sunday and Australia?s John Senden who finished equal 10th with

four others pocketed $163,594. Therein lies the problem of attracting the

world?s best players to Australia because our prize money doesn?t come even close.
FREE BOX OF BEER
Bluey, Swampy and Thommo were all playing golf when Swampy hit a ball that

rebounded off the ladies tee marker and hit him in the head killing him

instantly. Bluey volunteered to go and deliver the news to Swampy?s wife,

announcing that he was ?good at the sensitive stuff?. Two hours later Bluey

appears with a box of VB under his arm. ?Where did you get the beer from??,

the other two asked. ?Swampy?s wife gave it to me? he answered. ?That?s

unbelievable? said Thommo, ?you told the lady her husband was dead and she

gave you a box of beer?. ?Well? not exactly? Bluely replied. ?When she

answered the door I said are you Swampy?s widow??. ?No I?m not a widow? she

said. And I said ?I?ll bet you a box of VB you are?.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Winter scores again this week with five players playing four better than

handicap. Best at Wentworth was Linda Jakubans, Bill Cornwall and Jean Moore

were tops at Mildura. Linda Jakubans was number one at Wentworth whilst Sandy

Waters, John Thomson and Peter Miatke shone at Coomealla. Charlie Simpson

equalled those scores at Riverside where Sandi Briggs won hand down with a 65

nett. Sandi wins four laminated placemats featuring some of Sunraysia?s best

golf holes as the winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week and

must collect her prize from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all
 
13/6/12
PENNANT AT MILDURA
Division one men?s pennant moves to the Mildura Golf Resort for round three this week with Red Cliffs facing up to the home club and Broken Hill taking on Coomealla. Mildura look odds on on paper but pennant golf can throw up lots of surprises. It will depend on who plays who. Justin McPhee and Tim Walker are capable of beating any of the Mildura players but for Red Cliffs to win it really comes down to Brad Steer, Tom Holmes and Ben Hogan putting their collective hands up. Greg Rhodes filled in at Broken Hill but that was only a temporary arrangement, Ashley Whitehouse replaces him and Cameron Stewart comes in for John Keogh. Mark Sutherland and Shay Toma both won at the Hill but Andrew Stewart will need to lift his form to hold his place in the team. It will depend on match ups but I think Red Cliffs have more fire power from one to five, so it?s the Cliffs for me. In the second clash Broken Hill will need to be at their best to overcome Coomealla. After losing twice at the Hill, Tim Peterson is a lay down misere to win his match so the miners will have to win three out of the other four contests. That is not going to happen so it?s Coomy for me. In division two Broken Hill are definitely the team to beat but their main opposition will be Coomealla who they meet on Sunday. Broken Hill easily beat Red Cliffs 5/0 at home but this Sunday Coomealla will be a much harder test. In the other match Mildura should be much too strong for Red Cliffs at home. Division three and four play at Merbein this week whilst Red Cliffs and Wentworth will play hosts next week.
LADIES CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
Round two of the Riverside Golf Club 2012 ladies club championship will be a real hum dinger tomorrow with three strokes separating the top five players. Leading on 90 is the most experienced player in the group, Lorraine Palmer who continues to play steady consistent golf. Three players are only one shot back including Janet Luke who has really worked hard on her game over the last two years. Tracey Hywood is a relatively newcomer to the district who is in with a good chance. 2011 club champion Marg Lampard is in the perfect position one out one back to double up this year with the confidence she gained from last year?s triumph. Carol Benning surprised herself with a nice 93 to be right on the pace and is not out of it only three shots back. In B grade Salli Doherty is well placed to become the second Doherty to win the ladies B grade championship. Sue Laird looks to have both the 2012 Coomealla and Mildura Golf Resort club championships in her grasp after only one round. Laird won both championships easily last year and is in even better form this year. At Wentworth Lee Bottomly looks all set to go back to back whilst at Merbein Bev Cetinich is in an unassailable position for the 13th year in a row. Colleen James has her nose in front by one shot in the McDougall Cup. Red Cliffs ladies begin later this month.
GOLF?S BIGGEST TURN OFF ? SLOW PLAY
Ask any golfer at any golf club what is their biggest gripe and you will usually be told ? slow play. Sure, no one likes playing badly but that is part of the game that a golfer just has to expect. But slow play really kills an afternoons enjoyment. Two weeks ago we played five days in a row in the Tri-State Masters where the average field in each session was 120 players in a shot gun start. There was no issue with slow play. All players were constantly requested then reminded that it was imperative that they keep up with the group in front. Every week I see players move slowly from the green to the next tee where upon all four stand and mark their cards before hitting off, whereas if the first player hits off then marks their card, one minute at least is saved. Multiply that by 18 and it could be 20 -30 minutes shaved off a round. Ready golf is another time saver, as in, hit when you are ready rather than wait your turn. Obviously you can?t do this every time but there are many instances when this can quicken up play in your group. Really it comes down to respecting everyone?s right to an enjoyable day. Waiting on every shot whilst the group in front is two holes behind the group in front of them is nothing short of ignorance and in some cases total arrogance.
US OPEN IN SAN FRANCISCO
The 112th US Open begins on Friday(our time) at the Olympic Golf Club in San Francisco. San Francisco is a beautiful city and the Olympic Golf club is spectacular. Any one of twenty players could win this year without surprising but as usual, Tiger Woods is the popular pick. This is the fifth time that Olympic will have hosted the US Open and a favourite has never won in its previous four championships. In 1955 unknown struggling US professional Jack Fleck, beat the great Ben Hogan in a playoff. This was the biggest upset since amateur Francis Ouimet won in a playoff with Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in 1913. Only two players used Ben Hogan golf company clubs in that Open and they finished first and second. Hogan had never met Fleck before the championship but donated a set of his company?s clubs to Fleck after receiving a request for assistance. When Fleck collected $6,000 for winning he offered to pay for the clubs but Hogan refused the offer, saying that the exposure of his brand was payment enough. After 55 Bill Casper Jnr won in 66, Scott Simpson in 87 and Lee Janzen in 98. None of these guys were superstars of the game, far from it. The USGA weren?t happy last year when Northern Ireland?s Rory McIlroy tore up the Congressional course to shoot 13 under par, so expect no more than four or five under at best to win this year. Usually it is the straightest hitters that win US Opens because they lose their rough cutters for a couple of months leading up to the championship. This brings England?s Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Luke Donald right into calculations as they are all long and straight off the tee. Matt Kuchar looks the pick of the Yanks and maybe, just maybe, this could finally be the year for Adam Scott.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
No big scores again this week with Mick Faulkhead, Steve Spooner and Nick Sirovica all recording four better than handicap. Sandy Waters was equal best round with 41 points at Coomealla on Saturday but this week the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week goes to Riverside?s Steve Zmarzly who had 41 points which followed on from 42 points last week when he just missed out. Steve can collect his prize of four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia?s finest golf holes from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
7/6/12
ANOTHER GOLF STORY
After a particularly poor game of golf, a popular club member skipped the clubhouse and started to go home. As he was walking to the parking lot to get his car, a policeman stopped him and asked, "Did you tee off on the 16th hole about 20 minutes ago?"
"Yes," the golfer responded.
"Did you happen to hook your ball so that it went over the trees and off the course?"
"Yes, I did. How did you know?" he asked.
"Well," said the policeman very seriously, "Your ball flew out onto the highway and crashed through a driver's windshield. The car went out of control, crashing into five other cars and a fire truck. The fire truck couldn't make it to the fire, and the building burned down.
So, what are you going to do about it?"
The golfer thought it over carefully, then responded, "I think I'll close my stance a little bit, tighten my grip and lower my right thumb."
 
6/5/12
RED CLIFFS WIN LADIES PENNANT FINAL
Red Cliffs Golf Club won their third division one pennant final in a row at Mildura Golf Resort last Monday. The Red Cliffs ladies have long been renowned for their fighting spirit and undoubted togetherness as a team and this was never more evident than in the final. Two contests went right down to the wire on 18 with the other three matches finishing on the penultimate 17th hole. For Red Cliffs Sheryl Blagus stepped up to the number one position after Sally Jones had to withdraw, she fought valiantly, finally going down to Riverside?s most experienced player Lyn Saunders on the 18th. Red Cliffs Debbie Hassell playing her first season of pennant had an exciting match against Janet Luke before winning at the 17th. Sandra Marwood had a similar encounter with Carol Benning, with the result also ending on 17. Wily Dee Hopkins kept hitting it straight down the middle against Riverside?s long hitting Salli Doherty with that match also finishing on 17. Finally Riverside?s Helen Burke gave the green and yellow combination it?s second point against Ruth Cupper at the 18th. It was fitting that the final came down to the two strongest ladies clubs in district golf. Red Cliffs have over 65 ladies who play regularly, most, actively support the club in catering and other club duties so it was great for them to continue their successful run of pennant victories. Riverside ladies are also a very united group with all three divisions making the finals on Sunday and Monday.
It has been disappointing that there has been nothing from the North West Women?s Golf publicity wise, regarding pennant this year. This is just not good enough and needs to be addressed. Ladies Sunday pennant was introduced several years ago to allow working ladies to represent their clubs in pennant. It appears to have become more popular than the main pennant which has traditionally been played on Monday. Men?s pennant is played on Sundays, if that is what it takes to get more ladies playing division one pennant then that should be a priority of the NWWG. In an ever changing world where the golfing landscape is changing all the time, why not combine men?s and women?s pennant being played at the same courses on a Sunday? It works really well in football in both the Sunraysia and Millewa leagues for football and netball. Red Cliffs versus Coomealla in all grades of both men?s and women?s pennant. Club versus club ? head to head. Maybe even have a mixed pennant section. The members of both clubs could be encouraged to go and support their teams. Have a big BBQ at lunch time and make a real day of it for all concerned. Riverside versus Mildura would be another great day for both clubs. The possibilities are endless if both associations sit down together and see what can be achieved. How about it SDGA and NWWG?
MEN?S PENNANT - BROKEN HILL STYLE
The first and second rounds of the Sunraysia District Golf Association men?s pennant hit off in cold frosty conditions in beautiful Broken Hill. In division one Red Cliffs were all the talk with three new recruits. Former Coomealla and Country Week player Brad Steer wore the blue and gold for the first time. Exciting youngster Tom Holmes crossed over from Mildura and former golf professional and Riverside club champion Ben Hogan lined up with Tim Walker and Justin McPhee. In the first round Red Cliffs just scaped in over host club Broken Hill when Tom Holmes won at the 17th after Tim Walker and Justin McPhee had both closed out their matches at the 18th. Brad Steer went down to Jamie Greeney on 18 but Hogan was all over the shop losing to Mark Johns 5/3.
In the second contest the 2011 finalists, Riverside and Coomealla lined up against one another. Riverside were missing four of their best players leaving too much to too few. Robert Veit was too consistent for Tim Peterson finishing him off at the 17th hole after Peterson had seen all of the golf course ? from one side to the other! This result was a big upset and showed there is life in the old dog yet. Coomealla?s Ryan Laird, Leigh Fuller and Troy Neville were never in danger but Sean Baumgurtel just scaped in against Riverside rookie Chris Hill 2up.
On Sunday the talk around the club house was whether Red Cliffs could overcome Mildura who had the great Greg Rhodes back playing pennant for the first time in years. After Rhodes won easily and new comer Mark Sutherland cruised in, the contest was even as Robert Veit had claimed another Country Week scalp in Andrew Stewart and Riverside youngster Chris Nugent gave John Keogh forty years start and a 3/2 defeat. This left Riverside captain Chris Thomas and Mildura junior Shay Toma to fight it out with Toma eventually winning 2/1.
The final match in division one saw the tried and true combination of Coomealla who have played together for five years take on the new glamour team Red Cliffs. The match could have gone either way, Leigh Fuller and Sean Baumgurtel proved too strong for Tom Holmes and Brad Steer. Then Ben Hogan found form overnight to close out Troy Neville 5/4. Justin McPhee had a titanic struggle with Tim Peterson in a high quality match which saw both players under the card at the end of play. McPhee had just enough in store to make Peterson?s weekend at Broken Hill worse than at Bernies, losing one down. After losing two matches Peterson was then voted by his team to be the designated driver of the mini bus home. The match of the weekend belonged to Ryan Laird and Tim Walker. Laird has been traveling down to Melbourne each week to represent Commonwealth in metropolitan colts pennant. Last month his team won the final. Ryan played at number one against former Riverside player Jack Marlais winning comfortably. Walker is off to the US in August on a university scholarship for golf. Fast forward to the tenth hole on Sunday when Laird stood four under par and six up on Walker. The match finished on 15 with Laird winning 5/3 after Walker fought back on the second nine. If Red Cliffs had won it was probably a fast track straight into the final. Now they will have to overcome Mildura and a full Riverside combination and hope that the results of other contests fall their way. If Rhodes continues to play and Ashley Whitehouse and Cameron Stewart come back into Mildura?s team then it looks likely to be another Coomealla ? Mildura final at Riverside on July 15.
In division two Coomealla won both of its contests against Red Cliffs and Riverside with Broken Hill and Mildura winning their only matches against Red Cliffs and Riverside. No pennant this weekend, round three in divisions one and two will be played on June 17 at Red Cliffs.
TIGER WOODS BACK ON TOP
It was always going to happen. The Tiger is back on the prowl and don?t the American media and fans love it? On Sunday he won the Memorial tournament at Jack Nicklaus?s golf course after coming from behind. Woods hit the front after holing a ridiculously hard flop shot on the 70th hole and the gallery went ballistic. So did he because he knew at that moment, as everyone watching did, that he was back. Woods tied Jack Nicklaus with his 73rd PGA Tour victory and is second only to Sam Snead who won 82 times on tour. He has been stuck on 14 major victories since 2008 trailing Nicklaus on 18 but he is now a raging red hot favourite to win the US Open at Olympic Golf Club in San Francisco in a fortnight. Last year?s winner Rory McIlroy has had a horror stretch lately but the Americans aren?t concerned about anyone other than Tiger Woods. If he were to win, it would make the last 30 months seem like a bad dream for golf and for Woods. The media all over the world have their number one talking point in sport back in the headlines and that puts golf in the headlines for all of the right reasons.
ODD SPOT ? THE LAST TEE TIME
In America funeral directors are reporting that more and more people are requesting to be buried with their golf clubs. The most common request is to be planted in life?s greatest divot with a driver, followed closely by the putter.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
The cold weather has seen high numbers appear on the scoreboards at all local golf clubs this week. Ryan Laird played superbly in pennant at Broken Hill to record one of the best scratch scores of the year but this award is for the best handicap score. All of this week?s best scores came from Riverside where Ned Klemm and Joshua Cavallaro were both five better than handicap and Steve Zamarzly was six better. The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week goes to 86 year old left hander Brad Giddings who fired in a 66 nett. Brad has been a regular golfer at Riverside for decades and still loves his golf. Well done Brad, you can collect your prize from the Sunraysia Golf Range of four laminated placemats of Sunraysia best golf holes including the pretty par 3 7th at Riverside by Friday.
Contact me with any golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
29/5/12
ALL 54 HOLE SCORES AND DAILY STABLEFORD SCORES FOR THE 20TH SUNRAYSIA GOLF

TOURS TRI-STATE MASTERS ARE LISTED ON THE TOURNAMENT PAGE OF THE WEB SITE
 
29/5/12
WHITEHOUSE WINS ROBINVALE OPEN
Mildura golfer Ashley Whitehouse won the Robinvale Open by four shots on Sunday to win his second open in a row, following on from Red Cliffs last week. The Robinvale Open is a one off in district golf as all 36 holes are completed on the one day. Whitehouse started ordinarily with a 78 to trail Robinvale?s Glen Marr and Red Cliff?s Brad Steer by one stroke. Marr has been Robinvale?s premier golfer for several years but moved to Mildura last year. Steer has reappeared in district golf after two year break and is eager to make the Country Week team again in September. After lunch Whitehouse really hit his straps recording a two over par 72 to win by four shots. The catapults him further ahead in the district averages as his nearest rivals didn?t play at Robinvale. Brad Steer and Andrew Stewart were equal second after Steer returned two 77?s and Stewart 79-74. Sean Buaumgurtel continued his consistent form this year with 78-77, Wentworth?s Phillip Lawn was next best with 79-78. Robinvale were relatively happy with a field of only 47 players but are hoping for a bigger contingent of local players next year. Four open tournaments remain at Coomealla for the Sunraysia District Golf Association championships, Wentworth, Broken Hill and the final open of the year at Coomealla in September.

BROKEN HILL HOSTS DISTRICT PENNANT
Broken Hill Golf Club will host the first two rounds of district pennant this weekend for divisions one, two and four. In division one Red Cliffs look to be the team that may forge its way into the final this year. Last year Red Cliffs didn?t field a team in the top division but with Country Week captain Justin McPhee and top liner Tim Walker they are very strong at the top. After some fast talking by Red Cliffs officials Brad Steer has agreed to represent the Cliffs as has top Mildura junior Tom Holmes. Holmes is a red bullet performer and playing pennant against the districts best players will really sharpen up his game. Steer is back and firing and should be an automatic inclusion into the Country Week team once again. The other big news in district pennant is the reappearance of district legend Greg Rhodes who has agreed to represent Mildura Golf Resort in pennant this year. Rhodes will partner Whitehouse and the Stewart brothers making them an early favourite for the flag. Coomealla have been the dominant division one combination over the last decade and will be strong again this year with Tim Peterson, Ryan Laird, Leigh Fuller, Sean Baumgurtel, Jacob Slimmon and Troy Neville. Last year?s pennant winners Riverside have four of their top players unavailable this weekend including Steve Wilmann, Dave Woolcock, Troy Germaine and Jason Zambelli which decimates any chance they had of going back to back. Broken Hill will be competitive on their home course but whether they can play to the same standard in Sunraysia remains to be seen. With four divisions of pennant this year the SDGA is cock a hoop and anticipating some great competition between the eight clubs.

TRI-STATE MASTERS FUN AND GAMES
The 20th Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters was a fantastic week of golf, social activities and catching up with old and new friends. John Daffy bought two mates down from Brisbane and created history at the presentation dinner by making his only ever short speech. Peter Fox from Northern Golf Club in Melbourne was the toast of the week being hailed as Black Caviar ? unbeaten after twenty events. Sue Laird put on a dominant performance and could win ten in a row if her plans come to fruition. Six golfers from Coomealla, Riverside, Portsea, Beechworth and Victor Harbor received ten year awards and ten players received five year badges. Graham and Heather Duckett and Maurice O?Rielly from the Mahunga Golf Club in Masterton on New Zealand?s North Island were awarded with Daffy Legend Awards for outstanding service and commitment to the Tri-State Masters tournament. O?Rielly responded saying??We love coming to Mildura to play in this event. There is nothing like it in New Zealand and we build our annual holidays around the Tri-State Masters. We either come a week earlier or later and go to Sydney or Melbourne to see the footy. We will definitely be back next year?.
Seventy eight new faces played in the tournament this year which augers well for next year and thereafter. We were thrilled and grateful to receive so much support from local companies and the three host golf clubs. The partnering sponsorship from the Mildura Rural City Council and Destination New South Wales enabled us to advertise the tournament in three national and State golf magazines, giving the event unprecedented exposure and awareness. We were hoping that someone would have a hole in one as there hasn?t been one since 2007but 50cm was as close as it got on the eighth at Red Cliffs on Wednesday Plans are already under way for the 21st Tri-State Masters with several new innovations that will hopefully make the tournament even better and add to the slogan of the tournament which is ?it?s always nice to meet nice people and that memories live longer than dreams?.

LUKE DONALD BACK AT NUMBER ONE
England?s Luke Donald regained the number one ranking in the world after defending his 2011 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club near London. Last year Donald won the tournament that elevated him to the number one position in world golf. Since then he has lost the top spot, regained it, lost it again but now he is back on top and looks there to stay, for a while at least. Donald is so consistent in every facet of the game and looks perfectly balanced throughout his swing. Ninety five thousand people attended the tournament, naturally most were cheering for Donald and equal runner up Justin Rose as the top Englishmen competing, as Lee Westwood didn?t feature. Donald?s number one priority now is to secure his first Major tournament victory. The US Open is only two weeks away, then the British Open in July followed by the US PGA in August.
World Rankings 1 Luke Donald 2 Rory McIlroy 3 Lee Westwood 4 Bubba Watson 5 Matt Kuchar 6 Justin Rose 7 Hunter Mahan 8 Jason Dufner 9 Tiger Woods 10 Steve Stricker.

SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
Scores in the mix for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week were a bit thin this week after the cooler weather and less run on the fairways. Down at St Arnaud three Red Cliffs ladies, Sue Johns, Jill Gleeson and Sheryl Blagus won the triples event of the day in a fine performance on Sue?s old stomping ground. Locally Sheryl had 41 points at Red Cliffs, Des Foreman net 66 at Merbein but Red Cliffs stalwart Jill Eyles was best this week with 43 points. Jill can collect her prize of four laminated placemats of Sunraysia?s finest golf holes, which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
26/5/12
LAIRD WINS SIXTH TRI-STATE MASTERS
Coomealla ladies club champion Sue Laird won her sixth Tri-State Masters title last week. Laird set a new mark for future tournaments by breaking her record score by four strokes. In doing so her aggregate score of 231 was one stroke better against par (217) than of the men?s winning score where the aggregate par of the three courses is 216. Yesterday Laird spoke of her preparation for the Tri-State masters and the Country Teams tournament held later in the year, ?Earlier this year I made a commitment to practice very hard for the Tri-State masters and Country Teams as we are in division two this year. I joined the Sunraysia Golf Range and also arranged to play metropolitan pennant for Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne. I won some games and lost a few close ones that I could have won. One of the ladies at Commonwealth was very supportive and suggested I read a book called The Inner Game of Golf.
Reading this book really helped me. Playing pennant at that level was terrific and I learnt a lot about myself and about my golf. I really wanted to test myself because I believe I can become a better golfer? Laird recorded rounds of 78-75-78 winning by 20 strokes from Portsea?s Jenny Jeffreys who plays off a four handicap. ?This was the best tournament in six years and my best performance in the event. I really love the Tri-State, the people are lovely and everything is so professional, I can?t wait till next year? she said.
Riverside?s Steven Spooner won his second title in the tournament after winning in 2009. Spooner was overcome with emotion as the final putt dropped at Coomealla on Friday and explained why at the presentation dinner that night??In 2009 I felt it was a Steven Bradbury victory as Peter Bywaters had been disqualified after the second round leaving me in front. Naturally I was delighted to win but it wasn?t in ideal circumstances? Spooner had played very little golf before the tournament as he had taken on coaching his boys junior football teams. This virtually cuts out weekend golf and Wednesday golf due to training and playing. ?I love playing the Tri-State masters and this year our company had the opportunity of sponsoring a hole in one for $10,000, so obviously I wanted to be part of the action. I had absolutely no aspirations of winning but more so looking forward to the social side of the tournament. This was my ninth year and during that time I have met some great people and it is always great to meet up with them every year. This year though, I was crook as were many other locals, so the social festivities for me were minimal compared to other years? Spooner was two shots behind going into the Red Cliffs leg and tried to ring to pull out early on Wednesday morning. As my phone wasn?t on he decided to play anyway, if not for himself but for the other three members in the teams event. After being three over par in the first four holes he felt as if he had made the wrong decision to play but he plugged on and after parring the last nine holes he was still only two shots behind. On Thursday he rang to say that if a replacement could be found he would withdraw from the Thursday social ambrose at Coomealla. On being told no, he played, and played very poorly. On Friday we was matched up in the seeded group with two prodigious hitters in Steven Hopgood and Bruce Lindner whilst the tournament leader Bob Weber from Victor Harbor, was more his length off the tee. Kooyonga?s Lindner, who was equal with Spooner five putted the first hole beginning his run of 43 putts for the day. Hopgood double bogeyed the first leaving him six shots back. Spooner began brilliantly going one under par after four holes and turning one behind Weber after nine holes. On the 17th tee Spooner led by one shot, then watched Weber make his first big mistake of the day when he cut his drive deep into the trees resulting in a double bogey. After three in the bunker on 18 Weber watched as Spooner signed for a 75 and a five shot victory.
Local golfers to win other 54 hole sections included Ian Dickason Riverside who won the men?s A grade section, David Lewin Coomealla B grade, Bob Smith Coomealla C grade, Robert Lawn Red Cliffs veterans, Stan Prymke Coomealla super veterans and Lorraine Erny Robinvale super veterans. Winners of the 54 hole stableford aggregated teams section were Craig Tung, David Gardiner, Sue Laird and Steven Spooner. The runners up were Traralgon?s Glenn and Peg Thomas and Syd and Chris Payne who won this section last year. There was no hole in one recorded but the nearest to the pin for the week was Muirfield?s Matthew Walther who after hitting it to 50cm on the 8th at Red Cliffs, took a photograph of the ball beside the pin and texted it to his family with the caption? ?this is how close I was to winning a Honda?
Next year the 21st Tri-State Masters will be conducted from May 19th ? 24th.

 
24/5/12
LAIRD THE INVINCIBLE
Coomealla Golf Club?s Sue Laird displayed all of skills on Wednesday at Red Cliffs Golf Club in the second round of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters. The conditions at Red Cliffs in the afternoon round tested all players to the hilt. Strong winds followed by dust made it extremely difficult to just shots off the tee and more particularly into the green. Laird followed up her 78 at Mildura on Monday with an outstanding 75. This leaves her fourteen strokes clear of Portsea?s Jenny Jeffreys and in an unassailable position to take her sixth Tri-State Masters title in a row. In the men?s championship Victor Harbor?s Robert Weber overcame an overnight three shot deficit to lead by two strokes after an impressive 77. Weber, a left hander is playing in the tournament for the first time after being invited to play by 10 year player and 2010 champion Peter Bywaters. Equal second place holders are Riverside?s Steve Spooner and Kooyonga?s Bruce Lindner. Spooner was almost a late scratching on Wednesday as he and his family are all suffering with the flu. After an excellent 78 which saw him four over par after five holes, he was delighted that he had taken the tough option to play in the morning group. Spooner won this tournament in 2009 and his company ..the Vines Retirement Village is one of the $10,000 hole in one sponsors. Lindner made only one par in his last eleven holes in his topsy turvey 79. A prodigious hitter, he struggled to keep the ball on the fairway and suffered the consequences. Four birdies made up for a lot sins and remains only two shots back going onto a course he has played many times before. Overnight leader Steve Hopgood who played with Lindner and Spooner, was also wayward off the tee and couldn?t find his customary recovery shills often enough to improve on his score of 82. At only four shots back, he is still an excellent chance to hoist the trophy for the first time. In the daily stableford sections, Sue Laird was best in A grade, Howlong?s Lorraine Berra topped B grade and Jeanette Tochett from Midlands was best in C grade. For the men, former Grange club captain Wayne Owen was top dog, Wynnum?s David Keir from Brisbane was best and Dan Carmody from Royal Hobart won C grade.
This is the 20th staging of the Tri-State Masters, after having dealt with three clubs in NSW, three clubs in South Australia and six clubs in Sunraysia over that period, the effort, support and commitment from the committee and members at the Red Cliffs Golf Club has been nothing short of outstanding. Kym and I were overwhelmed by the way in which Red Cliffs members rallied to put on the best possible show that they could and we and the people who played are very grateful for that show of support. Yesterday Coomealla hosted an ambrose in fours and today will host the final round of the tournament.
 
23/5/12
WHITEHOUSE TOO GOOD AT RED CLIFFS
Mildura Golf Resort?s Ashley Whitehouse is the 2012 Red Cliffs open champion after two excellent rounds of 71-71. On Saturday Whitehouse was one shot clear of Coomealla?s Tim Peterson followed by Justin McPhee, Greg Rhodes and Jacob Slimmon. Tim Walker, Brad Steer and Robert Veit were on the next line after returning 75?s. On Sunday Tim Walker was first out as he was leaving for Melbourne that afternoon. Walker parred the course to be the leader in the clubhouse until Cameron Stewart joined him after a one under par 71 after 76 on Saturday. The seeded group on Sunday was Ashley Whitehouse, Tim Peterson, Greg Rhodes and Jacob Slimmon. Whitehouse has played consistently this year with top five placings at Riverside, Mildura and Merbein and leads the district scoring average. On Sunday he continued his great play to record his second 71 for the weekend after turning two under par on the front nine. Peterson couldn?t get in the same step as the day before and fell back after a 77. Rhodes couldn?t find his rhythm of the previous week at Merbein and returned a 75 as did Jacob Slimmon. Justin McPhee also turned two under par to put the pressure on the leader but his charge finished on the tenth when he lost a ball. Whitehouse has increased his lead in the district averages and will be difficult to catch with a further four opens still to be played. The winners so far this year are Tim Walker at Riverside, Justin McPhee at Mildura and Greg Rhodes at Coomealla and Ashley Whitehouse at Red Cliffs. All of the district?s top golfers are really putting in the hard yards this year and enjoying the close competition. This year the players themselves seem to have made a pact to support as many open tournaments as possible with a view to honing their skills in preparation for a real tilt at the division one Country Week title in September.
ROBINVALE OPEN
Ashley Whitehouse and Greg Rhodes head up the entries for the Robinvale Open this Sunday. The Robinvale Open is the only open tournament to play two rounds of 18 holes on the one day. Confusion still exists with some players thinking the tournament is over 27 holes but Robinvale Golf Club Manager refuted that yesterday, ? I don?t know where the 27 holes came from but our open is definitely over thirty six holes. Our golf course is in it?s best condition for a long time and we are looking forward to hosting lots of players from other district clubs?. He said. The Stewart boys always play well at Robinvale and Jacob Slimmon has a good record there also. Robinvale has always been one of my favourite courses, it suits the player who can position his ball off the tee. Big hitter really don?t have the advantage that they enjoy on longer more expansive courses.
TRI-STATE MASTERS
The Tri-State Masters got off to flying start on Monday at the Mildura Golf Resort, club manager Marcus Guthrie was beaming yesterday after the reports back from visiting golfers regarding the golf course condition and the whole resort in general. ?We are delighted to host the first two days of the tournament. Quite a lot of the visiting players are staying in the resort and on Monday we played hosts to a significant group who dined in our restaurant after golf. Being relatively new to this position I learnt a lot from talking to some of the visitors about what their golf clubs are doing. How they attract new golfers and the initiatives they employ to get them started, keep them interested and the input I received should prove to be very useful for our club moving forward?. He said. On Monday night almost 70 people were coached over and back to Trentham Estate and they loved the picturesque setting of the restaurant and winery. Last night 35 Tri-Staters dined at Stefanos and tonight more than 100 will stay on for a roast and comedy night at the Red Cliffs Golf Club. Tomorrow the Coomealla Golf Club will welcome over 120 players for a medley ambrose and tomorrow night the PS Mundoo will rock and roll down the magnificent Murray River. The Tri-State Masters is not just about golf, it?s about friendship, camaraderie and enjoying yourself. In a world where people seem to have lost the art of communication with texts, facebook, twitter and emails, we enjoy seeing people talk and laugh together socially. I rember before television came to Mildura in 1965, parties where on every Saturday night a someone?s house, people would enjoy each other?s company. We like to think that the Tri-State Masters brings a little bit of those times to many people who remember how it was and how it still can be.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week the scores for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week weren?t all that flash. It was in the Tri-State Masters on Monday at the Mildura Golf Resort where the cream rose to the top. Royal Melbourne?s Jane Derham has been playing in the event since 1998 and recorded her best score in the tournament with 44 points. She was pipped though, by one the tournaments major sponsors Jason Williams who had an excellent 45 points, breaking his handicap by nine shots. Jason wins four laminated placemats of some of Sunraysia?s best holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
 
22/5/12
The first round of 20th Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters hit off at the Mildura Golf Resort on Monday, with conditions almost perfect. The golf course played quite tough for most players with only eleven players out of the field of 236 bettering their handicap. Sue Laird continued her great record in this tournament shooting 78 to lead Portsea?s Jenny Jeffreys by seven shots. It is most unlikely that Laird would surrender such a big lead and a sixth consecutive ladies champion title looks assured. In the men?s championship it is much different with at least eight players still in with realistic chance. Coomealla?s Steve Hopgood played his fifth game of golf for the year and had two very different nines. The first nine hole was all about getting some touch back, he turned in 43, seven shots over par. On the back nine he racked up three birdies to come home in 33 to find himself in the lead by one shot. Robert Weber from Victor Harbor and Bruce Lindner from Kooyonga Golf Club both recorded 77?s. Three locals share the next line on the leaderboard with 78?s, they include Dave Gardiner, Graham McLellan and 2009 champion Steve Spooner. Cyril Saunders from Gisborne and 2011 champion Craig Tung are lurking four shots behind on 80?s. In other sections Jason Williams who is a major partnering sponsor of the tournament (Auto Synergy ? Honda) had the best round of the day in C grade with 45 points. Coomealla?s Dave Lewin leads B grade from Murifield?s Matt Walther and Coomealla?s Gary Klippel. Best score for the ladies came from Royal Melbourne?s Jane Derham who recorded her best round in fourteen years in the event with 44 points to lead B Grade, whilst Peg Thomas from Traralgon leads C grade. Yesterday a 4BBB was played at the Mildura Golf Resort and today the second leg of the tournament hits of at Red Cliffs, where $49,000 worth of hole in one prizes are on offer on the five par 3?s. Coomealla Golf Club will host an ambrose tomorrow and the final leg of the tournament on Friday.
 
16/5/12
PETERSON THE EAGLE AT RIVERSIDE
Tim Peterson was the man of the moment at Riverside on Saturday after holing a nine iron for eagle on the ninth, which was his last hole. Peterson and Leigh Fuller were one shot behind tournament favourites Justin McPhee and Ashley Whitehouse in the Sunraysia District Golf Association?s annual Lever Blair-Seeley 4 BBB championship. The pair finished with a combined seven under par 65. Ashley Whitehouse played ordinarily on the front nine but missed a birdie putt on the 18th that would have given him a personal 29 off the stick for the back nine holes. That is golf at the highest standard. Had the putt dropped it would have meant a playoff with their Country Week mates. Peterson had lost a six hole playoff the week before to Greg Rhodes in the Merbein Open, he carried that form into the Lever Blair-Seeley event. Fuller or the?fossil? as he is known, lent great support at the right time which is so crucial in a pairs best ball format. The scoring was terrific at Riverside which is in great shape and getting better all the time. It was disappointing that not all of the Sunraysia Country Week aspirants were in the field as they are the recipients of an excellent package from the SDGA in September. The field of 100 was up on last year but if the SDGA get really fair dinkum and promote it more effectively, a field of 200 is achievable. Saturyday though, was a step in the right direction.
MCPHEE OR WALKER AT RED CLIFFS?
District golfers are looking forward to the Red Cliffs Open this weekend. The golf course is in its best ever condition and it will be tough. There is little run on the fairways as the grass is so lush. Red Cliffs is the second longest course in the district behind Coomealla, five par fives and five par three provide lots of risk/reward holes. The course favours the long straight hitters but get off the fairway and its tough going. The red loam rough means you have to catch the ball first or you will get a ?flubber?. This course is Greg Rhodes worst result course in the district but over the last two Opens at Red Cliffs he is square with the card for 144 holes. That makes him the man to beat again. Ashley Whitehouse has had his best start to a season for some time and is leading the district averages after three Opens. So far this year though, he hasn?t got a win behind his name, which will make him all the more determined to win. A look at the Open honour board sees the Stewart brother Andrew and Cameron feature prominently over the last ten year. Most of the locals at Red Cliffs will be rooting for Justin McPhee or Tim Walker. Both players have recorded a win this year and they know the Red Cliffs course better than the visitors. Following Red Cliffs will be the Robinvale Open over 27 holes on May 27th. District men?s pennant will then hit off at Broken Hill on June 2nd and 3rd.
CLUBS READY FOR THE TRI-STATE MASTERS
Everything is in readiness for the 20th Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters beginning on Monday at the Mildura Golf Resort. New greens will be open at all three clubs, Coomealla opened up four new greens on the 7th, 8th, 13th and 14th on Saturday. They played beautifully, the new bunkers are really playable as well. Riverside recently opened their new green on the par 4 sixth hole and it is getting better by the week. The tournament gets under way on Sunday with registration for the 240 players from 11am ? 4pm at the Mildura Workingman?s Club. The opening Cocktail Party begins at six pm at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club with 300 invited guests. On Monday $20,000 from Sunraysia Medical Imaging is up for grabs with a hole in one on the 18th plus a Honda Jazz from Auto Synergy on the 2nd and $10,000 worth of floor coverings on the 14th from Carpet Choice. Hopefully a few locals will turn up to have a look on these holes. We are still looking to have some more local people volunteer to act as scrutineers on the par 3?s next week. I would really appreciate it if you have some time and could sit on a par 3 and observe on behalf of the insurance company covering the one shot wonders. Phone 0419208337.
KUCHAR THE PLAYERS CHAMPION
Matt Kuchar won the 2012 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday. Kuchar is not your stock standard looking professional golfer as he big and gangly and looks more like a basketball player. His swing isn?t what you would call orthodox either, but he gets into position and putts really well. In 1997 he won the US amateur and followed up with low amateur in the US Masters and US Open in 1998. In 2000 he turned pro and recorded his first win in 2002. By 2006 he has slipped badly and was back playing on the secondary Nationwide Tour. One win that year saw him back on the main tour in 2007 and in 2009 he had his second PGA Tour victory seven years after his first. The Players Championship has a purse of $9.5 million with $1.7 going to Kuchar. Not bad for a country struggling economically. The golf course at Sawgrass is a brute. The fairways are cut really low and your ball can scoot off into the water that surrounds fourteen of the eighteen holes. The par 3 seventeen is only 110 metres but the green is surrounded by water and on average sixteen balls go into the water per day in every round of this tournament. I played Sawgrass thirteen years ago and donated some balls to the water gods. What an experience it was.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Most weeks you have to have an outstanding score to win the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week, but this week?s winner put in an absolute cracker jack performance. Greg Chandler is a past president of the Sunraysia District Golf Association where he made a more than significant contribution to district golf. Whilst being a consistent golfer over the last twenty years, he has not been known for low 70 scores. On Saturday though, he knocked up a 73 off the stick for a net 62! Now beat that and play fair. I played with leading district cricketer Mark White on Saturday at Coomealla and watched him carve out a most impressive 75/64 which was top quality golf, but alas, no cigar. Greg can collect his prize of four laminated placemats of some of our districts best holes from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golf news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
9/5/12
ALL SYSTEMS GREEN AT COOMEALLA
Coomealla Golf Club will be back to full strength on Saturday when the club opens up four new greens for competition play. Over the last three months since the works began the competition fields have dropped off by almost twenty five per cent and green fee traffic has also decreased significantly. Many people from South Australia that usually stay and play in Coomealla have gone on to places such as Murray Downs and Echuca, whilst others have shortened their stay. The Coomealla greens are over thirty years old and last year the club decided to replace all of them over a four to five year period. The decision was made with the realisation that there would be short term pain for long term gain. Nine of the eighteen greens have now been replaced with a new grass that is more suitable for our weather and soil condition, which has a much higher ph balance than some other districts. Last year the club replaced five greens including the first, second, third, twelfth, thirteenth and eighteenth greens. Three weeks after the new greens were sewn a deluge washed away most of the seed and they had to be resewn. This put the greens back significantly and the Coomealla green staff were racing against time to have them back in play by mid-year. After twelve months those greens are in excellent condition. On Saturday members and guests will test out new greens on the seventh, eighth, thirteenth and fourteenth holes. The new greens look an absolute treat after being mown every day for the last three weeks. The new greens have been flattened out somewhat, compared to some of the severe slopes that were treacherous when the greens are cut to the hard and fast requirements of the club open and championships. Yesterday course superintendent Aussie Cummings said ?We have tinkered a little bit with the green levels on seven and fourteen in particular. This will allow us to have more pin positions for our monthly medal and major championship days. We learnt a lot last year with the problems we encountered, weather wise and from a timing perspective and that has really assisted us this year. On top of that the weather this year has been almost perfect, balmy days and nights which has been ideal for completing the project in eleven weeks?. One area of concern over the last thirty years has been the greenside sand bunkers. The original bunkers did not allow enough drainage and the clay soil underneath made it difficult to achieve consistency from one bunker to the next. Finding the right sand has also been difficult but this year a new washed sand with a more uniform particle size looks to be the answer to the problem. ?We have channelled out the bunkers on the new greens so that they have steeper faces. This will allow any ball to roll back into the middle of the bunker allowing a fairer shot. At the same time we have been mindful of retaining the original aspect of the holes. We feel that the vista from the tee will be much better than before as the bunkers will stand out with the lighter colour sand against the vivid colour of the greens. We are very excited about the new greens and bunkers and are looking forward to the reaction from our members and visitors. We still have nine greens to go that will be completed in the next two years?. Cummings said. This Saturday as an added incentive for local golfers to have a game on the ?new? course, double trophies will be distributed in both the men?s and ladies fields. The new greens are a welcome addition and just in time for the 20th Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters the following week.
LEVER BLAIR-SEELEY 4BBB AT RIVERSIDE
The Sunraysia District Golf Association Lever Blair-Seeley 4BBB championship will be conducted at Riverside Golf Club this Saturday. Almost every top golfer who has played in Sunraysia over a period of time has featured on the winner?s podium in this event. For many years it probably was seen as a bigger event than the actual Sunraysia District Championship. In recent years the shine has gone off the trophy somewhat but this year the SDGA are endeavouring to present it to district golfers with a renewed confidence of restoring the event to the prestigious event it once was. Phone Riverside on 50 231560 to place your two man entry.
SCRUTINEERS FOR THE TRI-STATE MASTERS
The Sunraysia golf Tours Tri-State Masters hits off at the Mildura Golf Resort on Monday May 21st and continues on to Red Cliffs, Riverside with the last two days at Coomealla. This year the tournaments many generous partnering sponsors are offering $204,000 in hole in one prizes divided up amongst the 20 par 3?s over the five days. The insurance company covering the potential cash and prize payout require two independent scrutineers on each par 3 hole insured. That means over the five days we need up to 40 people to act as scrutineers. If you have some time and would be interested in seeing some exciting golf shots and maybe a few others, then please give me a call if you would like to help out. It would be very exciting to witness someone knocking it in the hole to maybe win a Honda Jazz motor vehicle or $20,000 cash from Sunraysia Medical Imaging or one of the other great prizes. It is something that you would always remember. It will be such an exciting week and terrific fun to be involved. If you have some time to spare and would like to be involved, give me a call on 0419 208 337.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
More good weather has seen a levelling out of scores around the district. The lush green golf courses have reduced the run on the fairways and scores are similar to last week. Six players came in six better than handicap, they included ? Mildura?s Frank Argiro, Coomealla?s Mark Furey, Ian Flemming and Bruce Liddell at Riverside and Greg King and Josh McAskill at Wentworth. The winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours ? Round of the Week is ?Lethal? Lee Sutherland who had seven better than his handicap at the Mildura Golf Resort. Lee can pick up his prize of four laminated placemats of Sunraysia?s best golf holes from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Good golfing to all.

 
7-5-12
The oficial registration for the 2012 Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters golf tournament has been transferred from the House of Golf to the Mildura Workingman's Club 90-124 Deakin Avenue Mildura between 11am and 4pm on Sunday May 20th. The dining room will be open for snacks and lunch and naturally the bar will be open for soft and stronger refreshments. The House of Golf at 347 Ontario Avenue is open from 9am until 6pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and from 9am til 9pm from Tuesday through til Friday. A licensed bar operates after 4pm on weekdays and all day on the weekend. The House of Golf has the best range of golf products in North West Victoria and are looking forward to providing a friendly professional service including all club repairs to all of the Tri-State Masters visiting golfers. Their phone number is 03 50 229440.
 
1/5/12
RHODES BACK ON TRACK AT MERBEIN
Sunraysia?s greatest ever golfer Greg Rhodes, was back to his best at Merbein Golf club on Sunday in the club?s first home Open for three years. After two ordinary performances at Riverside and Mildura where he was restricted through an injured hamstring, he bounced back to the form that local people have come to expect over the last thirty years. On Saturday Sunraysia District Golf Association new junior development officer Tim Peterson, called on Rhodes to play with him and two juniors. Young Abe Nemes and Harrison Dawbin were then given the opportunity of witnessing two of Sunrayia?s elite players virtually putting on a clinic. Peterson played superbly on Saturday finishing with a 69 after turning one over par after nine holes. In most sports left sided elite athletes always appear to have more time than their right sided opponents, in golf however, many lefties look plain awkward. Peterson has a golf swing to die for, much like another left hander in Jason Zambelli. The very top lefties in golf are usually, technically, outstanding in every department. The back nine at Merbein offers some great birdie opportunities and Peterson took advantage of this with three birdies. His best though, came at the par five 14th where he smashed driver driver to eight feet, then drained the putt for eagle. Rhodes, who had previously won twice at Merbein was within reach after turning one under par and finishing up with 72. Imagine how the two juniors must have felt watching the two big boys going toe to toe for 36 holes. On Sunday Peterson started poorly triple bogeying the par five second which is regarded as the easiest hole on the golf course. It certainly isn?t easy though, if you hook your drive out of bounds! A three putt on the next hole and Rhodes was back in front for the first time in fourteen holes. Peterson regained the lead on the back nine but Rhodes drew level to force a playoff later in the afternoon. All up the two youngsters had witnessed a dozen birdies and an eagle on a very difficult golf course. After playing in the morning the sudden death playoff began at 4-30 that afternoon on the first hole, then the eighth and finally the hardest hole on the golf course, the right to left dogleg ninth. Still all square after three pars they set off again with a full gallery in tow. Both parred the first and the eighth until Peterson was left with an eight footer for par on the ninth to continue the playoff. That was where it ended. It had taken 42 holes to achieve a result and Rhodes was just that fraction more precise at the right moment, as he had been on more than one hundred occasions in local opens since the early eighties. Watch out for Peterson now that he is back in full throttle mode. There were several other noteworthy performances including Ashley Whitehouse who had a 70 on Sunday maintaining his consistency with another podium finish maintaining his number one ranking so far this year. Wentworth?s Matthew Lynch had one good round at Mildura last week but fired in two 73?s at the weekend to finish fourth. Tom Holmes registered his best open performance with a sixth placing after consistent rounds of 75-77. The open was a great success for the smallest club in the district with the biggest heart. Club captain Frank Drayton was delighted with the support the club had received for the event. On Sunday he said ?It is terrific that we are back on our own course for our open this year. We are so pleased that all of the boys who played have been complimenting us on the condition of our golf course. We play here every week and know how good it is now but to hear that from the visiting players is very satisfying. Everyone is a volunteer at Merbein so we worked really hard to have the course in this condition. Hopefully word will get around and lots of people will come out to Merbein and have a hit. They will be made most welcome?.
There is no doubt that if the Merbein Golf Club had the resources and facilities that the bigger district clubs have, then it would be equal to any club in the district, layout wise. Greg Rhodes yesterday summed up the thoughts of many other players saying, ?I thought the golf course was in excellent condition. The people at Merbein do a fantastic job. The pace of the greens was the same as Mildura?s last week and a pleasure to putt on. I really enjoyed playing there at the weekend?.
TOP 10 MERBEIN OPEN
1 Greg Rhodes 2 Tim Peterson 3 Ashley Whitehouse 4 Matt Lynch 5 Tim Walker 6 Tom Holmes 7 Sean Baumgurtel 8 Darren Bottomly 9 Andrew Thomas 10 Phil Moisidis
SUNRAYSIA TOP 10 AFTER 3 OPENS AT rIVERSIDE, MILDURA AND MERBEIN
1 A Whitehouse 2 T Walker 3 G Rhodes 4 J McPhee 5 C Stewart 6 S Baumgurtel 7 D Mannix 8 M Lynch 9 T Holmes 10 S Toma
FORMER AFL FOOTBALLER FAVOURITE FOR 2012 TRI-STATE MASTERS
Former Geelong and Adelaide Crows footballer Bruce Lindner has entered the Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters for the first time this year. Lindner has been a regular golfer in Adelaide playing as a member at Grange Golf Club, then Kooyonga where he keeps his three handicap and at Links lady Bay. Two years ago he lost a playoff for the club championship at Links Lady bay when his opponent chipped in for eagle from eighty metres out. Last year he had his revenge when he won the playoff for the 2011 title. Lindner, formerly from the Riverland was a top footballer with West Adelaide in the SANFL in the early 80?s before moving to Geelong in 1985. After winning Geelong?s goal kicking in 1986 he went on to be chosen in the 187 and 1988 All Australian teams. In 1989 he was Geelong?s top possession winner in what many people still regard as the greatest grand final of them all against Hawthorn. In 1991 he moved back to Adelaide to play for the inaugural Adelaide Crows combination. A trail bike accident finished his career the following year and he took up golf to help heal his leg which had been broken in four places. Lindner, who hits it out of sight, is the equal low marker in the Tri-State Masters this year along with Steven Hopgood and John Keogh. In the ladies section Sue Laird is odds on to take her sixth title in a row with only Portsea?s Jenny Jeffreys likely to challenge her winning streak.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Another beautiful week weather wise but the scores were relatively overcast compared to the conditions. Chris Nugent was six better than handicap at Riverside, Brett Johns equalled that at Red Cliffs as did Darren Bottomly and Graham Kerr at Merbein. We couldn?t split Abe Nemes at Merbein or Kath Underwood at Red Cliffs who both had seven up on handicap. As such both players will receive four laminated placemats of Sunraysia?s best golf holes as dual winners of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the week. These prizes must be collected by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Rannge 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing news or views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
25/4/12
McPHEE TOO McGOOD IN MILDURA OPEN
Justin McPhee won the 2012 Mildura Golf Resort Open on Sunday after coming from two shots behind clubhouse leader Cameron Stewart. McPhee is stamping himself as a top ten candidate for a Sunsaysia ?best ever? representative team after multiple Open victories, club championships and country Week performances. On Saturday Cameron Stewart played flawlessly to shoot 35-34-69, after recording three birdies and fifteen pars. There he sat at the top of the leaderboard with twenty players within ten strokes below him. The seeded group on Sunday were Stewart, McPhee, Ashley Whitehouse and Chris Thomas. McPhee had come in with a 71 to be matched by Thomas who has shown improvement in the last twelve months after winning the Riverside Club Championship in 2010. Thomas is not regarded in the top echelon yet, but he is slowly but surely edging closer. Ashley Whitehouse showed last week at Riverside that he is serious about Open golf this year with rounds of 73-73 and third place. On Saturday on his home course he returned a par round which is very good, but not his absolute best. Jake Slimmon was next best on 73, again very good but can do much better. The two players who stood out though, were Steven Fumberger (74) and Oscar Mannix (73). Mannix has fired in low rounds such as this on a few occasions, he is loaded with potential but whether he wants to step up to the top level consistently depends on him really wanting to do that. Fumberger shot seven better than his handicap, coming in ahead of names such as Walker (76), Rhodes (79), Andrew Stewart (81) Brad Steer and Sean Baumgurtel (84). These players are all well performed Country Week players so Fumberger can be well pleased with his performance. On Sunday McPhee shot out of the blocks as he did on Saturday shooting 34 around the front nine. Whitehouse turned square with the card, whilst Thomas struggled with a 39 and Cam Stewart turned six over par to be five shots behind McPhee. McPhee continued his consistent play around the back nine dropping only one shot. Whitehouse parred the nine giving him 18 pars but no birdies. That is where the game is won or lost. He who gets the most putts wins. The Mildura Golf Resort was once again lauded for the brilliant condition of the golf course. New greenkeeper, new ideas, lots of rain and lots of enthusiasm has ensured a renewed attitude from everyone at the club. Well done to all concerned.
TOP 10 LEADERBOARD
1 Justin McPhee Red Cliffs 2 Ashley Whitehouse Mildura 3 Darren Mannix Riverside 4 Cameron Stewart Mildura 5 Tim Walker Red Cliffs 6 Shay Toma Mildura 7 Robert Veit Riverside
8 Chris Thomas Riverside 9 Greg Rhodes Coomealla 10 Brad Steer Coomealla
TOP 10 LEADERBOARD AFTER RIVERSIDE & MILDURA
1 A Whitehouse 2 T Walker 3 J McPhee 4 C Stewart 5 S Baumgurtel 6 D Mannix 7 G Rhodes 8 S Toma 9 J Slimmon 10 B Steer
MERBEIN BACK ON THE OPEN CIRCUIT
Merbein Golf Club is back on the Open roster in Sunraysia golf. It has been well documented over the last few year the problems that the club has faced. The good news is that the future looks bright. The golf course is back to its best ever condition after lots of rain, irrigation and tender loving care from the greens committee and their helpers. Entries are still being called for and anyone playing at Merbein this weekend will receive the traditional Merbein welcome (regarded by many as the best in district golf). Over the last fifteen years Ashley Whitehouse has the best record at Merbein. Based on that record he should win. The key to the golf course is that you must be prepared to accept that the ball will bounce a little differently to other courses. The greens are different and so the ball reacts differently on approaches and pitches. Whitehouse enjoys the Merbein course and this attitude is important for success. Greg Rhodes hasn?t played a lot at Merbein over the years but will be determined to improve on his recent form where he has been severely restricted due to a ?football? injury. On Sunday at Mildura, Sunraysia?s normally fittest golfer rode in a golf cart to the amazement and in some cases, amusement of onlookers. Tim Walker finished sixth at Mildura and will be keen to win at Merbein as will former Merbein Open winner Tim Petersen. Peterson has recently commenced an apprenticeship as a green keeper at Coomealla Golf Club, he is really enjoying the outdoor involvement and challenge that greenkeeping offers. Who over wins at Merbein this weekend, there is no doubt that the biggest winner will be the Merbein Golf Club. The club has recently installed Post Office boxes for the locals to collect their mail and the club is really bouncing at present. By the way today is traditionally their club opening day so if you would like a hit with some really nice people, rock up around noon and you will be made most welcome.
HOLE IN ONE - BIG TIME AT THE TRI-STATE MASTERS
I have spending the last four months researching holes in one, regarding statistics, golf holes and of course sponsorship and prizes. In golf there is a statistic for everything, usually relating to the select few. To have a hole in one is nearly every golfers dream but it is a feat that absolutely every golfer can achieve. Go to the golf records book and you will find golfers that have had consecutive holes in one, multiple holes in one on the same hole in consecutive rounds and a plethora of other feats of glory. The list goes on. Locally John Fricke has holed out on the two hardest par three?s in the district, Mildura Golf Resort?s 18th and Coomealla?s 3rd. Both hole are over 200 metres long. Whilst it is unlikely that your average golfer can pop one in on one of those holes it is not unreasonable to expect to hole out at some stage in your golfing career as golfers of all levels have proved many many times. Next month the Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters is offering $210,000 worth of prizes over the five day tournament. Sunraysia Medical Imaging are offering $20,000 for a hole in one on Mildura?s 18th. Auto Synergy are offering three Honda Jazz motor vehicles for a hole in one on the 2nd at Mildura, 18th at Riverside and the 18th at Coomealla. Murray River Salt, The Vines Retirement Village, Hotondo Homes, Tankard Dental and the Mildura Workingman;s Club are all offering $10,000 for holes in one on their sponsor holes. Throw in $10,000 worth of electrical products from Jack Abell, a $10,000 Cookes Pools and Spa?s spa, $10,000 worth of floor coverings from Carpet Choice, $10,000 worth of furniture from Tilley?s, a $10,000 Yamaha Golf Cart, two Ireland Golf Tours from Sunraysia Golf Tours, $5,000 from Pedders Suspension, $5,000 from Aussie Disposals and 2,000 from the Red Cliffs Club. It all adds up to the biggest and best array of hole in one prizes ever offered in amateur golf in an Australian tournament and it is happening in Sunraysia!
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
It is Open season and all district golfers are enjoying our beautiful weather, great course conditions and terrific camaraderie. Five players played seven shots better than handicap last week to be in contention for this week?s Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. Scott Minion at Mildura, Don McMaster and Chris Gibbie at Riverside and Fred Campbell at Wentworth were all great contenders. The standout round however, was that of Mildura Golf Resort?s Steve Fumberger who shot a 74/65 in the Open on Saturday. He wins hands down and must collect his prize of four laminated placemats of some of our districts best golf holes from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email to golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
18/4/12
WALKER WINS RIVERSIDE OPEN
Tim Walker is the 2012 Riverside Golf club open champion after two impressive rounds of golf at the weekend. Walker began brilliantly on Saturday shooting a three under par 69 to lead overnight by two stokes from Sean Baumgurtel and three from Phillip Lawn. Walker has worked on his game over the summer and looks ready to leave his mark on local golf this year before he leaves for the United States in August. On Saturday he kept the ball on Riverside's tight fairways and missed few chances for birdie on the greens. Playing partner Jacob Slimmon was impressed with Walker's consistent ball striking and his completion of the job on the greens. "Timmy just kept hitting fairways which gave him lots of chances of hitting greens. Riverside has some tight landing areas and I found it difficult to hit it into the right places. Tim putted really well which was the two shot difference between us at the end of the day". Baumgurtel hasn't played much golf this year but put in his best open performance for some time shooting 71. Ashley Whitehouse hit the ball well for a 73 but found the small greens difficult, as did the majority of the field. On Sunday eight players stepped onto the tee still with thoughts of winning the golf tournament. Cameron Stewart played steadily for 73-73 to finish third but was probably thinking more about his new son of three days than his golf score. Greg Rhodes was first off in the morning still smarting from his three putt double bogey on the eighteenth the day before. The saying usually is "beware of the injured golfer" but this wasn't the case for Rhodes who had torn a hamstring on Friday night kicking a football. Another 74 left him in the unfamiliar position of equal fifth along with Jacob Slimmon who followed up 73 with a disappointing 75. Defending champion Justin McPhee couldn't find his 2011 form and finished seventh after rounds of 74-75. Rounding out the top ten were Brad Steer on 152 along with Tim Petersen and Andrew Stewart was equal tenth with Phillip Lawn on 156. 2011 Club champion Marg Lampard was declared the ladies winner by five shots after rounds of 85-87 to win from Lorraine Palmer who had 91-86.
The tournament was another great success for Riverside Golf Club who had to overcome green staff illnesses and call on volunteers to have the golf course in tip top condition for the open. It is a credit to those people and their club spirit and teamwork who had the course looking a treat.
MILDURA OPEN AFFAIR
The Mildura Golf Resort Open tournament has become the most popular local open 36 hole tournament in district golf. Last year almost 200 men and women lined up to battle it out for some excellent prizes. Tim Walker announced himself as the hottest player in town after he stormed home with 73-66 to win from Cameron Stewart. Walker has again begun the year in fine style and will be looking to go back to back for the first time in his short career. Cameron Stewart came out of the blocks firing on all fours last year birdying four of the first six holes to eventually finish with 67. That score equalled Ashley Whitehouse in the 2010 tournament. With most of the districts top golfers in the field it should be a real shootout come Sunday. District Open golf is wide open this year, probably for the first time pre Greg Rhodes with Tim Walker appearing to be the man to beat. There are six or seven others this year who believe that they can win the tournament each time they tee it up. On past form and with the golf course being in best ever condition, the winner will have to shoot low numbers, perhaps even four under par to win. There are still vacancies for both men and ladies so give the club a call today on 50 23 1147 if you would like to be part of the fun.
WENTWORTH LADIES OPEN
A field of forty ladies took to the Wentworth golf course yesterday for the 2012 Wentworth ladies open. Coomealla's Marg Baird was the winner with 85 from Riverside's Fiona Turlan. Whilst the field was a little disappointing the day was enjoyed by all. The next ladies open tournament is this weekend at Mildura followed by the Golden Putter next Tuesday at the Mildura Golf Resort.
WORLD MEN'S RANKINGS
1Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland 2 Luke Donald England 3 Lee Westwood England 4 Bubba Watson USA 5 Hunter Mahan USA 6 Martin Kaymer Germany7 Steve Stricker USA 8 Tiger Woods USA 9 Phil Mickelson USA 10 Justin Rose England
EUROPEAN TOUR - CHINA OPEN/ US PGA TOUR - TEXAS OPEN
The China Open begins tomorrow as the next stop on the European Tour. Australia's Scott Strange is a past winner and will tee it up alongside some of Europes best golfers. Ian Poulter heads the list of competitors along with Paul Casey Peter Hanson and the Molinari brothers. The Texas Open is where the US PGA Tour lands this week with nine Aussies hoping to win their first US tournament for the year.
WORLD LADIES RANKINGS
1 Yani Tseng Taiwan 2 Na Yeon Choi Korea 3 Suzann Pettersen Norway 4 Christie Kerr USA 5 I. K. Kim Korea 6 Sun Ju Ahn Korea 7 Jiyai Shin Korea 8 Ai Miyazato Japan 9 Stacey Lewis USA 10 Paula Creamer USA
LPGA LOTTE CHAMPIONSHIP IN HAWAII
All of the world's top ten will be in Ohau Hawaii this week for the LPGA Lotte Championship. Australians in the field include Karrie Webb, Katherine Hull, Lindsay Wright and Sarah Kemp. As the world rankings suggest, it is pretty darn hard to beat the Korean girls or Yani Tseng but if Katherine Hull can put it all together then she has the game to go right to the top of the leader board.
2012 SUNRAYSIA DISTRICT RANKINGS
1 Tim Walker Red Cliffs 2 Sean Baumgurtel Coomealla 3 Ashley Whitehouse Mildura Golf Resort 4 Cameron Stewart Mildura Golf Resort 5 Greg Rhodes Coomealla 6 Jacob Slimmon Coomealla 7 Justin McPhee Red Cliffs 8 Tim Petersen Coomealla 9 Brad Steer Coomealla 10 Andrew Stewart Mildura Golf Resort.
BEER, FISHING, GOLF AND WOMEN
A man was walking down the street when he was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless man who asked him for a couple of dollars for dinner. The man took out his wallet, extracted ten dollars and asked, "If I give you this money, will you buy some beer with it instead of dinner?" No, I had to stop drinking years ago," the homeless man replied. "Will you use it to go fishing instead of buying food?" the man asked." No, I don't waste time fishing," the homeless man said. "I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive." "Will you spend this on green fees at a golf course instead of food?" the man asked. "Are you NUTS!" replied the homeless man. "I haven't played golf in 20 years!" "Will you spend the money on a woman in the red light district instead of food?" the man asked." What disease would I get for ten lousy bucks?" exclaimed the homeless man. "Well", said the man, I'm not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you home for a terrific dinner cooked by my wife." The homeless man was astounded. "Won't your wife be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting." The man replied, "Thats okay. It's important for her to see what a man looks like after he has given up beer,fishing,golf, and women! SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Beautiful weather and excellent course conditions saw the scores come down significantly around district golf courses last week. Six players bettered their handicaps by six shots including Red Cliffs Jill Gleeson and Travis Johns, Mildura golf Resort's Pat Rogan and Peter Rhodes and Max Watt at Riverside. Gordon Bettess and Nick Goodieson went one better at Riverside and Jimmy Stephens was one better than them. The Sunraysia Golf Tours round of the week goes to Mildura Golf Resort's Aaron Lucchesi who had 45 points to be nine better than his handicap. Aaron wins four laminated placemats featuring some of Sunraysia's great golf holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with your golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
11/4/12
2012 RIVERSIDE OPEN
The first Open of the year will be conducted at Riverside Golf Club this weekend. The golf course has been in brilliant condition in recent months, so all is in readiness for some great scoring. Last year Red Cliffs Justin McPhee won from a fast finishing Cameron Stewart. This year any one of up to eight players could be the 2012 Riverside Open champion. Greg Rhodes is always the favourite in any local tournament he contests. Rhodes is the name most featured on the Open winners board at Riverside with around twenty victories at the picturesque course. Ashley Whitehouse is virtually the forgotten man in district golf as he hasn't been a factor in local opens for several years. It really always depends on how he begins in the first round as to whether he will feature in the finish on Sunday night. Cameron Stewart on the other hand seems to be a better late finisher than a first round leader. He is the one that could really fire in the opens this year. Tim Walker began well last year but had a disappointing second half of the year. Last year he was completing his schooling so this year he should be ready to take the next step and be a factor on Sundays in all of the opens. Ryan Laird didn't play many local events last year choosing to contest tournaments in Melbourne but it is time that he showed some form locally after all the work that he has done on his game. Brad Steer has been out of golf the past couple of years but this year he is back bigger and better than ever. Brad has agreed to represent Red cliffs in their return to division one pennant this year and his inclusion will be welcomes with wide arms from Justin McPhee, Tim Walker and another recruit in Tom Holmes. Holmes is another interesting player who may emerge as our best junior prospect this season. Tom prefers hockey and cricket to golf but if that ever changes, lookout. Anyone who saw any footage of the US Masters last week will attest that it is the short game, particularly the putter that wins golf tournaments. Riverside does not favour the long hitters but more the player with good imagination and good touch around the green. The player who handles that best this weekend will be the 2012 Riverside Open champion.
2012 US MASTERS -BUBBA BIGGER AND BETTER
Every year the US Masters at the Augusta national Golf Club in Georgia signals the the start of the "real" golf season in the US and all over the world. It has been a major tournament since it began 76 years ago but the term "major" was really officially coined by Jack Nicklaus when he nominated the four major tournaments that he concentrated on every year. Hence, the US Masters, US Open, British Open and US PGA Championship became known as the four Majors. Whilst the Masters is the youngest major, it has developed some wonderful traditions that are recognised and strictly adhered to every year, many of which have been adopted as the "norm" at golf tournaments all over the world. The champions dinner at the beginning of the week can only be attended by past champions who eat what the current champion orders for the menu. The first shot or shots as was the case this year are hit by the honorary starters, this year it was Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. The course announcer introduces the players on the first tee and welcomes them on the 18th green as they conclude their rounds. The top few amateurs from around the world are invited to play, as they are in the US and British Open's. All of these ceremonies become bigger and more important as the years go by. The awareness and respect of these traditions are really important, particularly for the new golf professionals making their way in the game. In a world where many traditional values and respect for the past and past values are forgotten, the US Masters is, as it has always been and will continue to be, the absolute custodian of the transfer of golfing values from one generation to the next. The Masters is still an invitation only tournament but these days all of the top golfers in the world are "invited" to participate. The Augusta national Golf Club only includes invited men to apply for membership which currently sits around 300 members. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are the only known golf professionals to be members of Augusta National, which, by US standards is not expensive compared to some of the exclusive golf clubs in America. The course is closed from late May until mid October, so it is not like your every day club membership. As well as the championship course there is an 18 hole par 3 course and a further 9 hole par 3 course. This year it was all about how Tiger would perform and whether Rory McILroy would bounce back from his collapse last year. Past winner Fred Couples shot out of the blocks and hung around till the last round. Woods kept out of the Woods but couldn't hit a green or make a putt. Jason Day began injured and pulled out in the second round. Adam Scott had a hole in one on Sunday and fired up when it was all over, citing his putter had let him down again. Sweden's Henrik Stenson came to the 18th on Thursday six under the card, then quadrupled the last hole. Sweden's Peter Hanson then South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen looked like they would spoil the American dream until Gerry Watson emerged from the pack. Gerry or "Bubba" as he prefers is a cult figure on the US circuit. Nobody hits it further than the left handed Bubba. He shows more imagination than anyone else in the game and is reminiscent of the legendary Seve Ballesteros in his recovery shots. Bubba is very popular with most of the other professionals and is quite often seen on a variety of programs in the US from his own self styled reality show with Bubba to his religious life style with friends such as Zach Johnson and Aaron Baddeley. He lost his dad to cancer last year but gained a baby son two months ago. Both of these events contributed to his emotional reaction to winning his first major. I for one was pleased to see how much it meant to him and that it is OK to see a grown man cry in public and not be known as a "cry bubba".
MILDURA PACING CUP GOLF DAY ON FRIDAY DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE
Owners, trainer, drivers and trotting followers will congregate at Riverside Golf Club on Friday April 13 for the Annual Mildura Pacing Cup golf day. This was a great event last year. The event is an medley ambrose in 4's and provides an excellent opportunity to rub shoulders with the harness racing's golfing enthusiasts and relax before Saturday night's big meeting. Registration at Riverside Golf Club at 8-30am for a 9am start. Cost is @30 per player which includes a competitor gift pack, 18 holes, BBQ lunch and great trophies. Entries from singles ,two's or teams of four must be forwarded to Shane Doherty by tomorrow on 0419208337 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
2012 TRI-STATE MASTERS - ENTRIES CLOSE THIS FRIDAY
Entries for the 20th sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters to be conducted from May 20th - May 25th will close on Friday April. We have been delighted with the local entries from 55 locals who will meet and play with golfers from 80 golf clubs around Australia and New Zealand. Entry forms can be downloaded from the sunraysiagolftours.com.au web site, only eight spots left but be quick! For more information call 03 50 245699.
Sunraysia Golf Tours - Round of the Week
Last week there was a tie for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week but this week there was no contest with James Hancock shooting a net 62 at Mildura Golf Resort. James bettered his handicap by ten shots with the nearest to him in the district being three shots back. James has not been playing all that long and won't see his former handicap of 25 again for a long time. James wins four laminated placemats featuring the districts most picturesque golf holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiadaily.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
4/4/12
GOLF SEASON FULL STEAM AHEAD
After my family, my two greatest loves are golf and football. After returning from our New Zealand golf tour last week I stayed on in Melbourne and attended the football on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Three terrific matches and two great results but that's another story. Around the world everyone is looking forward to the US Masters beginning Friday morning. Locally the golf season hit off on Sunday with the Sunraysia District Golf Association Mixed Foursomes at the Mildura Golf Resort, which drew one of it's best fields in recent memory. This was in part due to the timing, (usually held at the end of the year) the venue and a stronger emphasis on promotion of district events by the SDGA. This weekend Sunraysia's golf courses will be filled with holiday makers from both local and afar. Next week the Riverside Open will commence the beginning of the "serious" golfing season for most keen golfers. All local clubs are reporting that their courses are in best ever condition due to the rain over the last eighteen months. Riverside is always well supported so an early entry will avoid disappointment. The following weekend the Mildura Golf Resort Open is scheduled and that is also sure to be booked out. To close out April the North West Women's Golf begin winter pennant on Sunday April 29 and Monday April 30.
US MASTERS - THE ROAR OF THE CROWD
The US Masters is without doubt the most watched televised golf event of the year around the world. It is the youngest "major" but it is the most exciting. Last year South Africa's Charl Scwartzel birdied the last four holes to overcome our Aussie boys, Jason Day and Adam Scott by one solitary shot. Geoff Ogilvy was there right up to the last couple of holes as well. Every year, particularly since Greg Norman's exploits in the 80's, we have hoped and prayed for an Australia victory in the Masters. It really is an amazing place, having visited there in the late 90's, it just oozes atmosphere and excited anticipation. They say that life is all about anticipation and expectation and so it is again this weekend. Tiger Woods looks to have got his mojo back and is on the prowl. Last year he made a charge in the last round and the roars of the crowd were deafening. The other players reported that it was the loudest they had ever heard a crowd in a golf tournament. The Augusta golf course has many undulations and it isn't hard to understand how those screams, roars and applause would reverberate around the course, just like it was right beside you. Nobody but nobody excites a crowd like Tiger Woods, love him or hate him, he still is "the man". Many pundits believe that Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy will reverse what happened last year and win. Last year he began the last round four shots clear of the field but a disastrous triple bogey on the tenth crippled his charge for his first major victory. The fact that he backed up and smashed everyone in the next major in the US Open said much about the little fella's ticker. The key to Augusta is putting the ball into a place on the fairway to get the best angle at the pins and then to execute with the putter on arguably the fastest greens in the world. Will an Aussie win? I don't know but it would be great for Australian golf if that happened. The impact would be enormous from junior interest and awareness right through to club memberships, green fees and golf equipment sales. We only have a small contingent of players qualified this year but here's hoping.
TRI-STATE MASTERS ENTRIES CLOSE 13
Entries for the 20th sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters will close on Friday April 13. The response this year has been fantastic from both locals (56 entries) and golfers Australia wide. Almost 100 ladies and 140 men have entered already but there is room for almost twenty more players. The format is a shot gun 7-45am start and another 12-15pm shot gun start. Stableford is played on each of the competition days with the A graders also competing for scratch trophies. There are seven sections for each gender: Champion, over 50 champion, A, B and C grades, over 55 and over 65. Often players are eligible in three or four sections giving them a greater chance of winning a major trophy. There is no doubt that the prizes on offer are the best ever offered in Sunraysia and possibly in amateur tournament golf in Australia. Entries have been received from 79 golf clubs with 74 players entering the tournament for the first. Whilst there will be almost $150,000 in hole in one prizes up for grabs on the three official days of the tournament, more than $40,000 worth of hole in one prizes will be offered in the two social days. The first being the medley 4BBB stableford at Red Cliffs on the Tuesday May 22nd and the Ambrose in fours at Coomealla on Thursday May 24th. Included in the hole in one prizes on both days will be a Sunraysia Golf Tours golf tour to Ireland on September 7th valued at $8,000. Only players entered in the tournament are eligible to play on these day. Entry forms can be downloaded from the sunraysiagolftours.com.au web site but be quick!
MILDURA PACING CUP GOLF DAY
Owners, trainer, drivers and trotting followers will congregate at Riverside Golf Club on Friday April 13 for the Annual Mildura Pacing Cup golf day. This was a great event last year. The event is an medley ambrose in 4's and provides an excellent opportunity to rub shoulders with the harness racing's golfing enthusiasts and relax before Saturday night's big meeting. Registration at Riverside Golf Club at 8-30am for a 9am start. Cost is @30 per player which includes a competitor gift pack, 18 holes, BBQ lunch and great trophies. Entries from singles ,two's or teams of four must be forwarded to Shane Doherty by Thursday on 0419208337 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
ETHICAL DILEMMA
Let's say you were playing in the club championship matchplay finals and the match was halved at the end of 17 holes. You had the honour and hit your ball a modest two hundred and twenty metres to the
middle of the fairway, leaving a simple six iron to the pin. Your opponent then hits his ball, lofting it deep into the woods to the right of the fairway. Being the golfing gentleman that you are, you help your
opponent look for his ball. Just before the permitted five minute search period ends, your opponent says, "Go ahead and hit your second shot, and if I don't find my ball in time, I'll concede the match". You hit your ball, landing it on the green, stopping about ten feet from the pin. About the time your ball comes to rest, you hear your opponent exclaim from deep in the woods, "I found it!". The second sound you hear is a click, the sound of a club striking a ball. The ball comes sailing out of the woods and lands on the green, stopping no more than six inches from the hole. Now here is the ethical dilemma: Do
you pull the cheating so and so's ball out of your pocket and confront him with it or do you keep your mouth shut?
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The conditions were fairly tough last week with only two players recording 43 points. Steve Wilmann at Riverside and Cameron Stewart at Coomealla both shot 69 off the stick. The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week is shared between Riverside's Zac Robinson and John Tesoriero who both win four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's best golf holes. These must be picked up from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Saturday this week as the Sunraysia Golf Range is closed on Good Friday.
Contact me with your golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
28/3/12
New Zealand Golf Tour - JUST PERFECT - 7TH TIME AROUND
Sunraysia Golf Tours first began hosting golf tours in 1993 with a long coach trip from Mildura to the Gold Coast. Twenty seven locals were joined by eighteen New Zealanders for our inaugural tour. Since then we have been back to the Gold Coast twice and to Perth WA three times, Ireland/Scotland twice, Tasmania five times and now to New Zealand seven times. It really has been a wonderful twenty years of going to some fantastic locations, playing some of the best golf courses in the world and best of all, making some lifelong friends along the way. All up we have hosted almost five hundred people, many of whom who still keep in touch with one another. The majority of these folk have been participants in the Tri-State Masters and each year it is like a reunion when they meet at the opening cocktail party and catch up on what has happened in the previous twelve months or even more since they last met. This year we have enjoyed probably our best ever selection of golf courses in New Zealand. We began with the Milbrook International Resort in Queenstown where Mildura?s Maurice Warn shot a 78 off the stick for 35 stableford points to the the best score in from Cobram Barooga?s Barb Hind. This was our fourth time at Milbrook where they have included another nine holes since our last game there in 2007. The golf course is opposite Michael Hill?s course where the New Zealand Open has been played for the last few years. That evening we took a cruise on the TS Earnslaw steamship and stopped off at a working sheep farm for our evening meal. It was an absolute feast. After dinner the property owner gave a most entertaining display of how to shear a sheep followed by a sheep dog mustering performance which included the owners humorous commentary. On the voyage back we were given a ?song book? and everyone joined in to sing along some of our old favourites. It is amazing how some of the quietest folk before dinner, fired up after a few wines around the man on the key board! Our second game was at Jack?s Point which is only three years old but is becoming widely regarded as New Zealand?s number one golf course. The weather was superb and the golf course was a real treat. The next day we coached up to the quaint former gold mining village of Arrowtown, where we visited A J Hackett?s original bungee jumping site and then onto wine tasting, cheese tasting and gift shopping at Gibbstons Valley Winery. The afternoon was ?free? but we all joined up to go up on the gondala?s to the famous Queenstown Skyline lookout where we were gob smacked with the magnificent views of Queenstown, the alps, the bungee jumping, para gliders and the parachute jumpers as they drifted back to terra firma. Coomealla?s Gary Klippel really hit his straps with 38 well earned points to be the only player to better 28 points. That evening we stayed on and had dinner on the balcony of the clubhouse where we were given complimentary ?sun hats? due to what New Zealanders described as the ?blistering sunshine?. It simply was a perfect ending to a great day on a fantastic golf course. An hour?s plane trip has us back in Auckland on Tuesday and we coached up to the Bay of Islands in what, by then, had become ferocious weather. On Wednesday we headed up to the Carrington Club with fingers crossed. After wine tasting and lunch some were in a less independent state than others (depending on how much wine tasting each had tasted) but fingers were all crossed that the rain would cease. The Carrington Club is one tough golf course at the best of times but after three inches of rain the difficulty is quadrupled. After four holes the rain soaked our group and only ten hard souls finished the eighteen holes. Gary Klippel was once again ?the man? and came in with an excellent score of 33 points to win from Mansfield?s Sue Parsons who had a creditable 32 points. Thursday was a free day where most of the group went boating around the nearby Islands. Maurice and Marilyn Warn elected to go jet boating out through the ?hole in the rock?. As the conditions blew up, there were a few suggestions that this might prove to be a hair raising trip. And so it was! After ten minutes Maurice asked the driver if he and Marilyn could relocate to the back of the boat, this was agreed to but it took some time to release Marilyn?s hands from the cross bar! She has vowed never to go anywhere near water again, let alone entertain the idea of going on any sort of boat. When questioned on his opinion of the boat trip Maurice could not elaborate because he had his head between his legs with his eyes closed all of the way! They can now tell their grandchildren they went jet boating but little else will emerge regarding the experience. On Friday we took off for Kauri Cliffs which is renowned all over the world as a top ten selection in the worlds most spectacular golf courses. From start to finish this was a great experience. The weather was perfect, the golf course was spectacular but very playable and the staff were most hospitable. Sue Parsons loved the golf course and played to her handicap of 14 with 36 points. Barb Hind (or B as we call her) was next with 34 points. This was a terrific experience which at the very least equaled our corresponding games it?s sister course Cape Kidnappers at Hawkes Bay on our previous two NZ tours. On Saturday we journeyed back to Auckland for some shopping and a stay at the Sky city Casino. That night we dined in the revolving restaurant which was mine and Kym;s personal non golfing highlight of the tour. The food was superb as was the spectacular views of all that Auckland has to offer. For the second tour in a row to NZ I convinced everyone that red 23 was a certainty at the roulette table after dinner, so they all contributed five dollars each into the pool. Down we went to wait for 23 to come up. Sadly there is no happy ending to that story! On Sunday we took off down to Taupo to play my favourite golf course in New Zealand, the Jack Nicklaus designed Kinloch Club. Everyone agreed what a great course it was but it had the best of all of our players. Cobram Barooga?s Helen Hall had her best round of the tour with 30 points to edge out The Dunes Marg Wilson by one point. That night we stayed on and enjoyed another excellent New Zealand meal in the clubhouse on course. On Monday after visiting the Huka Falls and saw jet boat learner drivers going through their paces, then it was off to Wairakei Golf Club. This course has been the most favoured by the majority of golfers on our previous six tours to NZ. Wairakei is as picturesque as any inland course that you would ever see and lived up to it?s reputation. Maurice Warn was best in with 30 points from Mansefield?s Bill Parsons. After golf it was back to our Taupo lakeside Copthorne accommodation for a swim in their hot pool. Last night we sat down to our presentation dinner at the Copthorne Harbour City in Auckland after a relaxing journey back through the mountains from Taupo. Coomealla?s Gary Klippel was awarded the Ellery Award for the champion golfer of the tour and Cobram Barooga?s Barb Hind received the ?Dotti? award for leading lady golfer. The Dunes Golf Club?s Dot Cootes was there to present the award on her tenth tour with us. Dot wasn?t able to play as she is awaiting back surgery but still made the trip on her third golf tour to New Zealand. Once again we were blessed with the weather, the sensational golf courses, magnificent scenery and another lovely group of people from eight golf clubs. It reinforces our motto of ?It?s always nice to meet nice people and that memories live longer than dreams?.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? Round of the Week.
Hopefully the weather in Sunraysia has been as good as here in New Zealand, by the look of some of the scores, it must have been. Gary Metcalf at Riverside and Nathan Wilton and John Thompson at Coomealla were all six better than handicap. Matt Lynch shot six under par to be six better than his handicap at Wentworth in an outstand display of golfing skill. The standout round at Coomealla was Reece Webb who knocked it around for 45 points to be nine better than his handicap. As the winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week, Reece wins four laminated placemats of Sunraysia?s best golf holes. The prize must be collected by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with any golf news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.

 
13/3/12
MILDURA GOLF RESORT BACK ON TOP
The presentation to members, guests and interested others at the Mildura Golf Resort last Thursday night provided a great introduction to the "all new" Mildura Golf Club. It has been well chronicled the ups and downs of the club over the last ten years but today's story is one of confidence and excited expectation for the future. Field numbers are soaring. Most Saturdays more than 130 players step out in the competition of the day and the Wednesday fields have been stead around the 80 mark. Back to Thursday night, Bob Shearer was the standout speaker, he bought it back to the heart and soul of why most of the people who were there had attended. They love golf. He posed the question: "what better place to live if you love golf? Shearer was there primarily to talk about the changes his company have already implemented and the next stage of the changes to the golf course. Many of us were waiting for a few golf stories but it was his mere presence and standing in the golf world that commanded our attention. He has won the Australian Open, played in the US Masters and the British Open, US Open and more Australian Masters tournaments than most golf professionals in this country. I had the privilege of playing with him in the first Riverside Senior Open ten years ago along with Greg Rhodes and Jason Zambelli. That night at the presentation dinner he spoke of his time at the US Masters and had everyone glued to his every word. He has been a long time member of the Southern Golf Club in Dingley and still spends much time at the club. Bob's wife Kathy has been the media liaison organiser at nearly all of the big Australia golf tournaments for thirty years or more, a lovely lady who was always so professional and pleasant to deal with. Golf Victoria editor Brian Meldrum spoke about his observations on golf and what is happening throughout the golf industry. Brian has been a keen golfer for many years and has been editing the magazine for ten years after writing for the Herald Sun for thirty years mainly covering horse racing.
Barry Plant gave an overview of golf course living which he is well credentialed to deliver as he lives on a golf course for six months of the year himself. Ten of the thirty blocks on offer in stage one of the project have already been sold, anyone interested in finding out more should contact Tense Venneri.
MILDURA JUNIOR OPEN
More than 40 juniors strutted their stuff at the Mildura Golf Resort at the weekend. Murray Downs fifteen year old junior Daniel Delmenico 73-81 fell over the line by one shot from Belvoir Park's Max Nachmann who stormed home with 79-73. Delmenico has only been playing golf for a few years but is another success story from the junior ranks of Murray Downs who run an excellent junior program. Sunraysia's contingent of juniors were never in the hunt with only Shay Toma posting a 73 on the second day after having round to forget on Saturday. Josef Moisidis and Patrick Gray did well in their sections on the handicap side but it is the scratch sections where we need more depth. Ryan Laird was playing in Melbourne and Tom Holmes was playing cricket but there is much work to do for junior development officer Tim Peterson before our district junior team is to be a force in country golf. Tim is as keen as mustard to get things moving but he needs the help of the clubs and importantly the parents.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF COURSE RENOVATIONS
The 20th Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters is still ten weeks away but everything is coming together in the preparations for the big week of golf and fun. The rain over the last 18 months has created problems in different areas but it has bought Sunrasysia's seven golf courses to an all time best ever condition. All four local golf courses being used in the Tri-State Masters this year are looking fantastic and are currently completing green replacements and maintenance. Coomealla Golf Club are in the middle of a green replacement program. Already new greens have appeared on the first, second, third, twelfth and eighteenth holes in the last twelve months. In May new greens will be ready for play on the seventh, eighth, thirteenth and fourteenth holes. Coomealla will replace the other nine greens over the next two years. Mildura Golf Resort will soon introduce a brand new hole on the second, change it's third to a par five, eliminate the sixth altogether and change the seventh to a par four. These changes should be ready for play at some stage during April. Riverside Golf Club have redone their sixth green and are planning to open it soon. Red Cliffs Golf Club is really looking a picture and have only minor repairs on their third green to have the course in tip top shape for the optional four ball best ball on the Tuesday of the Tri-State Masters week. Entries are almost full with only a few spots left so enter soon to avoid disappointment.
JARROD LYLE RIDING LIFE'S ROLLER COASTER
Last week the news came through that Shepparton golfer Jarrod Lyle has had a recurrence of leukaemia. Irrespective of where you are or what you are doing, this stops you in your tracks. Jarrod Lyle was on top of the world, newly married, new born baby on Saturday, then crash, chemotherapy on Monday! A medical check up for an insect bite discovered the blood abnormality and Jarrod and his wife flew back to Australia straight away. He has played on the US PGA Tour for the last three years and recently enjoyed his best ever finish in the US at Riviera where he missed the play off by two shots and tied for fifth. Everything was looking great, new wife, new baby and great form. Robert Allenby befriended Jarrod when he first contracted the disease as a 17 year old and has been a mentor during the last five years on tour. Last week he tweeted to everyone the bad news but reiterated something that we have always known about Jarrod. That is, he is a fighter from solid Victorian stock and he will overcome this latest hurdle. Our thoughts are with him and his family, good luck to Jarrod, we all look forward to seeing him back on the fairways soon.
JUSTIN ROSE WINS IN MIAMI
England's Justin Rose is the latest European golf to steal the headlines in the US after he won at Doral in Miami on Sunday. This was Rory McIlroy's first tournament since becoming the world number one last week. It looked for sixty holes like big hitting Bubba Watson was going to blow the field away. Seventeen under after 54 holes was science fiction like on what has been referred to as the "Blue Monster" since Ben Hogan called it almost seventy years ago. There are more balls in the water at Doral than you would find in your local pro shop. Poor old Sergio Garcia has been on a resurgent mission over the last twelve months but he came back to earth with a thud on the twelfth on Sunday. Four balls in the water and a resultant 12 had people checking if Sergio had had any contact with John Daly lately! It was the Englishman though, who fought his way to the top of the leaderboard with six holes remaining. Rose has been a special talent for ten years but he now looks the complete package. Two years ago Colin Montgomerie overlooked him for selection in the Ryder Cup team but it's London to a brick that he will be included in this year's team. By the way, Paul Casey had a hole in one on the fifteenth after telling his caddie at the beginning of the tournament that if he won a car, the caddie could have it. When Casey popped it in the hole his caddie went ballistic but soon came back to earth with a thud when told, moments later that the Cadillac was on offer on a different hole! (This won't be the case in this year's Tri-State Masters where every par three will have a minimum $10,000 prize including three Honda Jazz motor vehicles from Auto Synergy and $20,000 cash for a hole in one on the 18th at Mildura from Sunraysia Medical Imaging) This weeks tournament on the US PGA Tour is the Transitions tournament in Florida. The US Masters is will be conducted from April 5th - 8th.
NEW ZEALAND - HERE WE COME!
The next two 19th holes will come from Queenstown in the New Zealand's South Island and then from Taupo on the North Island the following week. This will be our seventh golf tour to New Zealand and we are really looking forward to some great golf, spectacular scenery and good company. We will be playing at Jacks Point and Millbrook in Queenstown, Kauri Cliffs and the Carrington Club in the Bay of Islands and Wairakei and Kinloch in Taupo. Mildura Golf Resort's immediate past president, Maurice Warn is the pre post favourite to win the Ellery Award for the champion golfer which is awarded to the player with the highest aggregate of stableford points. Maurice is a past winner and still plays consistently off a handicap of five. More news next week.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Lots more golf on Sunraysia golf courses this week with the beautiful weather. Five players bettered their handicap by six strokes including Wentworth's John Stephens, Coomealla's Jai Hudson, Riverside's Marty Sirovica, Ian Flemming and Claude Dawson. At Riverside Andrew Diwell had a day out to be seven better as was Dave Gardiner at Coomealla who parred the course off his handicap of seven. This week the standout round came from Riverside's 005 Ian Flemming who had 44 points. Ian wins four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia's best golf holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range by Friday.
Contact me with your golf news and views on email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
6/3/12
GOLF RESORT STYLE LIVING IN MILDURA
It all began as the Mildura Golf Club back before any of us were born. Sandscape greens, no motel, just a place where people gathered to hit a little white ball and play a game we know as golf. 100 years later, how things have changed as the club celebrates it's 100th year as a member club of the Victorian Golf Association. Mildura Golf Club became known as the Mildura Country Club when the on course motel was built, then the Mildura Golf Club Resort. It is now to be known as the Mildura Golf Resort and again it will be the first club in North West Victoria to introduce resort style living on course. As a little boy I can remember riding my bike past the club and looking over the fence at the people playing golf. I can remember looking at these people and thinking how grand they appeared, so far removed from anything a little boy could imagine. My father played golf at Mildura and as I grew older he took me down to the club and it still appeared to me that only the upper class played golf. I am not sure how the old man fitted in there but later on in the 70's he and his wife took over for a short time as the motel managers. In the late 90's and early 2000's the club began to go backwards in a financial sense and things became quite awkward for the committee and those charged with the responsibility of running the club. At this time a group emerged from the mist to offer an alternative to the direction of the club. There was much to-ing and fro-ing from the members but eventually that group of investors put their money on the table to continue and move forward, still as the Mildura Golf Club. That was 2004 and since then there is no doubt it has still been a struggle. Tomorrow night the culmination of eight years of blood sweat and tears will be accomplished when stage one of the Fairways Mildura development is launched. The launch is open to the public of Sunraysia and beyond to go down to the club and investigate the possibility of joining in on the ground breaking concept of living on a golf course in Mildura. The Mildura Golf Resort will provide resort style living in a unique living environment overlooking your own golf course. Thirty subdivided land plots are up for sale with quite a few already sold. This precinct will be located on the right hand side as you currently drive into the golf course beside the seventh fairway. Eventually 100 plots will be sold and a new community within our community will be born. Tomorrow night the official launch of Fairways Mildura by Mildura Golf Developments Pty Ltd will commence at 6pm with addresses from Barry Plant the selling agents, Bob Shearer from Bob Shearer Course Architecture and officials within the structure of the development. The editor of Golf in Victoria magazine Brian Meldrum (brother of Molly) will be in attendance to cover the launch and also do a Sunraysia Golf editorial for the next edition of the magazine. It really is going to be a grand event, pop down to the club tomorrow night and be a part of the excitement, you are sure to see some beaming faces on some prominent figures within the club, smiles that once were frowns. Good things come to those who wait.
NEW ZEALANDERS AT THE TRI-STATE MASTERS
Maurice O'Reilly and Graham Duckett will be competing in their seventh Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters this year. Maurice, Graham and his wife Heather are from Masterton on the North Island which is about 100 kilometres from Wellington and the home of former British Open champion Bob Charles. Graham and Heather's son Lance won the Tri-State Masters in 2004 and each year since a crew from Masterton and the Mahunga Golf Club have journeyed over to Australia. It is a fantastic effort considering the travel and extra cost but the Kiwi's look forward to catching up with the friends the have made in the tournament over the last seven years. These friends include the "nana's" from Beechworth who were surprise guests at Lance's wedding in 2007. It really is what the Tri-State Masters is all about - It is always nice to meet nice people and memories live longer than dreams.
PAUL WRIGHT WINS COOMEALLA STABLEFORD SHOOTOUT
The sixth annual Coomealla stableford shootout took place on Sunday, beginning with nineteen players and ending with one victorious. That one was Paul Wright who had been runner up in the event in 2009-2010. There could not have been a more popular winner. Paul, a policeman is recognised as one of the nicest most polite people at the club and he can swing a golf club. The shootout concept is terrific, be it a bit slow moving, particularly early on the first six holes. One player drops out on each hole until you have three players contesting the 17th hole. On Sunday Brett Thurman played exceptionally well until the 16th hole, he survived a near disaster but dropped out on the penultimate hole leaving Wright and Scotsman Hamish Glasgow to fight it out for the title. Hamish has persisted and kept hanging in there but on the last hole his luck ran out and he was runner up. At 70 years of age it was an excellent result particularly as we heard him constantly admonish himself each time the ball went in a different direction to what he had planned. Jodene Tuau won the ladies section from Nycole Riordan and Kate Murdoch. Whilst Paul Wright and Jodene Tuau deserved the plaudits of the crowd it is club captain Alan Scorer who deserves much credit. Alan introduced the shootout concept to the club after witnessing it in Dubbo and has run the event for six years. He had actually qualified for the event on Sunday but selflessly stepped aside to allow the next qualifier to play as he administered proceedings for the next seven hours. There is no doubt that with just a little bit of tweaking this format could be reduced by up to two hours which would make it more attractive to most players but the concept is terrific. Any form of matchplay golf is a wonderful experience, I recommend any club that is looking for something new and exciting should consider this event. Alan Scorer is the man to contact at he Coomealla Golf Club.
SUNRAYSIA SPORTS ACADEMY FOR JUNIOR GOLFERS
Applications close tomorrow for the Sunraysia Sports Academy 2012 Golf Program. Junior golfers from under 12 to 18 may apply. You don't have to be a good golfer as the program will be split into three tiers. Tier one will be for non handicappers, tier two for mid range golfers with a handicap of 13 or more and the advanced tier will be for children off 12 or better. The Sunraysia District Golf Association is right behind the program and has sourced funding from the Victorian Golf Foundation. Further funding opportunities will reduce the cost to the athletes involved which will be great news to their parents. An excellent range of activities is planned with every facet of golf, conditioning fitness and tournament play incorporated into the program. Anyone interested should contact the academy co-coordinator Deanna Kennedy on 50 213464 or Email acadamey2@malleesportsassembly.org.au.
SUNRAYSIA'S GOLF EVENTS IN MARCH
Fairways Mildura launch at the Mildura Golf Resort on Thursday night from 6pm till 8pm.
Demonstration night at the Sunraysia Golf Range from 3pm till 8pm with all of golf's biggest brands showing off their latest products including Taylor Made, Ping, Callaway, Mizuno, Adams, Nike, Cleveland and Tour Edge & Exotics. The night is free with everyone welcome to try all the latest and greatest equipment with 10,000 brand new Callaway range balls.
This weekend 36 hole Mildura Junior Open will be conducted for boys and girls under 18. Sections include under 12, under 14, under 16 and under 18. This is an excellent event for our district's junior golfers with $2000 in prizes and the event is an official Geoff Ogilvy junior event. Cost of $40 covers two rounds on Saturday and Sunday, evening meal, trivia and rules night and a sausage sizzle on Sunday. Enter today.
Entries are filling up for the Mildura Masters on Thursday March 15. Only twenty spots are still available, so contact Mal Goodieson 50 230211 or 0427 334 435 as soon as possible.
The Red Cliffs Golf Club's Concert on the Course will be celebrated on Friday March 16 for 7pm. This year the club is suggesting that all in attendance bring a BYO picnic tea but under no circumstances BYO alcohol. Cost is $15 per person or $40 per family and a top night is assured. Dancing on the 18th green to the music of Misdirected featuring Shane Pahl and Dave McMaster from the Squashed Frogs.
NORTHERN IRELAND'S RORY MCILROY - WORLD NUMBER ONE AT 22
The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens Florida at the weekend may be looked back on in years to come as the rebirth of the popularity of golf in America and indeed, around the world. It was an immense tournament with scenes that were reminiscent of great major tournaments or even from movies such as The Greatest Game Ever Played or even Tin Cup. Rory McIlroy won the tournament by two strokes from former world number one Tiger Woods who had stormed home with his best ever closing round of 62. McILroy had struggled all day from tee to green but time and again he got up and down with clutch saving putts. All during the roars ahead of him for Woods who was making eagles and birdies just like he used to with his customary gay abandon. McIlroy's rise to the number one position in the world rankings is something he has aspired to since he was a little child. At school when other kids were saying they wanted to be a fireman or a policeman he always responded that all he wanted was to be the number one golfer in the world. And he is at age 22. The world ranking system began in 1986 with Germany's Bernhardt Langer crowned the first number one for only three weeks. Spain's Seve Ballesteros held the position for more than year till Greg Norman took over for the next six years until Nick Faldo surpassed him for two years. Since then there were four more players at the top including Wales Ian Woosnam, Fred Couple, Nick Price and Tom Lehman who preceded Tiger Woods in 1997. All up Woods was world number one for 623 weeks with Norman second longest with 331. There have been six players since woods took over the mantle including Ernie Els, David Duval, VJ Singh, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald and now Rory McILroy. Close friend Graeme McDowell said on Sunday "The big difference in Rory's game is in his putting. More so his putting in pressure situations. That's what wins big tournaments". Two years ago McIlroy built a putting green and surrounding sand bunkers at his home in Northern Ireland based on what Woods had done at his home but even better. It remains to be seen if McIlroy can continue to equal Woods record or maybe, go even better. What a year in golf it is going to be!
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
And then came the rain and Sunraysia golfers stayed home, well most of them did and the scores were significantly higher. At Coomealla Steve Hancock and Ross Robertson were four better than handicap as were Red Cliffs Mal Blagus, Wentworth's Josh McKaskill and Steve Wait. Tony Wright was only one off the pace with 41 points but Mildura's Bill Forrester had 42 points last Wednesday to be the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week winner. Bill can collect his prize of four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia's best golf holes from the Sunraysia Golf Range open till 9pm on Friday.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
29/2/12
FAMILIAR FACES BACK FOR THE TRI-STATE MASTERS
Entries for the 2012 Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters have reached 80% of capacity and are certain to be closed off before the original closing date of April 7. As usual though, the smallest entry has been from the A grade players with only two single figure handicap ladies entered so far and only eight men handicapped from four to seven. Whilst the tournament is called Tri-State Masters, any player over 18 is invited to enter. Entries have come from 68 different golf clubs around Australia and new Zealand. Next week a further announcement on hole in one prizes for the two social days at Red Cliffs and Coomealla will add further interest to the tournament. Familiar faces in Shirley Nolan from Mansefield Golf Club and Tony Powell from Southern Golf Club are coming back to Mildura after a two year hiatus and it will be terrific to see them again. Shirley will be playing for the 16th time and Tony for the 13th year.
WALKER THIRD IN CENTRAL DISTRICT JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Eight Sunraysia junior golfers contested the Central District Junior Championship over 36 holes at Neanger Park Golf Club last weekend. The strong field included State representatives with some players on a scratch handicap including Red Cliffs junior Tim Walker. On Saturday the humidity proved as difficult to cope with as much as the tight undulating fairways. Tim Walker posted a 73 for Sunraysia with Ryan Laird next best on 84. Abe Nemes was the top handicap performer coming in with a 69 net to win the under 14 boys section on Saturday. On Sunday the wind sprang up providing further challenges for the youngsters. Sunraysia Junior Development Officer Tim Peterson encouraged the boys to stay positive and set their targets on bettering their Saturday scores. Five of the eight boys achieved this with Tim Walker equalling his previous day wit another 73. This aggregate was good enough to place Tim third overall in the competition. Abe Nemes recorded a 73 to be the top handicap performer for Sunraysia with 69-73. Patrick Gray improved his score by twelve strokes and Ryan Laird by nine. The two to three years will be a period of growth and consolidation with may of the district's juniors having moved on to university or out of the district.
Tim Peterson said yesterday "It was a good trip down to Bendigo. It was my first experience with the juniors and I was really pleased with their endeavour. Some boys weren't available due to cricket commitments but once the season is underway the SDGA is confident we can rebuild and continue the good work done in previous years. We are very keen for the local golf clubs to assist us in promoting golf to their juniors as it is so important for the development of golf in their clubs and in our district". Boys to participate in the championship were Tim Walker, Damon Southgate Red Cliffs Golf Club, Ryan Laird, Shay Toma Abe Nemes, Harry Dowbin and Patrick Gray Mildura Golf Resort and Josef Moisidis Coomealla Golf Club.
SUNRAYSIA ACADAMEY OF SPORT IS CALLING ALL JUNIOR GOLFERS
The Sunraysia Academy of Sport are calling for applications for their 2012 Golf Program from junior golfers aged 12-18 years of age. New SAS coordinator Deanna Kennedy yesterday called on all junior golfers to apply. "This year the Sunraysia Academy of Sport is determined to develop the golfing talent in Sunraysia with through the infrastructure at our disposal. Our committee have decided to structure a three tiered program focusing on three development groups. These levels include Development - no handicap required, Intermediate - have a handicap of 13 or over and Advanced who will be 12 handicap or better. We are very excited to re-introduce this program on a wider scale this year due to the enthusiasm shown by the Sunraysia District Golf Association through its President Steven Henshall and Junior Development Officer Tim Peterson. Funding to assist the program has been sourced from the Victorian Golf Foundation which will reduce the cost to the junior golf athletes. Further funding opportunities are also currently being explored which will further reduce the players cost. We are really pleased to have three accredited golf coaches including Brad Pitt from the Coomealla Golf Club, Michael McKenzie from the Mildura Golf Resort and Garth Doherty from the Sunraysia Golf Range to co-ordinate the different areas of the program". Ms Kennedy was appointed to the SAS in July last year as the Manager of Programs and earlier this year took over the coordinators role. Her background is in physical education and hockey coaching and administration, she comes into the position well credentialed and is very enthusiastic to drive the success of the golf program to become an important cog in the resurrection of junior golf in Sunraysia. Junior applicants can expect to have weekly golf tuition with an accredited coach, personalised "golf specific" conditioning programs, fitness assessments with Academy strength and conditioning coach, local golf tournaments, musculoskeletal Screening with Academy Physio, access to Academy Career and Sports Education programs, SAS shirt and cap and VRAS camp and tournament (advanced squad). Applications may be obtained by going to the www.sportsunraysia.com/sports/golf or from your golf coach. Applications will close next Thursday March 8th and all successful applicants will then be required to attend the Information Session at the Mildura Golf Resort on Sunday March 11 at the completion of the trophy presentation for the Mildura Junior Tournament. For any further information contact Deanna Kennedy on 50 213464 or email academy2@malleesportsassembly.org.au.


 
22/2/12
SUNRAYSIA DAILY MILDURA MASTERS
The Sunraysia Daily Mildura Masters charity golf day will be conducted for the twenty second year at the Mildura Golf Resort on Thursday March 15. Almost 2500 golfers have participated in the charity event since 1991 raising more than $60,000 for local charities. Originally all monies raised went to the Mildura base Hospital but these days it goes to assist the magnificent work of the Mallee Accommodation and Support Program known as MASP. Riverside's Alec Cattanach was the inaugural winner of the Gold Jacket from Doug Haynes Menswear. The colour of the jacket was changed some years ago as gold is a difficult colour to wear in public, although only dual winner Geoff Coyle was known to parade in his on special occasions! Last year Coomealla's Bluey Martin slipped the jacket on after recording 43 stableford points. In 2010 former Merbein footballer Matthew Grace created a tournament record with a whopping 48 points. Over the years well known district faces have climbed onto the rostrum to receive the top award including, John "Shorty" Sheahan, Mick Burke, Roy Costa, Robbie Donaldson, Geoff Martin and Jamie Lanyon. This really is a great golfing day on Sunraysia's calendar, it was a ground breaker for many similar events since 1991. The entry fee of $50 covers refreshments, an excellent evening meal, good company, great prizes and all for a wonderful charity. Enter soon or you will miss out, phone Mal Goodieson 50 230211 or 0427 334 435.
MILDURA JUNIOR OPEN
The 36 hole Mildura Junior Open will be conducted on March 12 - 13 for boys and girls under 18. Sections include under 12, under 14, under 16 and under 18. This is an excellent for our district's junior golfers with $2000 in prizes and the event is an official Geoff Ogilvy junior event. Cost of entry is $40 which covers two rounds on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th March, evening meal, trivia and rules night and a sausage sizzle on Sunday. Entry forms are available at all district golf clubs. This is a terrific tournament and it will be even better if all clubs assist by encouraging their junior golfers to enter.
NEW ZEALAND, BARNBOUGLE DUNES OR IRELAND
Sunraysia Golf Tours has four golf tours organised for the rest of 2012. On March 16 we will head off to New Zealand to play on arguably the country's six best courses, from the Bay of Islands at the top of the North Island down to Queenstown in the South Island. This tour is virtually a compilation of the very best in golf courses and accommodation from our previous six tours to NZ. In June I am hosting a "Men's Only" golf tour to Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm and the Country Club Casino in Launceston in Tasmania. Just by chance the tour will culminate when we will attend the North Melbourne - Hawthorn clash at Aurora Stadium after playing golf in the morning. In September we will be off again over to Ireland for a golf tour that will be our very best ever. The selection of golf courses and accommodation has to be seen to be believed! In November Kym will host her second annual "Ladies Only" golf tour to Lost Farm/Barnbougle Dunes which is almost booked out already! Seats are still available on all tours but phone straight away if you would like to join us in New Zealand on 0408 310 532.
ACCENTURE WORLD MATCHPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Tomorrow the first thirty two matches will hit off in the 2012 Accenture World Matchplay Championship at Dove Mountain in Arizona. Luke Donald is the world number one and he will be looking to go back to back this year. His first match will be an absolute cracker against Ernie Els who has a second to none record in world matchplay championships. This tournament draw plays the same as a tennis tournament, it is all knockout or be knocked out. Australia has six players including in order of ranking, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy and Greg Chalmers. A couple of interesting duels tomorrow include Dustin Johnson versus Jim Furyk and the Spanish duo of Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Golf In The 2016 Olympics In Rio
Whilst everyone is looking forward to the London Olympics this year, golfers the world over can't wait for the introduction of golf as an Olympic sport in 2016 in Rio. Tenders for the building of a golf course for the Olympic competition have come down to eight companies. After listening to eight forty five minute power point presentations by the top eight tenderers the selection committee has delayed making their choice of designer for one month. The course will be used for men and women over two consecutive weeks during the Olympics. Naturally the Americans expect the team of Jack Nicklaus who has enlisted Annnika Sorenstam as his female counterpart to win the tender. Australia has two companies vying for the job including Peter Thomson/Ross Perrett who have secured Karrie Webb as their female advisor and Greg Norman who has invited Lorena Ochoa to complement his team. The ladies have been added to the presentations by the companies, hopefully for their input in the design port folio and not just as a superficial facade of gender-political correctness. The selection committee will need to choose their designer very soon as a pre Olympics tournament is scheduled to be held on the golf course in 2015.
LOOKING FOR AN ECHO
A golfer hit his ball into a ravine, his golfing mates heard "whack, whack, whack", on and on until he finally got his ball out. His mate asked "How many strokes did it take you to get out of there"? "Three" he said, but his mate said "I heard seven". His reply was "Four of them were echoes."
PUTTING TIP FROM THE GOLF GURU
Go to any golfing practise facility and you will see people flailing golf balls all over the place. Cast your gaze over to the chipping and putting green and it will usually be empty. If you want to reduce your scores it is important to practise all parts of your game, including most importantly, your putting. Here is a drill that really works. Find a flat section of the putting green. Place two clubs apart slightly wider than your putter blade facing towards the hole with the two clubheads turned outwards. This "track" will help you focus on the line of the putt, while helping you groove a straight back and through swing path. After you make ten in a row, move the clubs further away and repeat the exercise. If you practise this exercise regularly you will become more consistent with your ball striking and squaring of the putter blade through impact. All clubs have a practise putting green as does the Sunraysia Golf Range which has a fifty by twenty yard putting facility.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE
The Sunraysia Golf Range celebrated its fifth birthday in November and is going from strength to strength. A second new plush grass tee was opened in November and has proved to be very popular with visiting golfers and locals alike. Additionally, new target greens are currently being planted. In March 10,000 brand new Callaway range balls will replace the existing balls. The current Callaway range balls will then become available for sale and are sure to go quickly. The opening hours for the Sunraysia Golf Range for the golf season beginning this week are Tuesday - Friday 9am - 9pm, Saturday - Monday 9am - 6pm. A demonstration night featuring all of the top golf companies new equipment is planned Thursday March 8th from 4pm till 8pm. Entries for the free football tipping competition are now being accepted with awesome prizes on offer. Five years ago the doubting Thomas's gave this facility one year before it collapsed but there is absolutely no doubt that the catchcry of "See you down at the range" will continue for many years.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Only a few scores to raise the eyebrows of district handicappers this week in Sunraysia. Alan Lay and Brent Heib at Mildura Golf Resort both played great golf along with Ash Davis at Riverside, all three were seven strokes better than handicap. The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week award goes to Mildura junior Shay Toma who scored an impressive 69 off the stick to better his mark by eight stokes. Shay has worked his way up the golf ladder in recent years and looks to have gained a measure of composure which is evidenced by his great scoring of late. Shay win four laminated placemats of some of Sunraysia's best golf holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range at 347 Ontario Avenue by 9pm on Friday.
Contact me with your golfing news and views on fax 50 247243 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
14/2/12
TRI-STATE MASTERS FIELD TAKING SHAPE
The 20th Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters looks set to be a fantastic Sunraysia sports championship this year in May. With eight weeks till the official closing date for entries the field is more than half full with more entries than the entire field in 2011 already received. Entries have been received from far away places such as New Zealand, Perth WA, Brisbane Qld, Sydney NSW, Hobart Tasmania and Tumby Bay in SA. With more than $200,000 in prizes and trophies on offer the Tri-State Masters looks to have grabbed the attention of golfers right across Australia. This month full page advertisements will appear in six golf magazines that go into every golf club in Australia which should ensure that the field will be full by mid March. Coomealla, Mildura and Riverside golf clubs are all completing greens renovations which will have their courses at their very best by May. A pleasing aspect of the entry list so far is the excellent response to the social functions this year which include a Trentham Estate Winemakers Dinner, Stefano's Dinner, Riverside Country Style Dinner and Comedy night and a Dinner Dance on the majestic PS Mundoo Paddleboat. This event will bring over $250,000 into our community which, in a tourism sense goes around five times so in effect it is worth $1.25 mil to Sunraysia's economy. If you wish to be included in the field, get your entry in by the end of the month, I guarantee you will have a ball!
SUNRAYSIA GOLFERS IN FORM OVER SUMMER
It hasn't been a particularly hot summer in Sunraysia but local golfers have really fired up since Christmas. Greg Rhodes has recorded the lowest score with a 66 at Mildura Golf Club Resort and several other sub par rounds at Coomealla Golf Club. Up and coming Mildura youngster Tom Holmes came in with a 68 at Mildura on the same day reflecting the excellent condition of the golf course. On Saturday Cameron Stewart shot 68 at Coomealla off the back tees in the Monthly Medal. Another Mildura junior commencing his golf career is Patrick Gray who recently came in with a 61 net signalling a rapid improvement over the summer. Other players to shoot low recently include Chris Thomas, Jason Zambelli, Tim Walker and Justin McPhee. Steven Henshall is the new Sunraysia District Golf Association president and he has an enormous job ahead of him to get district golf back on track. Whilst our Country Week team has performed admirably in recent years, our district events including junior pennant (cancelled), winter pennant and our District Open and Lever Blair/Seeley 4BBB have really dropped off. Steven has the enthusiasm but he will need loads of support from the clubs, delegates, his executive and a new district secretary. This person could be male or female, doesn't have to be a good golfer but someone who wants to be involved in district golf and be a hands on person. Brian O'Brien from Riverside was such a person and the best district secretary that I have seen in 30 years. Brian was a no nonsense straight down the middle administrator who immediately gained everyone's respect. We have some beautiful golf courses, excellent golfers and superb golfing weather. The right person to assist Steven and his new team would rally top the menu off. Are you that person? If so contact Steven Henshall or the president of your club now.
ROYAL MELBOURNE A TREAT FOR WORLD'S TOP LADIES
The Ladies Australian Open at Royal Melbourne was a spectacular event with a wonderful array of the very best lady golfers in the world strutting their stuff. American 18 year old Jessica Korda won in a six way play off. She really deserved to win because she had made the play all day. Our Aussie girls Nikki Campbell and Sarah Kemp were in the mix for a while but faded in the last round. Karrie Webb is Australia's best ever female golfer but she struggled from start to finish. Once again Royal Melbourne lived up to it's reputation which can only auger well for Melbourne/Australia's golfing reputation after the recent success of the President's Cup.
PEBBLE BEACH A PLAYGROUND FOR MICKELSON
The Pebble Beach Pro Am enjoyed it's biggest television audience in America for fifteen years at the weekend. This was because of Tiger Woods, simple as that. Of course Woods being in the same group as Phil Mickelson on the last day contributed additional interest as well. Woods was in contention but uncharacteristically went walkabout with his putter. Mickelson on the other hand was dynamite with the flat stick winning for the fourth time at Pebble Beach It sets up beautifully for the US Masters in April. Only a few shots back was Australia's Aaron Baddeley who looks set for a great year. Recognised as one of the worlds best putter's, Aaron at Augusta sounds good.
PETER SENIOR LOSES PLAYOFF ON CHAMPIONS TOUR
Australia's Peter Senior just can't get over the line and win his first tournament on the champions Tour in the United States. Playing in his 48th event on the tour he looked set to win going into the last round. This wasn't to be as he lost a play off to former US Open champion Corey Pavin's birdie at the first extra hole. For the seventh time for the day Senior left his birdie attempt an inch short. Afterwards he said "I putted awful all day, I was happy to make the last putt to get into the playoff but I don't think I've ever left that many putts short in my life". No less than sixteen major winners were in the field including third place getter Bernhardt Langer, Marc Calcavechia and Curtis Strange. It was Pavin's first victory in 122 starts including 35 on the champions Tour so hopefully Peter Senior's turn is not far away.
LOST FARM/BARNBOUGLE DUNES JUST PERFECT
Just returned home from our mini golf tour to Lost Farm/Barnbougle Dunes golf complex at Bridport in Tasmania. The golf courses which were recently rated fourth and fifth in Australia were superb as was the accommodation at Lost Farm. Golfers were sitting in the magnificent dinning room looking out over the sea at breakfast each morning contemplating on whether to just stay and sit and gaze out at the beautiful views or go and play golf. Once on the golf course we wondered why we lingered so long over breakfast as the golf courses are simply fantastic. Back in the dining room that evening we all discussed our golf, it was amusing to see and hear people lose their concentration on their golf scores and stories of the day as their concentration was interrupted by the beautiful evening views that so caught our attention at breakfast. Coomealla's Stan Prymke was our champion golfer of the mini tour from Heidelberg's John Deviny who is a seven year player in the Tri-State Masters. Our next golf tour will be our seventh to New Zealand on March 16th which is virtually a best of New Zealand from our first six tours there. (Four seats still available) The next tour to Barnbougle is a men's only tour planned for June with a ladies only tour planned for November. Let us know if you are interested in seeing and playing two of the best golf courses in Australia or the very best of New Zealand.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The 19th hole commences it's 11th year in the Sunraysia Daily today and it's great to be back again. The Round of the Week recognises the very best performances by Sunraysia's local golfers each week. This week there were some great rounds with Graham Lohmeyer at Red Cliffs and Mark McDonald and Michael Tierney at Coomealla six better than handicap. Bob Shipsides at Mildura, Len Worrell at Merbein and Nick Ciccarello at Coomealla seven better. Phil Lawn and Mark McDonald parred their courses at Wentworth and Coomealla whilst Greg Rhodes had a 70 at Mildura and Tim Walker at Red Cliffs and Cameron Stewart at Coomealla both shot four under par rounds of 68. To win the Round of the Week this week though it took some doing, we couldn't split Darren Biddle at Riverside with 11 better than handicap with net 61 or David Watts at Mildura with 48 points. Both men win six laminated placemats of Sunraysia's best golf holes. These must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by 6pm this Friday.
Contact me with any golfing news or views on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au or fax 50 247243
Good golfing to all
 
7/2/12
TUNG AND LAIRD TO DEFEND TRI-STATE MASTERS TITLES
Coomealla golfers Craig Tung and Sue Laird will defend their 2011 Tri-State Masters titles in the 2012 20th tournament on May 21st beginning at the Mildura Golf Club Resort then Riverside Golf Club and finally Coomealla Golf club. Last year Tung came from six shots behind in the last round at Coomealla Golf Club to win from fellow Coomealla golfer John Keogh. Tung's three rounds were 76 at Red Cliffs Golf Club, 77 at Riverside and 77 at Coomealla to win by one stroke after standing on the 54th hole all square with Keogh. Since then Tung who normally only plays golf on Wednesday's has reduced his handicap to three whilst Keogh is playing off two. Both players are eligible for the over 50 senior title this year as well. 2010 champion Peter Bywaters from Victor Harbor will be contesting the event for the tenth time along with 2009 champion Steve Spooner representing Riverside Golf Club lining up again for the eighth year. Coomealla's Sue Laird will be looking to win her sixth title running after recording rounds of 79-76 and 78 last year. Laird plays off four and is regarded as the top lady golfer in the Sunraysia district. John Keogh was the Senior champion in 2011 with rounds of 77-73-81 whilst Portsea's Jenny Jeffreys was the ladies Senior champion after rounds of 81-75-90. Other 54 hole stableford sections include over 55, over 65 and A, B, and C grades in both men's and ladies. A popular part of the tournament each year is the 54 hole aggregate stableford four person teams section. Every year this keeps interest in each players round right up to the 54th hole. Last year the Thomas's and Payne's from Traralgon blitzed the opposition when they broke the tournament teams record with an incredible 462 points. This was the equivalent to 38.5 points per person per round over three different golf courses. It is unlikely an aggregate of that magnitude will be challenged in the near future. As a general rule an average of 35 points per player is usually enough to snare the fantastic prize of six nights accommodation with Quest Apartments. Entries for the tournament have far and away exceeded expectations at this early stage with more than fifty percent of the target field already received. We have also been delighted with the social event bookings which have obviously appealed to the first year players. Entries have been received from players from 48 different golf clubs which is most encouraging. Phone 0419 208 337 for any information relating to the 2012 Tri-State Masters.
2012 NEW ZEALAND GOLF TOUR
The seventh Sunraysia Golf Tours New Zealand Golf Tour is only six weeks away and we can't wait. Kauri Cliffs in the Bay of Islands and Jacks Point in Queenstown will provide all of patrons with their first visit to those world renowned clubs. Old favourites such as Taupo's Wairakei and Queenstown's Milbrook will add a great golfing touch along with my favourite NZ golf course Kinloch near Taupo and the Carrington Club in the Bay of Islands.All of these golf courses are spectacular in their own way and will be much easier to take in their scenic splendours from our motorised golf carts. New Zealand in mid March is a great place to golf and holiday. Limited seats are still available on the tour if you get in straight away.
COOMEALLA UPSETS RIVERSIDE IN SUMMER PENNANT FINAL
Coomealla Golf Club edged out Riverside Golf Club to win the 2011 SDGA Summer Pennant at Red Cliffs on Sunday. Tim Knight for Coomy was the hero of the day defeating Kelvin Wilson 3/2, after winning the first six holes. Knight promptly dropped the next three holes and looked to be losing his grip on the match. After a short break and soft drink on the turn he righted the ship to maintain his three hole advantage until the seventeenth. Other winner for Coomy were the consistent Hamish Glasgow and the unpredictable Jason Hartley. For Riverside Andrew Hill and Gannon Bettes were the victors. Another successful Summer Pennant season is now concluded after the original final at Red Cliffs was washed out in December. Red Cliffs Golf Club are to be commended on the condition of their golf course which is in it's best condition ever. If rumours are correct, Red Cliffs will be the team to beat in division one winter pennant this year after not being able to field an A grade team in 2011. Justin McPhee will return after missing last year's pennant season and Tim Walker will play before he heads off to the US in August. Several other big name players are believed to have agreed to join the Cliffs enabling them to represent the club in pennant.
KYLE STANLEY COMES BACK IN THE US
A week can be a long time in golf and so it was once again on Sunday in the Phoenix Open in Arizona. American Kyle Stanley had lost a six shot lead in the last round to loose in a playoff. This week he bounced right back to go into the last round six shots back from Spencer Levin who did a Stanley from the previous week. Stanley was in tears after the round but for much different reasons than the week before. His pay cheque of almost one point one million dollars and a two year exemption on the PGA Tour is a terrific result for the five foot eleven golfer who hits it almost 350 metres off the tee.
PAUL LAWRIE READY TO TURN BACK THE CLOCK
Scotsman Paul Lawrie returned to the worlds top fifty players on Sunday after his easy win in the Qatar Masters. The former 1999 British Open winner was never in danger on the final day of the tournament that had been reduced to 54 holes because of sand storms. Equal runners up were Australia's Jason Day and Sweden's Paul Hanson four shots behind. American bad boy John Daly made a surprising fifth placing just ahead of Spain's Sergio Garcia. Lawrie has been regarded in some golfing circles as a bit of a one hit wonder but this year may see him stamp himself as a real contender in the big world golfing tournaments.
 
30/1/12
TRI-STATE MASTERS GRABBING GOLFERS ATTENTION
The 20th Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters is certainly grabbing golfers attention around Australia. Entries are coming in thick and fast with twenty five per cent of the tournament quota filled in the first ten days since the entries were released. This is quite phenomenal with thirty per cent of the entries coming from first time players. Northern Golf Club's Peter Fox has entered for the 20th time and is the only player in the field to play in every Tri-State Masters so far. A booklet will be distributed to all players this year with a history of the tournament, it's players, champions, the clubs from whence they came and other information covering the last twenty years. This year the 5000th player mark will be passed with almost 1400 different people from more than 200 golf clubs.. More than 220 players have contested the Tri-State Masters at least five times with 81 entering ten times or more. The prizes on offer this year are also creating a lot of attention with great door prizes and eleven hole in one prizes each worth $10,000 or more. The two social days at Red Cliffs Golf Club and Coomealla Golf Club will also have significant prizes including more hole in one incentives. Whilst it is the golf that attracts the attention of golfers initially, it is the social events that really complete a great weeks holiday. An opening Cocktail Party and closing Presentation Dinner at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club are great book ends for the week. On Monday night this year it will be a special occasion for Kym and I as we celebrate our 20th year with Trentham Estate at the Winemakers Dinner overlooking the Might Murray River. Trentham Estate have stuck with us through thick and thin and we really value their support. We are delighted that they have produced two anniversary wines for us this year. A 2010 Shiraz and a 2011 Chardonnay which will be in the gift packs for all players. On Tuesday we have booked thirty seats at Stefano's restaurant. Stefano's is regarded as one of the best restaurants in Victoria with people coming to Mildura just to dine there. Wednesday night we have an old fashioned country style dinner after golf at Riverside Golf Club, with a bit of comedy thrown in afterwards. This was booked out last year so the first 120 to book and pay on the entry form will get a seat this year. Thursday night is our favourite night of the week when we wine, dine and dance the night away on the magnificent PS Mundoo Paddleboat. It is going to be a fantastic week of golf, socialising and having fun with nice people whilst always reminding ourselves that "memories live longer than dreams".
LOCAL GOLFERS SHINE IN THE SUN
Scores on Sunraysia golf courses this year have been the best ever in any previous January. Sunraysia's best ever golfer Greg Rhodes has been playing golf to the max as he does every January. Five times this month he has played 36 competition holes in a day between Coomealla and Mildura Golf Clubs. On Saturday he had a shocker at Coomealla where he recorded a 79 but that was soon rectified in the afternoon at Mildura where he reeled off a casual 66! Rhodes just loves playing the game, being a school teacher, January is his opportunity to play as much golf as many people do in a year. Sixteen year old Tom Holmes is a name that could turn a few heads this year. Holmes has had some reasonable rounds in the last two years without causing too much attention. On Saturday at Mildura he changed that perception when he came in with a 68 and 45 stableford points! The putter was on fire as he needed it only 25 times, which helps put a score on the board. Couple that putting with being able to propel a golf ball 190 metres with a six iron and it is not unreasonable to expect big things in golf for Master Holmes this year. It might be crunch time soon for him though as his main sport is hockey, where he represents the senior Sunraysia representative team and cricket is his second love as he is expected to make his senior debut for West in the next week or two. Other players to perform well this month are Cameron Stewart, Steven Hopgood, Brad Steer, Jason Zambelli, Chris Thomas, Rick McMeekin and John Keogh.
UNEXPECTED WASN'T EXPECTED IN ABU DHABI AND CALIFORNIA
Golf is an interesting game where the unexpected really becomes the expected, week in week out. England's Robert Rock played with and slayed the Tiger in Abu Dhabi yesterday. This was really absorbing golf to watch as Rory McIlroy incurred a two stroke penalty for brushing sand which effectively cost him the tournament as he lost by one shot. Woods looked to be set for a comfortable victory going into the last round but he couldn't recapture the form of the first three days. If you don't hit fairways it is difficult to hit greens and this was his biggest problem. Rock was quite composed on the course and played accordingly, particularly over the last nine holes when he must have been expecting a Tiger charge. Afterwards he said that "he was really excited about playing with Tiger and couldn't believe he had played so well". He was also quick to add that "Tiger was terrific to play with and that he totally enjoyed the experience".
Over on the PGA Tour in California American Kyle Stanley died the death of 1000 lashes as he triple bogeyed the 72nd hole for a closing 74 to go into a playoff with Brandt Snedeker who had posted a 67 but was getting ready to leave the course. Naturally Snedeker then gets up and beats Stanley on the second playoff hole. This is the worst way to lose a golf tournament. In Abu Dhabi Rock was two shots clear and settled for a bogey six after taking an unplayable and dropping on the last hole when he could have tried for an unlikely par. Stanley is a prodigious talent. On Saturday he hit driver nine iron onto a par five, which is bloody ridiculous. He will win for sure soon, if he can erase the demons of the 72nd hole out of his mind. It is going to be a fantastic golf season on the PGA Tour and the European Tour. Hopefully some of our Aussie boys can fire up and win a few tournaments.
TOP 100 GOLF COURSES IN AUSTRALIA
Golf Australia Magazine have just released it's top 100 Australian Golf Courses. As usual the judges haven't played the majority of the courses on the list but reputations and money spent with the magazine probably has a bit to do with the rankings, which are. 1. Royal Melbourne West, 2 Kingston Heath, 3 Barnbougle Dunes, 4 Lost Farm, 5 New South Wales, 6 Royal Melbourne East, 7 The National, 8 Victoria, 9 Metropolitan, 10 Royal Adelaide. Really the rankings are done to promote discussion and to sell golf magazines but at the end of the day the rankings are just opinions, like backsides everyone has one. From my point of view Coomealla Golf Club is definitely in the top 60 if not at least the top 100 golf courses in Australia. Everyone is a little bit biased about their own golf course, particularly if you really love it. I play at Coomealla twice a week and look forward to it every time. My favourite golf course in the world is Royal Country Down in Northern Ireland where we will be playing in September on our golf tour to Ireland. Kinloch is my favourite in New Zealand and we will be playing there on our seventh NZ golf tour in March. In Australia I love Kingston Heath followed by Victoria and New South Wales. Royal Adelaide is right up there too along with Barnbougle Dunes and Arundel Hills on the Gold Coast.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE GOLF COURSES - LET ME KNOW ON EMAIL golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
13/1/12
The entry forms for the 2012 20th Annual Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters are now completed and will be send to people on the Sunraysia Golf Tours data base on Monday 16th January. Over $200,000 worth of door prizes, competition prizes and Hole in One prizes will be on offer. An Adventure Houseboat holiday for up to eight people will drawn for the lucky door prize winner. There are stay and play packages to great golf resorts such as the Barwon Heads Golf Club, Tocumwal Golf Club and the Country Club Tasmania casino in Launceston and the Mildura Golf club Resort.Quest Apartments Mildura are partnering with us again and will provide a six night holiday in Mildura for four people for the 2013 Tri-State Masters. Bridgestone Golf has been the official golf brand of the tournament since its inception in 1993 and are great supporters again this year. Local media outlets PRIME Television and Sunraysia Daily newspaper are also strong sponsors and supporters of the Tri-State Masters. The Hole in One prizes are without doubt the best ever offered in an Australian amateur golf tournament,due to the changes in the amateur rules by the R & A on January 1st. Three Honda Jazzz motor vehicles from Auto Synergy Mildura, $10,000 worth of electrical equipment from Jack Abell Mildura, $10,000 worth of floor coverings from Choices Max Miller Mildura, $10,000 spa from Cookes Pools & Spas Mildura, $10,000 worth of furniture from Tilley's Furniture Mildura, a Yamaha motorised buggy, $10,000 cash from Hotondo Homes Mildura, $10,000 cash from the Vines Retirement Village Mildura and $10,000 cash from Murray River Salt add up to $130,000 worth of Hole in One prizes! Then there is the competition prizes from House of Golf Mildura, Bridgestone Golf and Champion Sports including Bushnell rangefinders and Yes putters. Trentham Estate Winery who have been partnering sponsors since 1993 have produced two wines to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the the Tri-State Masters including a 2010 Shiraz and a 2011 Chardonnay. The opening Cocktail Party and the closing Presentation Dinner will both be held in the auditorium of the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club who have been a major sponsoring partner since 1995. The 2012 Tri-State Masters is going to be a fantastic event for all involved and is expected to be booked out in record time this year. For entries phone 03 50 246799 or Email golf@sunraysia golftours.com.au.
 
21/12/11
TRI-STATE MASTERS $150,000 GOLF EXTRAVAGANZA
The 2012 20th Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters to be conducted from May 20th till May 25th 2012 will offer its competitors the biggest prize pool ever offered in a golf tournament in Sunraysia. Auto Synergy Mildura will offer a Honda Jazz motor vehicle for a hole in one on Mildura Golf Club Resort's brand new par 3 second hole on Monday May 21st, another Honda Jazz is up for grabs on Riverside Golf Club's beautiful closing par 3 eighteenth hole on May 23rd. A third Honda Jazz is available on Coomealla Golf Club's closing par 3 eighteenth hole on May 25th. Prizes to the value of $10,000 in cash will be offered on two holes and $10,000 worth of companies products on two other par 3's plus lucrative prizes on the other four par three holes. Adventure Houseboats will award a lucky competitor a door prize of a fantastic Adventure Houseboat holiday on one of Adventure Houseboats luxury houseboats. Other prizes include holidays, gym equipment and a host of other golfing equipment and prizes. Trentham Estate are producing a commemorative 20th anniversary Tri-State Masters Shiraz and Chardonnay which will be distributed and sampled during the tournament. Advertising of the Tri-State Masters began in golfing journals this month and will continue through to April. With the interest already shown so far since the advertisements appeared last week, organisers are very confident that the tournament will be booked out before the end of March. Two additional optional games of golf are planned with a 4BBB stableford at Red Cliffs Golf Club on Tuesday May 22nd and an ambrose in 4's at Coomealla Golf Club on Thursday May 24th. Social functions are an integral part of the golfing week with an opening Cocktail Party and closing Presentation Dinner at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club, Trentham Estate Winery Dinner, Poker Tournament at the Mildura Golf Club Resort, Golfers Dinner at Riverside Golf club and a night to remember on the enchanting PS Mundoo Paddleboat. Major sponsoring partners again this year are Sunraysia Daily, Prime Television, Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club, Trentham Estate, Sunraysia Golf Range, Auto Synergy and Adventure Houseboats. Negotiations are continuing with several other potential partnering sponsors. Anyone interested in being involved as a partnering sponsor or participating in the tournament should contact Shane Doherty on 50 246 799 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
POULTER PUTTS TO VICTORY IN AUSTRALIAN MASTERS
The age old adage of "you putt for dough and drive for show" was reinforced once more by Ian Poulter at Victoria Golf Club in the 2011 JBWere Australian Masters. Poulter blew everyone away with his putter taking only 27, 28,27 and 28 putts for the four rounds. Anyone who watched the tournament would attest to the difficulty that most players were finding on the greens. Geoff Ogilvy couldn't buy a putt on Sunday after holing nearly everything on Saturday when he shot a 63. Poulter is a breath of fresh air in world golf. He is not afraid to be different, have opinions and be a really good player at the same time. Luke Donald is also an excellent ambassador for world golf. A polite quiet young man who is professional in every sense. No doubt everyone in Australia were disappointed that Geoff Ogilvy couldn't repeat Saturday's form on Sunday but that's golf. Marcus Fraser from Corowa was the highlight of the day for Aussies on Sunday. Throw in terrific performances from Kieran Pratt, Ashley Hall and Jarrod Lyle and Victorians were done proud. Eighteen year old Italian Matteo Mannasero was disappointing but finished the tournament two under par with a closing 68. This kid is going to be a world superstar in the next few years but obviously it has been a long year for him. The Victoria Golf Club is such a beautiful golf course, both Ian Poulter and Luke Donald tweeted that it has moved into their top ten golf courses in the world. That is high praise indeed.
MILDURA GOLF WEEK WINNERS EXCEL IN AUSTRALIAN MASTERS
Last week the JB Were Australian Masters was telecast into numerous countries around the world on the Golf Channel. The tournament is recognised as a top quality world golf event. All the competitors in the event began playing in junior events somewhere in the world, gaining playing and tournament experience. Five players in the Aussie Masters got their kick starts by winning the Murray Valley Championship in Sunraysia at Mildura Golf Week. Bradley Hughes who has won the Australian Masters before, began his career with a win at Mildura Golf Week in 1985. Marcus Fraser who was second on Sunday won our title three times in 1999-2000 and 2002. Fraser has also won twice on the European Tour. Ashley Hall who finished 6th on Sunday won Mildura Golf Week in 2004-2005. Josh Younger followed on capturing the title in 2006 and Craig Hasthorpe won in 2009. All of these young golfers relished the opportunity of being assisted and promoted by the Victorian Golf Association and supporting Mildura Golf Week. Unfortunately the VGA stopped that assistance and promotion and dropped Mildura Golf Week off the roster for young and up and coming amateurs at the end of 2009. This has been a source of great frustration and disappointment to the Golf Week committee and its organisers. After the performances of those five past winners of Mildura Golf Week at the weekend and a host of other past players that continue to perform well on golf tours all over the world, the Mildura Golf Week committee surely has sufficient ammunition to mount a strong submission for the return of those VGA young guns to attend the 2012 Murray Valley Championship.
2011 GOLF AROUND THE WORLD
Like it or not, Tiger Woods is the Greg Norman of golf today. The crowds at the JBWere Australian Masters told the story. With Woods on board in 2009-2010 the fairways were packed at the Masters, this year the crowds were down significantly. It is reminiscent of the South Australian Open in the late 80's that I attended three years in a row. The first two with Norman playing, you couldn't move but the third year without him and hardly anyone turned up by comparison. Luke Donald was the story of the year winning the money list in Europe and the US but he didn't ignite Melbourne crowds interest like Woods and Norman before him did.. The majors went to South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke and Keegan Bradley from the US. McIllroy looks to be a superstar in the making but that is yet to happen. Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood are probably the biggest names behind Woods but no cigar for either in the majors. Next year though, will be huge. Woods will win another major, probably the US Masters in April. In September the Ryder Cup will be the biggest golf event the world has ever seen. Jason Day is the man that most Australians will be pinning their hopes on in the majors with Adam Scott and his publicity shy caddie Steve Williams next in most peoples thinking. Westwood has to win a major soon but McIlroy will become the world number one if he wins his second major. It has been a great year in world golf this year but 2012 will be absolutely wicked.
2011 GOLF IN SUNRAYSIA
2011 was a year fluctuations in Sunraysia Golf. In years to come it may be looked back on as the year that the strong got stronger and the less strong started to wonder if it was really just getting too hard. In every sports club it is usually found that week to week tasks are left to too few. It is even harder in a golf club that opens its doors 52 week of the year compared to other sports that operate in only winter or summer. Clearly, Sunraysia has a golfing population and visitor influx that could comfortably be accommodated by four golf clubs at most. Our district has seven golf clubs, in this day and age it is just not possible to service, renovate and develop all the facilities that each golf club has with the amount of funds each club requires. It is part of the reason why many good quality people are dropping out of golf and off committees. On the playing side our Country Week men's and ladies teams did well again this year. The big weakness in both teams going into the immediate future is the lack of good quality juniors coming through. Young girls are hard to find on a Sunraysia golf course and the boys are at an all time low. Junior programs at the beginner level are in place at several clubs, they should start to show results by 2013 if those juniors continue in the game. There are so many other sports that are played in thirty minutes to an hour that are getting the kids attention rather than golf. It is something that all clubs really need to address. The Sunraysia District Golf Association must take some responsibility but at the end of the day the SDGA is made up of club delegates, so if it doesn't happen at home it is difficult to see how it will happen at District level. The SDGA also must continue to develop the relationship with the Broken Hill Golf Club. Broken Hill's addition to the SDGA was met with much enthusiasm and anticipation initally but that has waned over the last 18 months. It is not easy having a member club so far away but that really should be used as a positive and open up all kinds of opportunities. Greg Rhodes at 52 years of age continues to be Sunraysia's number one golfer followed by Cameron Stewart. With eleven days left in 2011 Stewart is currently on a +2 handicap whilst Rhodes is on +1. Red cliffs Tim Walker was the outstanding junior player this year followed by Ryan Laird. Riverside Golf Club are edging back to the top of the district golf ladder and Robinvale and Red Cliffs have overcome all sorts of obstacles in achieving terrific results with their golf courses. Eighteen months ago there wasn't a lot of grass on many golf courses, now getting them mown every week is the challenge that faces our green keepers. Coomealla Golf Club will replace four more greens early in the new year making it nine down with nine to go. Mildura Golf Club Resort will also begin restructuring their golf course and enter an exciting time for the club and its members. The final of the Sunraysia District Golf Association Summer Pennant was cancelled on Sunday due to course closure at all district golf courses. An SDGA official announcement regarding the final will be made at a later date.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
There was no competition golf on Sunday due to the wet, wet, wet but the scores around Sunraysia last Wednesday and Saturday were blistering hot. Seb Raiti and Mick Miller had eight better than handicap at Riverside Golf Club as did Corey Fitzpatrick and David Watts at Mildura Golf club Resort. Wayne Dahmes had a cracking nine shots better than his mark at Mildura but last Wednesday at Riverside Ray Cottle had a net 60. Twelve shots better than handicap wins Ray, not only the wrath of the handicapper but four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's pettiest golf holes as the last winner for 2011 of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. Ray must collect his prize from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura by Friday.
To all golfers and readers of the 19th hole, thankyou for your support, have a very happy Christmas and a safe healthy New Year
Good golfing to all.
 
14/12/11
RIVERSIDE RED HOT SUMMER PENNANT FAVOURITES
Riverside Golf Club will start red hot favourites in the 2011 Sunraysia District Golf Association Summer Pennant final at Red Cliffs Golf Club. Riverside have had little trouble cruising through to the final after knocking off the well fancied Robinvale Golf Club 4/1 last Sunday at Coomealla. Top performers for the green and gold this season are Gordon and Gannon Bettess and Matt Holland. The remaining two players in their grand final line-up will be between Darren Mannix, Greg McCubbin, Andrew Hill and Kelvin Wilson. Coomealla had a tougher semi final against Wentworth with two matches going to the 18th hole. John Denman and son in law Paul White have been strong contributors for the NSW based combination as has Hamish Glasgow. The remaining two players up for selection on Sunday will come from Jason Hartley, Mark Woodhouse and Tim Knight. Red Cliffs provides a great test for matchplay golf with lots of risk/reward holes including five par 3's and five par 5's. The Bettess's and Mannix have been past members at Red cliffs and have played there on many occasions giving them an advantage over whoever they play. Riverside have looked the stronger combination and should win comfortably.
CROWN LAGER SOCIAL GOLF CLUB
Casual golfers and non-club members around the country will now be able to obtain a recognised casual handicap and access some of the best courses in the country thanks to the Crown Lager Social Golf Club. The program launched on Monday with a stellar line up of high profile golf enthusiasts challenging each other on a putting green set up on top of the MCG scoreboard. Helping to tee off the launch of the program at the top of the MCG were Australian golfer Stuart Appleby, Andy Lee (TV and Radio celebrity); Brendon Goddard (AFL Footballer); Steve Johnson ( AFL Footballer); Sharelle McMahon (Australian Netballer); Phil Waugh (Former Australian Rugby Union Wallabies Captain); and Ian Curley (Head Chef at The European). The group braved the heights to show off their skills on the sky high putting green and for their efforts became the first members of the Crown Lager Social Golf Club. The Crown Lager Social Golf Club is a program developed by Golf Australia in partnership with Crown Lager and is Australia?s newest and most innovative casual golfer program. The aim of the program is to encourage more people to take up golf, provide a pathway to play golf more frequently and be more engaged with the game in the hope that they stay in the sport in the long term.Crown Lager Social Golf Club is an online program and once members play three rounds of nine to 18 holes and enter their results, they?ll receive a Golf Australia Casual Handicap (calculated by Golf Australia?s official handicap software provider, GOLF Link) to use in social competitions. This handicap is automatically updated when members enter more results. Golf Australia CEO, Stephen Pitt, said the new program was designed to increase participation and maintain interest among social players over the long-term. ?The Crown Lager Social Golf Club is a fantastic new program which Golf Australia is very proud to present in partnership with Crown Lager,? Pitt said. ?Australia has nearly 700,000 casual players on courses each year. We can now offer these players a program that ensures golf is more fun, has a competitive edge and keeps them involved in the game in the future. We welcome Stuart Appleby as lead ambassador in the program and all our ambassadors from the worlds of sport, food and entertainment." There are several social golf clubs already in Sunraysia the most notable being the House of Golf Social Golf Club organised and run from the Sunraysia Golf Range by Garth Doherty. Nine hole social golf is played every second Sunday morning beginning at 9am and rotates between Riverside, Red Cliffs and Merbein Golf Clubs. Phone 50 229440 for more information.
OGILVY OR SENDEN IN THE AUSTRALIAN MASTERS?
It has been an enormous year in world golf. Australian golf took a turn for the better one month ago with the Australian Open, Presidents Cup and Australian PGA tournaments all being huge successes. Many of the worlds best players have been here recently including Tiger Woods who is still the biggest name in golf and Greg Norman still commands much attention, not only in Australia but wherever he goes. This week one of Australia's best golf courses, Victoria Golf Club hosts the 2011 Australian Masters. This tournament was enormous during the "Norman" years when he played and beat the worlds best including Nick Faldo and many others. All of the big names lined up in the Australian Masters over the years and so it is the case again this year. Luke Donald will create lots of interest, he is not a long hitter but every aspect of his game is precise. Ian Poulter will bring more to the table than his unique fashion sense and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero is fast becoming Italy's number one pin up boy. Throw in 2010 champion Stuart Appleby and Presidents Cup feuding duo Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy and it should be a really watchable event. Admittedly Tiger Woods played in 2009-2010 but Luke Donald is currently the world number one and is playing extremely well as evidenced in Dubai last week. Greg Chalmers will be trying to emulate Robert Allenby's feat of winning the triple crown of all three Australian majors this week after winning the Australian Open and Australian PGA. It would be fantastic if he could pull it off but Ogilvy is definitely the man to beat this year. Victoria Golf Club is his old stamping ground and he is ready to dominate in another big Australian event. Next choice would be John Senden who is another quiet achiever but big time tournament performer. Two other local boys that should give a good account of themselves are last years runner up Daniel Gaunt and Marcus Fraser who is a past dual winner of Mildura Golf Weeks Murray Valley Championship in 1999-2000.
LUKE DONALD - THE QUIET SUPERSTAR OF WORLD GOLF
England's Luke Donald set a new benchmark in world golf on Sunday in Dubai when he became the first golfer to ever top both money lists in Europe and the US. Donald took over the mantle of world number one 28 weeks ago and looks assured of keeping that ranking for quite some time. This is an outstanding achievement for the quietly spoken five foot nine golfer who uses his spare time to paint and draw and expand his reputation as a competent artist. In an era where many top line sportsmen are seen as fast car enthusiasts or deep sea fishermen on their own luxury boats, Donald is a rarity as he and his wife spend their time collecting contemporary art. Although he is yet to win a Major, Donald has won six times in Europe and four times on the US PGA Tour, racking up over $41 million since his professional debut in 2001. This week he will be contesting his first Australian Masters Championship at the Victoria Golf Club. It is an interesting aside that both Donald and Greg Chalmers who recently won the Australian Open/PGA double are quiet unassuming achievers unlike golfers of the ilk of Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and even Seve Ballesteros who have all been flamboyant headline attracting personalities.
CHRISTMAS, FAMILY AND GOLF GO TOGETHER
Christmas is a great time of the year for families and people getting together to enjoy one another's company and to reflect and be grateful for what they have. Golfers in Sunraysia have a great array of choices to play golf and socialise afterwards in the clubhouse. Members at Mildura Golf Club Resort can take that celebrating one step further by having a relaxing swim after a round of golf. There is no prettier sight than looking out the clubhouse window at Riverside's lovely 18th hole or sitting around in the BBQ areas of Coomealla and Red Cliffs Golf Clubs. Sometimes as golfers we tend to take things for granted but if you take the time to show your family and friends the facilities and comforts of your golf club that you enjoy weekly it might just dawn on you how lucky we all are. Even if our golf scores are riddled with bad luck stories!
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Outstanding rounds at Wentworth and Riverside dominated in the quest for this weeks Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. Four players bettered their handicaps by seven shots including Sue Johns at Red Cliffs and Ash Robinson, Michael Nott and Mick Osborne at Riverside. Former Mildura golfer Daniel Chandler turned up at Riverside and breezed around the course for a quick 47 points which would win most weeks. Out at Wentworth however, Steve Lyall blitzed the Wentworth circuit with a staggering 49 stableford points. Butch Cassidy had nothing on this bandit! Steve wins four laminated placemats of some of Sunraysia's best golf holes, including the 18th at Wentworth, complete with the old gaol in the background. This prize must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing information on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
8/12/11
Coomealla's Ryan Laird and Red Cliffs Tim Walker will contest the Port Phillip Amateur this weekend at Commonwealth Golf Club and Kingston Heath Golf Club. After 36 holes at Commonwealth on Saturday the top 72 players will play a further 36 holes at Kingston Heath on Sunday. The top 32 players will then go into matchplay mode in the 2011 Victorian Amateur Championship which will conclude with the final on Wednesday. Former district champion Jake Laubsch will also be contesting the event. Laubsch now plays in Adelaide at Grange Golf Club.
 
7/12/11
54 HOLE GOLFING ODYSSEY
Mildura golfer Gary Fumberger decided that rather than sign up for "Movember", he would team up with seven mates to raise their own awareness and funds for prostrate cancer. Gary put a small committee together and enlisted the help of Marcus Guthrie, Paul Avery, David Murray, Bob Bettess, Brendan Marr, Mathew Morrison and Ashley Davis to play 54 holes of golf in the one day. The three rounds were at Red Cliffs Golf Club beginning at 6 am, followed by Riverside Golf Club and finally finishing the 54th hole at Mildura Golf Club Resort at 7-15 pm. That is a huge effort, even more so for Guthrie, Murray, Avery and Bettess who walked all 54 holes! The other boys both walked and carted. By the last round the weather was really warming up and so was the standard of golf with David Murray birding four holes and parring eleven. Two and a half thousand dollars was raised on the day with the support of Mildura and Riverside members and each of the eight players actually kicking $50 each. Next year Gary is hoping to take the idea further and get more people involved. It really could be a huge day at each golf club in the district and a target of more than $10,000 would be very achievable. Gary Fumberger and his mates deserve a big pat on the back for a terrific effort for a great cause. If you would like to be involved either as a player, helper or donor give Gary a call.
RIVERSIDE FAVOURITES IN SUMMER PENNANT FINALS
Wentworth Golf Club hosted summer pennant on Sunday and the results were mostly predictable with wins by Riverside, Wentworth, Mildura and Coomealla. The biggest surprise was Coomealla's 4/1 defeat of Robinvale who only had four players on the day. Mildura just got in by the skin of their teeth from a gallant Ouyen with some really close matches. Red Cliffs gave pennant favourites Riverside a scare in another close encounter and Wentworth upended 2010 pennant holders Merbein's run to another finals series. There were two standout matches in this contest. Merbein's Aaron Blake lost on the 18th hole to former Wentworth club champion Nathan Gard whose handicap has ballooned out to 12 from 4 in the last twelve months. Twelve year old Matt Bottomly won at the 21st hole over 68 year old Len Lawlor in his first senior pennant match. Matt's parents Darren who has been one of Wentworth's best golfers in the last ten years and mother Lee who is fast becoming a very good ladies golfer were watching on proudly. This is just another example of how it doesn't matter how young or old, tall or short you are, golf is a great sport for everyone. Semi finals this week are at Coomealla where Riverside should account for Robinvale and Wentworth with their longer handicappers should overcome the home team.
FORMER LOCAL GOLF STARS BACK IN ACTION
In the club results last week it was interesting to see two former top local golfers have turned out after extended breaks from golf. Jason Zambelli is back playing at Coomealla and Riverside. Zambelli is arguably the best left handed golfer the district has produced other than Red Cliffs Andrew Keogh. After two years doing an apprenticeship at Kew Golf Club in Melbourne he came back to Sunraysia in 1995 and won the last Sunraysia Matchplay Championship at Riverside in 1997 against Robert Marlais. He hasn't played golf in the last few years concentrating on his young family and his business. Robert Pallot won the Mildura Golf Club Resort's A grade competition on Saturday with a 71 off the stick. Pallot has won most of the districts Open's and the 1996 Sunraysia Matchplay Championship. He has the best swing by an amateur golfer that I have seen in Sunraysia in the last 30 years. As amateurs go he produced some great golf shots and is an artist at work in sand bunkers. It will be interesting to see how much golf he continues to play and whether he has mellowed over the years to belie his old nickname of "fiery". It really is great to see both these top class golfers back playing club golf.
2012 TRI-STATE MASTERS SUNRAYSIA'S MOST EVER LUCURATIVE AMATEUR TOURNAMENT
The 20th anniversary Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters is six months away but it has been an exciting six months since the 19th tournament in May. With the changes in the amateur status rules beginning on January 1st 2012, hole in one prizes of any value can be awarded to club golfers without affecting their amateur status. In the past if you won $1000 for a hole in one you could lose your amateur status for up to three years. In next years Tri-State Masters $100,000 worth of prizes will be up for grabs as well as $50,000 worth of door prizes and trophies will be given away. The Mildura Rural City Council agreed that this is a fantastic ititative and awarded the tournament a $5000 grant for the first time in 20 years. The tournament organisers then matched that amount and have just began the equivalent to a $15,000 advertising campaign to attract a full field for next years tournament. All involved are working feverishly to make the 20th Tri-State masters the most memorable golf tournament ever held in Sunraysia. Next week in the 19th hole full details of the prizes, sponsors, participating clubs and social events will be announced. Stand by.
THE PRANCING TIGER IS BACK
It was only a matter of time when Tiger Woods would return to great for. Anyone who witnessed his play on the last day of the Presidents Cup would surely have realised that the Tiger was back. Next year it is a lay down misere that he will win at least one more major. Probably the US Masters in April at Augusta will be where he gets back onto the chase for Jack Nicklause's record of 18 majors. Woods has 14 and many were saying that he was finished as a top golfer after his off course problems and knee injuries but he has that magic quality of being able to produce the right shots when it counts. It is great for golf when he is firing. On Sunday he birdied the last two holes of his tournament to win by a solitary from playing partner Zack Johnson and the crowd around the 18th went off like fire crackers. Yep, he's back alright.
LUKE DONALD LEADS THE RACE TO DUBAI
The final event on the European Tour will be played in Dubai from Thursday and will culminate the seasons race to Dubai. England's Luke Donald has already won the money list in the US and with 3,856,394 euros is more than 800,000 Euros in front of Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy. It looks as though Donald will be the first player to win on the worlds two main golf tours. McIlroy kept his chances alive by winning the Hong Kong Open at the weekend after storming home in the last round. England's Lee Westwood chose to defend his Nedbank Challenge championship in South Africa instead of playing in Hong Kong. It proved to be a great decision as he broke the course record on Saturday with an almost perfect round of 62 which set him up to collect the $1.25 million US. All of the top European players will be contending this week including Germany's Martin Kaymer, South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, Denmark's Anders Hansen and Spain's Sergio Garcia. Northern Ireland's two major winners Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke will also feature in the end of the tournament on Sunday. The Race TO Dubai has gone past the US FedEx cup in the last two years, just as the Europeans have dominated the Ryder Cup over the Americans in recent clashes. Luke Donald has won three times on the European Tour this year and McILroy and Westwood are in top form but Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter are the men to watch this week in Dubai.
Sunraysia Golf Tours - Round of the Week
Sunraysia scored the trifecta last week once again, great golf courses, great weather and great scores. Six players bettered their handicaps by five shots including: John Gray at Coomealla, Rob Pallot, Dennis Knight and Abe Nemes at Mildura, Greg Butcher and Richard Tankard at Riverside. Riverside has been giving up some great scores recently with the top three performances coming from there including Fiona Turlan and Cliff Tomlinson who both had 42 points. The star this week to take home the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week is long time magpie supporter Tony Scullino who had 77/65. Tony wins four laminated placemats of some of the best golf holes in Sunraysia painted by artist Mick Andrich which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura by Friday.
Contact me on email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
30/11/11
RYAN LAIRD TOP COUNTRY VICTORIAN JUNIOR
Coomealla junior Ryan Laird was the top performer in the Division One Victorian Country Regions Championship at Heathcote Golf Club at the weekend. On Saturday he struggled on the tricky greens returning an eleven over par 82. On Sunday he attacked the course with the knowledge of where to hit his drives and from which side of the fairways to attack the pins. The result was a superb three under par 68. This was enough to secure the best 36 hole score in the tournament by one stroke. Laird has worked extremely hard on his skills over the past couple of years and performed very well at Melbourne Country Week in the senior division one sections in 2010-2011. 2012 could be the year when he stamps his mark on Sunraysia golf and wins some of the districts top events. Shay Toma was the next best performer for Sunraysia shooting a creditable 80-81. Toma has been playing great golf in recent weeks, a continuance of his recent form should see him pressing for Country Week selection next year. Unfortunately Sunraysia drops back to division two next year as only six juniors were available for the championship. A minimum of seven players are required for the teams section of the tournament. The Victorian Golf Association moved the championship from August to November, subsequently, many of our juniors are playing district cricket and unable to take the weekend off cricket. After being well stocked with top juniors last year Sunraysia is back to the drawing board with only a few players emerging as elite contenders. It really is up to the Sunraysia District Golf Association to call a meeting with all of the clubs to make plans as how to attract juniors to golf. The Sunraysia Sports Academy is beginning to make noises again about golf being included in its program. That is great news if it is done properly. Initially what the Academy offered was too expensive for many families, was poor value for what they received in return and targeted the elite players. A three tiered program would be the best format including:beginners, intermediate and elite juniors. This would give the kids a pathway to becoming top golfers. For once, the clubs must join together to achieve this for our juniors, our golf association and our clubs. Have a look around your club, you won't find many juniors and juniors are the future of the club.
RIVERSIDE AND ROBINVALE TEAMS TO BEAT IN SUMMER PENNANT
Merbein Golf Club played host to Summer Pennant players from Wentworth to Ouyen on Sunday. The boys were fresh from watching the great matchplay in the Presidents Cup the week before and keen to emulate the skills of the worlds best. Merbein was in great condition. A new mower that is bigger than Texas has been working a treat on the lush Merbein fairways. Phil Lawn lined up for Wentworth fresh off his new handicap of scratch. Up came his Riverside opponent Matt Holland who played off 32! Holland had won his first match in pennant the previous week at Robinvale and had his dad Peter on the bag as his caddie to help with advice and strategy. The match was all square after nine holes but as much as Lawn tried he couldn't keep giving two shots on most of the holes and finally succumbed 3/2. This is the beauty of summer pennant, anyone with a registered handicap can play and compete and really learn about the nuances of golf. Usually if you play to your handicap you will win or go very close to winning. There were two other matches noteworthy for their length and endurance. Coomealla's Hamish Glasgow overcame Ouyen's Roger Anderson on the 22nd hole. Glasgow, originally from Scotland moved to Adelaide in 1974, after 20 years he then went to Queensland, then Tasmania and finally Mildura five years ago. "I moved here to play golf at Coomealla after having played here many times during my time in Adelaide" he said yesterday. Red Cliffs Rohan Hiller, former Merbein footballer took Merbein skipper Rod Poole to the 20th before winning his match. Results of round two saw victories by Merbein,Riverside, Coomealla and Robinvale. With only one round to go at Wentworth this Sunday, six clubs are still in with a chance of contesting the finals the following week. Riverside and Robinvale are virtually assured of qualifying after winning their first two matches unless either of them collapses this week. Wentworth, Merbein, Coomealla and Mildura must win this week to have any chance of making the finals. Wentworth's golf course will be a test of patience and control as it is not in its best ever condition but smart golf will win the day.
CAMERON STEWART + TWO HANDICAP
Cameron Stewart played a superior round of golf at Coomealla Golf Club on Saturday. Four under par is the sort of golf we saw in the Australian PGA at Coolum at the weekend by the worlds very best golfers. Stewart is a quiet unobtrusive fellow who goes about his golf without any fanfare. The Stewart family are not known for their flamboyance or noise in any way. Cameron has been very successful in all forms of golf winning local Open tournaments and performing well in Melbourne at Country Week and in big tournaments like Mildura Golf Week. It has been well chronicled how close he has come to winning the Mildura and Coomealla club championships without any luck so far. On Saturday though, he reached a peak that very few ever reach when his handicap went to plus two. Greg Rhodes is also off plus two but Stewart is on +1.7 just point one ahead of Rhodes on +1.6. It will be most interesting to see who finishes on the lower or in their case higher handicap at the end of the year.
CHALMERS ON A ROLL IN AUSTRALIAN GOLF
In 1998 a few of us from Riverside went over to Royal Adelaide to have a look at Riverside's new golf professional Marty Walsh in the Australian Open. Walsh missed the cut by one shot but we stayed on to watch the last 36 holes, hoping that Stuart Appleby would win. Appleby's wife Renay had been killed in a bizarre car accident earlier in the year and naturally most people were behind Appleby in his quest for his first Australian Open title. It wasn't to be as he came in second behind a bloke who I immediately recognised as our Australian version of Mr Bean. Left handed Greg Chalmers announced himself as a player to watch when he became the only West Australian to ever win the Australian Open. At the time Chalmers shed a tear as he shook Appleby's hand saying that "He felt like a villain", as he knew everyone wanted Appleby to win. Since that tournament Chalmers has had moderate success, until the last few weeks when he won the Australian Open for the second time and now the PGA at Coolum on Sunday when he unobtrusively came from the clouds. Everyone thought that either Bubba Watson, KIM Kyung-tae, Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley or Marcus Fraser would emerge victorious but it was the quiet left hander. Chalmers comes across as a genuinely nice bloke and now his world ranking has dropped more than 40 places to 63rd, he will contest all of the worlds top tournaments in 2012. Chalmers has now changed his mind and will play in the Australian Masters at Victoria Golf Club from December 15-18. He will be trying to equal Robert Allenby as the only player to win Australia's triple crown in the one year. It won't be easy though, as he will be up against world number one Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Matteo Manassero and local champions Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby. It has been a wonderful three week period in Australian golf, topped off by the best ever PGA championship last week. There were many highlights, Chalmers and John Senden's holes in one on days one and two. British Open champion Darren Clarke and the famous claret jug. All of the top Aussies playing and joining in the off course fun. Big hitting Bubba Watson hitting a par 5 with driver, 9 iron and pretty boy Ricky Fowler wowing the female followers. Greg Norman playing like he did fifteen years ago. The PGA had it all, maybe just maybe, the Australian Masters will add the cream on the cake for a sensational year in golf.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Red hot scores were the order of the week with the A graders coming to the fore in the Sunraysia Golf Tours - Round of the Week. At Coomealla Cameron Stewart recorded a 68 of the stick, which is fantastic golf. Brett Thurman was Coomy's best handicap score for the week with 43 points. At Riverside Dave Woolcock came in with a 70 off the stick and a par score of +6. Woolcock and Graeme Southwell (66) can count themselves unlucky as 66's were two behind club mate Chris Thomas. Thomas had a best ever score of 66 off the stick for a par score of +8. It is doubtful that he will ever better that score. Interestingly though, his handicap didn't alter and he remains on 3. To make the round even more memorable Chris wins the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week and four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's beautiful golf courses, including the picture perfect par three seventh hole at Riverside Golf Club. Chris can pick up his prize from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golf information or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all
 
23/11/11
SUMMER PENNANT
The 2011 SDGA Summer Pennant began at Robinvale Golf Club without the pomp and pageantry of the Presidents Cup but with just as much fervour by the combatants. The message coming back from Robinvale is that the golf course is in immaculate condition. Well worth a visit for any local golfers. The competition will be played in two divisions again this year with three initial rounds. Semi finals will then be contested between the top team of one division against the second team in the other division with the two winners then playing off in the final. 2010 pennant holders Merbein were put right back in their box by a resurgent Riverside outfit who dished out a 4/1 thumping. Merbein's Phil (Tosh) Matotek was on track for his eighth win in a row in pennant this year but was knocked off his perch by Darren (Oscar) Mannix on the 18th. Mildura overcame Coomealla 3/2 after Bob Bettess scraped home against John Denman at the 19th hole. Robinvale were too good for Ouyen 4/1 and will be looking to go one better than their second placing last year. Red Cliffs forfeited to Wentworth after a mix up at the club. It is hoped that Red Cliffs Golf Club, who are a proud club can organize a team for the second round at Merbein Golf Club on Sunday.
VICTORIAN JUNIOR REGIONS CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunraysia's Junior Country Regions representative team heads off to Heathcote this weekend for the 2011 Victorian Country Regions Championship. Last year our lads won division two, comfortably finishing top of the ladder in both the scratch and handicap sections. The championship was held in early August last year in almost snow like conditions. As a result of those conditions the championship was moved back to this weekend this year and subsequently six of last years team are either too old having turned 18 in recent months or unavailable. Those missing this year are Jake Laubsch, Tim Walker, Tyler Verbeek,Luke Stanbrook, David Filippi, and Jason Tassone. The team this year is district junior champion Ryan Laird, Shay Toma, Dom Vartulli, Tom Holmes, Josef Moisidis, Harry Dawbin and Abraham Nemes. The other associations in division one include Geelong, West Gippsland, North Eastern, Dalhousie, Goulburn Valley and Peninsula. These associations are the heavyweights of Victorian country golf and our boys will be on a sharp learning curve which will provide great experience for future competitions. Shay Toma has been in crackerjack form lately after parring the course at Mildura on Saturday then backing up with a 73 on Sunday. Josef Moisidis played really well in the Coomealla Club championships and Ryan Laird could well be the standout performer of the championship.
PRESIDENTS CUP
The Presidents Cup was fantastic, even though our boys didn't win the whole show was compelling viewing for all golf enthusiasts. The Americans were too good in the four balls where they get more opportunity to play that format year in year out in the Ryder Cup against Europe. Whilst the Presidents Cup is the biggest golf event that Australia has seen, it is nowhere near the magnitude of the Ryder Cup. This has only been the case in the last dozen years when Europe have matched and beaten the US more times than they have lost. Before that, the US had annihilated the Poms and it was virtually no contest. Now Europe are the king pins of world golf and the US are the underdogs in that contest. Next year the Ryder Cup will be played in the US at Medinah Country Club, Bloomingdale Illinois. You can multiply the hype and hysteria of the Presidents Cup by five times with how big the Ryder Cup will be next year. If I could choose any golf event in the world to go to it would be the Ryder Cup. In 2016 golf will become an official Olympic sport and it will be interesting to see how that works. At present there is a World Cup played bi-annually between all the top golfing nations but only a few nations send their very best two players to represent them, so is not taken as seriously as perhaps the Olympics will be. The 2011 World Cup will be played at the Mission Hills golf complex in China this weekend. The 2013 Presidents Cup will be played at Jack Niklaus'e course Muirfield Village in his home town of Dublin Ohio. Hopefully whoever is our next Presidents Cup captain will show the team some footage of the Ryder Cup foursomes contests then play some practice matches. The foursomes is where we lost the cup, simple as that. All in all though, it was a great advertisement for Melbourne, Royal Melbourne, Australian golf fans and the wonderful game of golf.
AUSTRALIAN PGA
After the euphoria of the Presidents Cup at the weekend all eyes will be fixed on Coolum for the Australian PGA Championship. It is probably the best field ever assembled for this championship which was won last year by Peter Senior. International golfers include 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke, Bubba Watson, Y E Yang and Ricky Fowler. Throw in Greg Norman, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden, Aaron Baddeley and former multiple winners Robert Allenby and Peter Lonard and it is a world class field. This championship is also an excellent opportunity for the players to wind down and have a bit of fun at the end of a long season. One of the highlights of the weekend will be a Monster Ball long drive competition on Saturday night after the third round. A 365 metre hole will be used to see who hits it the furtherest. I'm tipping American Bubba Watson will start favourite, if he is still around. Stuart Appleby might give him a run for his money but irrespective of who wins it is a great initiative by the PGA.
LADIES AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Great news for ladies golf with the Australian Open at Royal Melbourne Golf Club on Feb 9-12 being included as an official tournament on the US LPGA tour next year. The coverage of the Royal Melbourne course around the world at the weekend during the Presidents Cup is sure to have interested and attract most of the best lady professionals in world golf. Only three Australians have won our Open in the last 40 years including Jan Stephenson, Jane Crafter and Karrie Webb. Queenslander Webb made her professional debut in this tournament in 1994 and has since won the title four times. World number one, Taiwan's Yani Tseng will be aiming for her third title in a row, she is fast becoming one of the greats in ladies golf. American super girl Lexi Thompson who is only 16 will make her first appearance outside of the US and is sure to be a crowd favourite. It will be interesting to see if the fanatics are on course to sing a few songs to the girls. With some of the material available it would be hilarious.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Sunraysia's good weather combined with great course conditions were significant factors in the great competition for this weeks Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. Five players bettered their handicaps by eight strokes including Merbein's Frank Zambito and Graeme Kerr, Deb Hassell at Red Cliffs, Corey Fitzpatrick at Mildura and James Scherger at Riverside. The best round came from Riverside's George Mason who had 47 points, eleven shots better than his handicap! George wins four laminated placemats of Sunraysia golf holes which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golf information or opinions on Email at golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
16/11/11
RHODES BY ONE AT COOMEALLA
Greg Rhodes won the 2011 Coomealla Golf Club championship on Sunday by the barest of margins, one shot. On Saturday morning going into the third round, Rhodes was two strokes ahead of 2010 runner up Cameron Stewart who he had beaten by fourteen strokes last year. On Saturday morning though, Rhodes played poorly shooting a 76. Stewart was quick to make his move in the afternoon returning a par round of 72, putting him two strokes ahead of the champion. Questions have been raised by some local golfing pundits as to whether Rhodes reacts as well under the pump as he does way out in front. Yet again his answer was emphatic as he played percentage golf to record another gutsy victory shooting an even par 72. Sunraysia's top two players over the last three years were locked together with five holes to go after Rhodes pegged Stewart back, only to see the Mildura man birdie the par 5 thirteenth. Rhodes went one up with a par on fourteen, two up with another par on 16 and maintained that advantage until the par 3 eighteenth. The 18th green is still quite new and is rock hard. With the pin set hard back left, Rhodes uncharacteristically attacked it, ending up in the back bunker. This left the door ajar for Stewart who was spot on for length but left himself a thirty foot putt from the right. Rhodes blasted out to ten feet and waited for Stewart to putt. The ball was on line but pulled up 8 inches short. This left Rhodes two putts to win by one shot. Which he did. For Rhodes, he did what he always does, played percentage golf and got most of the putts that he had to get. A par round was always going to be a hard number to match on the last day of a championship at Coomealla. As for Cameron Stewart, he keeps edging closer. Greg Rhodes had this to say yesterday, " I was really pleased to win the championship. Cameron played well but a couple of mistakes cost him in the last few holes. I really don't think he receives the recognition that he should. He is a very underestimated golfer and a true plus one marker". There is no doubt that the majority of local golfing people are hoping that Cameron's day will come sooner rather than later. Understandably he feels the weight of that pressure of expectation and genuine support. If Greg Rhodes wasn't around he would probably have won a string of tournaments. But Rhodes is around and until someone can out think him as well as out play him down the stretch, he will remain Sunraysia's king of golf. The two youngsters who made up the last group, Jake Laubsch and Tim Walker were given a lesson on how to act on a golf course by the Rhodes and Stewart. Both lads have unquestionable talent but golf is a tough game and when you are up against the best it tests all aspects of your game and personality. Rhodes is a pleasure to watch and Stewart is very calm and measured under pressure. Hopefully both lads will benefit from the example of sportsmanship and etiquette displayed by Sunraysia's top two golfers.
SDGA SUMMER PENNANT HITS OFF
The Sunraysia District Golf Association 2011 Summer Pennant season hits off at Robinvale on Sunday. Robinvale had a real crack at Summer Pennant last year, eventually going down to Merbein in the final. Playing at home this week they have the opportunity to get off to another flying start. Merbein have been the top dogs in this competition for a number of years and place more emphasis on a successful outcome than any other club. The bigger clubs like Coomealla and Mildura don't seem as enthusiastic towards it and are not as dominant as they possibly could and should be. Riverside and Red Cliffs usually are around the mark and Wentworth can be the surprise packet. Ouyen are at a disadvantage simply because of their lack of practice on grass greens and their handicaps are probably a bit less than they would be on local courses. That said, Ouyen are terrific competitors and Summer Pennant wouldn't be the same without them. It would be terrific if the SDGA included Ouyen to host a round of the competition. That would even the score a little bit and reward Ouyen for their loyal support of Summer Pennant for the last 30 years. Week two sees play move to Merbein followed by Wentworth and Coomealla. Red Cliffs will host the final on December 18. Contact your club if you are interesting in representing your club. Watch the Presidents Cup tomorrow through Sunday and you will see how head to head matchplay golf is the best golf of all.
ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN
It has been thirteen years since we watched and cheered Peter Thomson's men at Royal Melbourne in the Presidents Cup. Greg Norman played Tiger Woods in the last singles match. Woods won, but by then the Internationals had already clinched the Cup. At the time there was such a build up. Norman was still our best player but his days were numbered and Woods was just becoming the enormous superstar he has become today. It was hot, mid December and the Yanks melted. Royal Melbourne is one of the few courses in the world where they integrate holes from two courses to make up a "composite" course. Twelve holes from the west course and six holes from the east course. Only very few extremely fortunate folk get to play the composite course. Many Royal Melbourne members haven't experienced the composite course but it is what is used for all the big tournaments such as the Australian Open. Fast forward to tomorrow and the biggest golf event this country has ever seen will put golf back on the front pages of every major newspaper in the nation. So many sub plots are concealed under the euphoria of the overall tournament. How will Woods perform under the ultimate pressure that the Internationals and Australian crowd are sure to place him under? Will Stricker be fit after nursing a "dead arm" for the last month? Will the Americans be able to master the fastest greens outside of Augusta in the world? Will the dream match up of Woods versus Scott/Williams eventuate? Can our Aussie boys lift for the occasion? Ogilvy, Baddeley and Allenby are all Melbourne boys and love Royal Melbourne, whilst Adam Scott and Jason Day are our best performers this year. Can Tiger's former caddie Steve Williams keep his big mouth shut for the week? Can Greg Norman outsmart Freddie Couples? The inaugural contest in this tournament was played in the US in 1994 and of the current teams only Robert Allenby and Phil Mickelson have survived the test of time. Mickelson has scored 20 points which is the most by an American. This week he was voted into the Hall of Fame in America. South Africa's Ernie Els has won 16 times, the most for the Internationals. Tomorrow there will be six foursomes matches where two man teams hit alternate shots using one ball for each team. On Friday six 4Ball Best Ball matches will be contested where the best individual score by the two man teams will win each hole. On Saturday there will be five 4somes matches in the morning and five 4BBB matches in the afternoon. On Sunday there will be twelve individual matchplay contests. Each win is worth one point. A drawn match is worth a half a point to each team. All up there will be 34 contests so the team that finishes with 17.5 points or better will be the victorious team for 2011. The International Team includes Jason Day, Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby Australia. Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel South Africa. Ryo Ishikawa Japan and K J Choi, Y E Yang and Kyung-tae Kim Korea. The US will be represented by Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, David Toms, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods and Bill Haas. If you love golf, you will love this contest between some of the worlds very best golfers.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Great golf was played all over the district last week making the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week the toughest week of the year to win, so far. No less than six players recorded scores of eight shots better than their handicaps. They included Russell Abraham Red Cliffs, Darren Mannix, Gary Metcalf Riverside, David Rossi Mildura,Ryan Teasdale Merbein and Zac McGlynn at Coomealla. The standout performer this week however, was Riverside's Darren Gray who had 9 better than handicap with 45 stableford points. Darren's practice sessions at the Sunraysia Golf Range have finally paid off and he wins four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia's most picturesque golf holes which must be collected by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura.
Contact me with any golf information or opinions at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
9/11/11
RHODES VERSUS STEWART FOR COOMEALLA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
At the halfway mark of the 2011 Coomealla Golf Club championships defending champion Greg Rhodes 71-72 is two shots ahead of Cameron Stewart who had 72-73. Rhodes hit the ball well but struggled with his putter on Sunday. If, as anticipated the greens are quicker this weekend then that could throw a curve ball into the fray as Stewart is putting really well and will be eager to at least keep up with the champion on Saturday. Round three is moving day, Rhodes can either put the championship beyond doubt or Stewart can apply the pressure and keep right on Rhodes hammer. 2009 champion Jake Laubsch struggled on Saturday returning a 78 but on Sunday he returned to the his best from with a 71. Laubsch is not out of this championship by a long shot, given that he has reeled Rhodes in on two previous occasions from four shots back in one round. Red Cliffs club champion Tim Walker is in third place after two disappointing rounds of 76. Walker hit two iron off the tee for most of the weekend to put himself in ideal position on the fairway but time and again he missed greens from close range. If he can work out his short irons and approach shots then he can go low, but nine shots is a lot to make up. And so it is a championship in three, or maybe four. Rhodes has done it all before, it will be interesting to see if the fire still burns just as bright or will it be the perenial one that almost everyone would love to see win a club championship? Will it be the lad who has climbed the mountain twice before against the king or maybe the districts best current youngster throwing caution to the wind to come from the clouds? As the Australian Open is played at the same time in Sydney and on the televisions in every clubhouse in Australia, this Coomealla championship could really be one to remember. It is already for me as I had my third hole in one on my eldest daughter Carmen's birthday on Sunday. This was a big thrill, particularly in our club championship made it a bit more special. Mind you, any hole in one is still a fluke but you take the good with the bad in golf.
RED CLIFFS TWILIGHT TEAMS COMPETITION
After thirty years in the golf caper it is refreshing when a club devises a new idea or competition. Something a bit different. Red Cliffs Golf club have come up with such an event. Every Thursday night beginning December 1 teams of four players will play a round robin of stableford matchplay. This competition is open to everyone in the district. Inital cost is $20 per team then $4 per player that plays each Thursday. Teams can nominate at least six players who can alternate each week and both men and ladies are all welcome. Similar events occur in tennis, bowls, cricket and other team games so this is another extension of the same concept. It sounds like a lot of fun and anyone can enter a team. Entries close on November 19. Email Michael Hogan on hogan.gillian.g@bigpond.com or phone AH on 50 242388.
20 TOP AUSSIES TO FIGHT OUT AUSTRALIAN OPEN
The Australian Open this week looks to be more open than ever before, maybe up to thirty players look to be good chances of winning. The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney will host it's fifth Australian Open with Jack Nicklaus in 1964 and Greg Norman in 1980, Steve Elkington in 1992 and Geoff Ogilvy last year being previous winners. Other big names to win events at the Lakes include Lee Trevin, Curtis Strange and Australian top liners Peter Senior, Craig Parry, Rodger Davis and Aaron Baddeley. In 2009 Tom Watson went within inches of winning his sixth British Open at the age of 59 at Turnberry. Maybe Peter Senior could do a Watson this week. Senior has had a great year on the US Senior Tour without winning but don't write him off. Rod Pampling knows the Lakes course better than most and would be a surprise winner but he could do it. Matt Goggin has been on the secondary US Nationwide Tour this year and has been playing well. Marc Leishman is another young player who could surprise. The list of Aussies goes on. The big names like Ogilvy, Scott, Day, Allenby, Baddeley and Senden will all have their admirerers but I think the winner will come from the secondary group of Aussies. The Americans including Tiger Woods, David Toms, Hunter Mahan, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar are all terrific players but really they are here for next week and this week is really just match practice. Toms and Johnson look to be their best chances although it would make great viewing if the big Bubba bursts out of the pack. Bubba Watson ia an absolute cracker, sort of a latter day Sam Snead, straight down from the mountains. The Australian Open is our biggest tournament of the year most years but the following week the Preidents Cup is going to be, well, delicous.
PRESIDENTS CUP LOOKS DELICOUS
Everything is coming to plan for the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne next week. Tiger has been in Melbourne doing clinics for Shane and Liz and Eddie at Lloyd Williams Capitol Golf Club for the mega rich and famous. Steve Williams has upset the applecart with a comment behind closed doors that soon became headlines all over the world. If the Aussie Open were to come down to Woods and Adam Scott it would be enormous. Lets face it, if Steve Williams opened up on his former boss all hell would break loose so don't expect too many repercussions over a throw away comment. It has just meant more attention and interest is injected into the Aussie Open and the Presidents Cup. Twelve of the Presidents Cup players are lining up in Sydney this week, if one or more of them feature in the finish it will light up the internet all over the world. Golf in Australia has been struggling for some time and the Presidents Cup can provide the impetus that Greg Norman did for the Australian golf industry twenty five years ago.
GOLFING THEME CHRISTMAS PARTY
With Christmas approaching soon most businesses are addressing the dilemma of where to have their Christmas party or get together. Last year the Sunraysia Golf Range had their Christmas party at the Irymple Bowling Club. It was a bit different, especially for the youg lads of 16 and 17 who work at the range as "ball boys". They had just as much fun as the oldies did as they tried to beat us at what looks to be an easy game. But is is not. Following on from doing something a bit different, the Sunraysia Golf Range is inviting district businesses, clubs and social clubs to consider a function at the Sunraysia Golf Range. Packages beginning at only $10 per person include golf club and ball hire for groups, meal packages are also available and the Sunraysia Golf Range has a licensed bar. After hosting many such functions in the last four years I guarantee it is a lot of fun, even more so for those who have never hit a golf ball before! Give me a call on 0419 208 337 for more details or phone the range on 50 229440.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Lots of great rounds played on Sunraysia golf courses this week. Tom Mins at Red Cliffs and Bob Bettess and George Mason at Mildura each had great rounds seven better than their handicaps. At Riverside Jamie Lanyon came in with eight better, which is hard to beat. Every now and then though, someone has the golfing day of their life and this was the case at Red Cliffs in the monthly medal on Saturday. Greg Yound had 63 net including a hole in one to be this weeks Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week winner. Greg wins four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's beautiful golf courses which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range at 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing information or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all
 
2/11/11
RHODES SET FOR ANOTHER COOMEALLA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
Greg Rhodes looks likely to win another club championship at Coomealla Golf Club over the next two weekends. If Coomealla sets up their course as difficult as it was for the last monthly medal, it favours him, as the harder the course the better it is for the very best players. At 52 years of age Rhodes is playing better than ever as his 68 off the stick at Coomy on Sunday attests. The best chance any of his competitors have is to start well and be at least on equal terms coming into the last round. There have been occasions in the past when he has not played to his best in that situation. This year the genuine chances to upset his championship defence are Mark Hahn who is unknown to most of the local golfing fraternity. Hahn splits his golfing time between Gawler and Coomealla where his best 8 rounds in the last few months average out to just over 74's. He is a definite chance as is new South Australian Jake Laubsch who won this championship in 2009. Laubsch, who is still a junior, moved to Adelaide last year and will be keen to knock off Mr Rhodes as he did in 09 when he came from 4 shots back in the final round. Tim Walker has just turned 18 and is fresh off an easy win in the Red Cliffs club championship where he won by 16 shots. Walker will be keen to do well on Sunraysia's premier golf course as he has struggled there somewhat in the past. Country week players Jacob Slimmon and perennial runner up Cameron Stewart could also surprise if they can begin well. There is no greater test in local golf than 72 holes of stroke play at Coomealla under championship conditions. After playing in Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand and Tasmania there is no doubt that Coomealla compares favourably providing a wonderful test to golfers of all levels. Play to your handicap in this tournament and it is an achievement, only 14% of players managed it on one or more days last year.
NEW CLUB COMMITTEES - SPONSORSHIPS/PARTNERSHIPS
Now is the time of year when local golf clubs are preparing for their AGM's and new committee people are being sought. Gone are the days, unfortunately when the club president and captain are accorded the respect from their members that was common place in yester year. Mind you lots of things have slipped, including course attire. Call me old fashioned but dirty old jeans, track suit pants, shirts and tops that resemble an off road advertising board really bring down the standard that all clubs used to enforce. It is the norm now to wear whatever you like irrespective of how dowdy and untidy it looks. What disappoints me is that it is not just green fee players that look like stragglers at a protest march, but some of our very best local golfers also don't understand that they are role models for juniors and other new club members. Anyhow, with regard to new committee people, one thing that should be addressed is sponsorship, which is now referred to as "partnerships". This corporate support is vital to the running of any club, particularly golf clubs. Quite often the responsibility to seek new sponsors is given to the last poor sod who was talked into going onto the committee. Hence, quite often through ignorance mainly, these unsuspecting souls go forth into the wilderness with their hands out asking anyone and everyone for financial assistance for their clubs. After being on both sides of the sponsorship counter for nearly thirty years, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. All sponsorship chair persons should be reminded of what John F Kennedy said "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country". In other words in asking for sponsorship, inform the prospective sponsor first of what your club can offer in return for their support. Not, this is what we want from you, how about it? Which basically is what the majority of sponsorship seekers ask. It is tough being on a committee these days but it is also rewarding if you can contribute and make a difference. Get in and have a go, there are so many people who just sit back and criticize but if you really enjoy being part of your golf club and want to see it prosper and be there in years to come for your children and grand-children then remember Ron Barassi's catch cry "If it is to be, it is up to me".
BARNBOUGLE DUNES AND LOST FARM
Last week there was no 19th hole as I was hosting a group down to Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm golf clubs in Tasmania. On Monday my wife Kym is taking 16 ladies down there to experience the exquisite golf courses and quiet ambiance of golf beside the sea. The girls will be staying on course in brand new units just completed at Lost Farm. Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm is the number one public access golf resort in Australia which is at it's best in summer. We are taking a mixed group down there from February 10-13 for another short break which will book out quickly. Let me know if you would like to be part of that group.
GOLF RULES RE-JIGGED
The R & A together with the USGA have altered several of the existing golf rules for 2012. Common sense dictated some of the changes including no penalty for a ball moving after it is addressed if the movement was in no way caused by the player. Players will also be able to smooth out footprints or divots in a bunker before playing their shot as long as it doesn't improve the lie of the ball. Another interesting change is that if a player is late to the tee he can still participate but with a two shot penalty in strokeplay or loss of the first hole in matchplay. Being late has always meant disqualification in the past. For all of the rule changes go to the web site for the Victorian Golf Association. The really comical section in my view is the one relating to amateurs and what can and cannot be given or paid for as an amateur golfer. It really is a dogs breakfast as expenses can be paid in some circumstances but not others and prizes and cash can be given out to some but not to others. Very confusing. After reading it I thought to myself "and Jesus wept".
COMPTON TAKES THIRD HEART - NITTIES HEART SINKS
There were two heartfelt stories that came out of the Nationwide Players Championship on Sunday. Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton finished 13th on the money list earning a 2012 PGA Tour card. The top 25 on the money list automatically get PGA Tour cards. Compton began playing golf at age 12 in 1992 after his first heart transplant for exercise and therapy. Golf soon became more than just exercise as he quickly got down to a scratch handicap by the time he had turned 15. He needed a new heart in 2008 when the first transplanted heart failed. "Golf has been such a rehab for life for me, where I could go out and not think about the issues I have." he said. Compton had another setback in July when his body rejected his heart, something doctors got under control with medicine. On Sunday he finished 18th in the tour ending championship which was his best finish since winning the Mexico Open earlier in the year. The hard luck story of the Nationwide Tour was for Australian James Nitties who was travelling really well up until the second last event when he became ill and slept through his tee time and was subsequently disqualified. He had been playing well and only needed to finish to cement his place in the top 25. On Sunday he dropped back to 26th after recording a 76 on the Saturday which he couldn't recover from on Sunday. He missed getting his Tour card by only $6000 and must play the Nationwide Tour again next year. Matt Goggin finished third on the money list after leading it up until last month and Gavin Coles moved up to 17th spot after winning the second last tournament. Both players have played on the PGA Tour before.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Good scores were few and far between this week with most clubs conducting 4BBB's or Ambrose's, hence there were few single events. Chris Hill had 43 points at Riverside to come in behind Coomealla's Howard Jones who had 4 points to better his handicap by ten shots. Chris wins the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week and four laminated placemats of golf holes from either Riverside, Coomealla, Mildura, Red Cliffs or Wentworth golf clubs which must be collected by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with any golf information or opinions at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
26/10/11
BARNBOUGLE DUNES A TASMANIAN GEM
This week the 19th hole visited Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm and were delighted with both courses and the friendly hospitality of the staff at both facilities. We last visited this precinct in March and both courses are getting better with age, particularly Lost Farm. Most of our group were playing these courses for the first time and were suitably impressed. On one hole a stray tee shot into the rough yielded fourteen balls but unfortunately not the one that the search was for. Links golf is really something special where the contours of fairways and the subtle borrows of the greens really have to be studied before a shot or putt. On parkland courses the game is mainly played through the air but it is on the ground much quicker in Links golf, if it is played how it was designed to be. After golf tours to Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand where there are some wonderful links courses, Barnbougle Dunes compares most favourably with the very best of links courses that we have played. The golf professional at Barnbougle is former Australian Amateur champion Brett Partridge who has been at the course since its inception. Brett had an outstanding amateur career and competed with some distinction as a professional until a wrist injury ended his career prematurely. Kym is hosting 16 ladies at both courses in two weeks time and we are also looking to take 24 folk down to the apple isle in February.
BIG TIME GOLF IN SPAIN AND ASIA
With on six weeks left in the 2011 season there are many big time golf tournaments being played in Europe and Australasia. The Race to Dubai has everyone's attention in world golf with only a few tournaments left for players to qualify in the top 60 for the last tournament in Dubai. Rory McIlroy is storming home and looks to be hitting top form at the right time. Last years winner Martin Kaymer is cruising along without breaking any records and the South Africans are looming as dark horses for the title. A host of Americans are playing in Spain as a warm up for the Australian Open and the Presidents Cup. More news on these events tomorrow.
RULE CHANGES FOR 2012
The R & A have announced several new rule changes that will be welcomed by all golfers for their common sense decisions. The ball moving after being addressed, time of starting and seeing ball; searching for ball are the three main rule changes. Basically each rule change refers to accidental previous rules breaches as against unintentional former rule breaches. Really it still comes back to the players own integrity but eliminates for instance if the wind blows your ball after you have addressed it. Currently that would incur a penalty but next year it won't because the player hasn't caused the ball to move. A full explanation of all of the rules that have been modified are available at several web sites including the R & A and VGA sites.
 
18/10/11
MILDURA ON SHOW AT MELBOURNE GOLF SHOW
The 2011 Melbourne Golf Show held at the Melbourne Showgrounds last weekend provided an excellent opportunity to showcase Sunraysia's golf clubs and it's many attractions to Victoria's golfing public. More than 250 "showbags" were handed out over the two days with information and flyers on golf packages, houseboat holidays, tourism information, winery, breweries and many other district attractions. Whilst the free give aways are always going to be popular, we were pleasantly surprised at how many people recognised the Sun Salt and Curlwaa orange juice brands but did not realise it came from the Mildura region. After displaying at golf shows for more than twenty years one thing comes through loud and clear - Mildura/Sunraysia is not a golfing destination that most people know about or have been to for some time. We asked everyone that passed by the stand "when is the last time you came to Mildura? The majority of people said "not for a long time" Probably twenty five to thirty per cent said that they had never been here at all. The most recognised local names were Stefano's and the Workingman's Club. A lot of people had heard of Murray Downs at Swan Hill but few had heard of Coomealla Golf Club. After years of stressing the importance of brand awareness in this column, only Riverside and Mildura Golf Clubs continue to be the only local clubs that send their results through to the metropolitan newspapers. That costs a few cents per week and a minute bit of effort but it is terrific awareness and advertising of our golf clubs. Organisers of terrific events such as the Tri-State Masters, Golf Week, Coomealla Senior Championship and Robinvale's Festival of Golf work hard to get people to come to the tournaments, just a few minutes of effort after each competition would assist in the name recognition of our golf clubs. It comes under the heading of - attention to detail, or in the cases of Coomealla, Red Cliffs, Wentworth, Robinvale and Merbein Golf Clubs, lack of attention to detail. We are more than willing to fly the flag at golf shows for our clubs and our district but just a bit of support with promotion of clubs for themselves would really go a long way! Mildura Tourism are eager to try and get all of our golf clubs together to present a marketing and awareness strategy in an attempt to attract more golfers to our district. Unless all of our golf clubs pull together as a group and work together to achieve that common goal then nothing will happen. Progress is all about looking forward, planning and then putting the plan in motion. Hey Sunraysia golf clubs, how about it?
Australian Open & The Presidents Cup
There were forty different stands at the Melbourne Golf Show representing around 240 different golf clubs, tournaments and brands. After speaking to many of the stand holders it was obvious that most feel that the interest in the up coming Australian Open and the Presidents Cup followed by the Australian Masters and PGA championship is going to give the Australian golf industry a real shot in the arm. Golf is facing many challenges and the hype and publicity that these four events will create couldn't have come at a better time. Once upon a time golf clubs sat and waited for members and green fee players to turn up. These days if you don't work hard to attract new members and players then you will soon be left wondering what happened. All of the major golf clubs in Melbourne are focussing on their revenue and how to maintain and increase numbers. It is no different to football, tennis, cricket and all of our other major sports, everyone is chasing bums on seats. We have got the courses, tournaments, accommodation, restaurants. The time is now.
WALKER TROTS IN AT RED CLIFFS
Tim Walker is the 2011 Red Cliffs Golf Club champion after rounds of 78-68-74-74. Runner up was seven times club champion Justin McPhee who had 77-76-77-76. Walker was never troubled after the second round and went into the last round with a comfortable ten stroke lead. Walker is following in the footsteps of his sister Christie who is now a golf professional teaching at the Melbourne Golf Acadamey. Red Cliffs were disappointed with their championship field of only 29 players and may have to look at rescheduling their championships to earlier in the year. The Red Cliffs golf course is improving all the time, the weather was tough on Saturday but perhaps, like many other clubs, their older members opted not to play four stroke rounds in a row. John Filippi and Jim Douglas were the B and C grade winners.
WILMANN TOO GOOD AT RIVERSIDE
Steve Wilmann was not challenged in the last two rounds of the 2011 Riverside Golf Club championships winning by ten shots after rounds of 67-71-76-78. Runner up was Robert Veit with 75-73-79-75. Wilmann has been a gifted golfer since his early teens as his first two rounds where he was six under par attests. On the weekend his scores slipped but it is difficult to maintain that standard when you are so far in front. Sometimes caution can go the other way. It would be really good for Steve, Riverside Golf Club and Sunraysia Golf if he could seriously commit to having a go at being one of the districts top players. There is no doubt that he is capable of being in the top three or four players, if he want to. Not everyone wants to see how far they can go in golf,but oh so many would love to have the ability to try. Steve Wilmann has that ability and could win Open tournaments, if he really wanted to. In other grades at Riverside, Jamie Donaldson, Brendan Marr and Russell Dower were successful. The club were pleased with their field of 79 players.
McGAFFIN HOLDS ON AT MERBEIN
Peter McGaffin won the Merbein Golf Club championship for the first time on Sunday with rounds of 72-82-82-82. 2010 champion Phil Matotek was runner up with rounds of 80-81-81-82. McGaffin really set up the win with an impressive par round of 72 in the first round and was never seriously challenged after that. On Sunday Matotek closed within five shots with five holes to play but a lost ball off the tee on the fourteenth, ending his hopes of a back to back win. Merbein has now had five different winners in five years and it is a credit to the smallest club in the district how the majority if it's members support the majority of their events. Nick Cavallo was the B grade champion and Merv Woodhouse won the prestigious Martin Cup.
SOME GOLFING TRUISMS
Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer.
Golf! You hit down to make the ball go up. You swing left and the ball goes right.
The lowest score wins. And on top of that, the winner buys the drinks.
If you find you do not mind playing golf in the rain, the snow, even during a hurricane, here's a valuable tip: your life is in trouble.
Golfers who try to make everything perfect before taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot.
A 'gimme' can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers ...neither of whom can putt very well.
An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play; it is always possible to get worse.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Scores were only average across the board this week. Eight players recorded rounds of six better than handicap including: Jim Piper and Bernie Dean at Merbein, Aaron Shaw and Linda Jakubans at Wentworth and Robert Young, Philip Webster, Frank Crouch and Joe Cifti at Mildura. The winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week is Merv Woodhouse who had 44 points at Merbein last Wednesday. Merv can pick up four laminated placemats of Sunrsaysia's golf courses from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golf information or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
11/10/11
2011 MELBOURNE GOLF SHOW
Sunraysia golf clubs and our district's top attractions will be presented to the Victorian golfing public this weekend at the 2011 Melbourne Golf Show. Sunraysia Golf Tours are partnering with Mildura Tourism Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club, Mildura Golf Club Resort, Riverside Golf Club and several other business on a stand at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Adventure Houseboats, PS Mundoo, Melbourne and Rothbury will all have displays and Trentham Estate Wines will be given away along with Curlwaa Orange Juice. The 20th Tri-State Masters 54 hole golf tournament from May 20-25 will be featured on the stand giving exposure to the tournament and Sunraysia's fantastic golfing facilities. Melbourne Golf Show organisers are expecting in excess of 20,000 visitors to the show which is free to the public. Golf will be the buzz word in Melbourne over the next few weeks in the the lead up to the Australian Open on November 10, followed by the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne on November 18. There is no doubt that the Presidents Cup will easily be the biggest golf event ever conducted in Australia. We first began exhibiting at golf shows at the Australian Open at Kingston Heath in 1989. Since then we have had stands at golf shows and tournaments in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Golf tournament entrants and the travelling golfers custom are very much sought after by golf clubs, golf tournaments and tour companies. It is a very competitive marketplace with so many tournaments and events virtually available every week of the year, many offering big prizes and inducements. In Sunraysia we have some excellent facilities and attractions but the biggest hurdle to overcome is the travesty of distance to attract golfers here. The aim therefore is to convince people that what we have is worth coming for, then staying just that little bit longer than say, a weekend trip to Swan Hill, Echuca or Yarrawonga. It presents another great opportunity to meet and greet people from all sorts of places and backgrounds and talk about our favourite topics. Golf and the delights of Sunraysia.
WILMANN ON FIRE AT RIVERSIDE
The real Steve Wilmann stepped forward at Riverside in the 2011 Riverside club championship. On Saturday he blew the field away with a superb round of 67. 2010 champion Chris Thomas was left nine shots behind whilst multiple club champion Robert Viet was one better on 75. The second day of a championship can be a bit of a let down but not so at the picturesque river course as Wilmann followed up with 71. This is seriously good golf, matched by Thomas who had 72 and Viet who had 73. The chasers are ten shots behind but round three is moving day and it remains to be seen if the all "new" Steve Wilmann will continue on with the job or relax back into party mode. It would be fantastic if he could break par every day of the championship. That would sort of be "Rhodeseque".
WALKER ON THE TROT AT RED CLIFFS
Tim Walker holds seven a shot lead over club legend Justin McPhee after two rounds of the Red Cliffs club championships. On Saturday both boys played together and were probably more intent on what the other was doing than concentrating fully on their own games. McPhee held a narrow one shot advantage shooting a disappointing 77 to Walkers 78. On Sunday Walker slipped straight into first gear reeling off a 68 to McPhee's 76. Walker and McPhee are playing all four rounds together and McPhee will be desperate to put the pressure on the youngster early on Saturday. It is not easy to lead a championship, especially with someone of the calibre of McPhee breathing down your neck. Walker though, is very level headed and needs only to shoot around par to hold the "chief" at bay.
SMASHER IN THE CLEAR AT MERBEIN
There was a bit of deja vu at Merbein in their club championships at the weekend. Last year after two rounds "Smasher" McGaffin was four shots in front and cruising. This year he is nine shots clear from last years eventual champion Phil "Tosh" Matotek. On Saturday McGaffin shot 72 off the stick, nine shots better than handicap, which is a great performance. Matotek came in with an 80 which is about what you would expect of his handicap of 9. On Sunday McGaffin backed up with an 82 to Matotek's 81. On Saturday everyone at the club will be watching and waiting to see what happens. Can the "Smasher" keep it going or will Matotek strike back to give himself a chance of going back to back on Sunday?
HEATHER BOTHROYD
The Heather Bothroyd American Mixed Foursomes was played at the Mildura Golf Club Resort on Sunday. Heather was a well known golfing personality in Sunraysia for many years in 60's till 80's. She passed away in 1985 but her memory is perpetuated with awards at both Mildura and Riverside Golf Clubs. On Sunday her daughter Mandy teamed up with John Keogh to take out the title with a 75 off the stick. It is the second time Mandy has been on the winners dais for her mothers award. Back in the heady days of the 60's, 70's and 80's mixed golf was so much bigger and more popular than it is today, many district couples would frequent the "mixed circuit" at all of the district's golf clubs. Sadly with the advent of television, texting, facebook and twitter, that social side of golf and visiting other clubs has dropped right off. It is a real pity.
PRESIDENTS CUP AT ROYAL MELBOURNE
Everything is beginning to fall into place for the ninth staging of the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne from November 14-20. Whilst the tournament cannot be compared realistically to the enormous hype of the Ryder Cup which is played between the US and Europe on the even years. It is edging closer. The American players are all looking forward to playing at what is regarded as one of the best five golf courses in the world. So far Hale Irwin, Arnold Palmer, Ken Venturi, Jack Nicklaus and Fred Couples have Captained the US teams whilst David Graham, Peter Thomson, Gary Player and Greg Norman have been our leaders. Take five Aussies including Adam Scott, Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley and match them up against the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson and it should be such a wonderful celebration of the very best that the game of golf has to offer. This event is matchplay golf in two's and in singles and is without doubt, golf in it's purest form. Go internationals!
RACE TO DUBAI
The Race to Dubai is the European Tour's answer to the FedEx Cup in America. This year probably hasn't been as sensational as last year in the lead up but the race is nearing completion with only ten more tournaments until the finale in Dubai beginning December 8. After that championship, $7,500,000 will be divided between the top 15 finishers. The standings at present see world number one Luke Donald in first place ahead of Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Anders Hansen, Thomas Bjorn, Simon Dyson, Darren Clarke and Alexander Noren. This week they play in the Portugal Masters.
PORKY PRIZE IN MADRID
Scotsman Elliot Saltman hammed it up at the Madrid Masters on the European Tour last week. The tournament offered up a really bizarre hole in one prize on the 180 metre par 3 third hole which Saltman aced with a seven iron. His prize was his weight in ham! After not making the cut for the weekend he had to work out how to get 240lb of ham valued at $11,000 on a plane to take home. Saltman is a bit of a hole in one specialist as in June he had two holes in one at the Wales Open at Celtic Manor. Sounds like Christmas will be huge at his place this year.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The scores were red hot last week with club championships bringing the best out in some of the districts top golfers. Steve Wilmann was top of the list with a 67 and 71, Tim Walker was next on 68 and Peter McGaffin and Chris Thomas both had par rounds. In the handicap stakes Merv Woodhouse was seven better at Merbein as was Don Wright at Riverside and Tracey Hywood at Coomealla. McGaffin was second only to Riverside's prodigal son Brett Hayes who has resumed playing golf after a seven year hiatus. Brett wins the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week and four Sunraysia Golf Course laminated placemats. These must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing information or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
9/10/11
SUNRAYSIA EDGING CLOSER AT COUNTRY WEEK GOLF
Sunraysia District Golf Association finished its 2011 Country Week mission on a high on Friday at Long Island Golf Club against fromidable opposition in Goulburn Valley. Goulburn Valley has been a dominant force at Country week for more than twenty five years and defend their record with an admirable strength of determination. Sunraysia knew it was in for a real dogfight but came up trumps 6/3. For Sunraysia Tim Walker squared his match against State player Jason Zappelli in what turned out to be the match of the week. Walker was two down with four to play but came roaring home with the whole Sunraysia team following on behind giving him loud vocal support. Prior to the last contest Cameron Stewart had won his match at number two and Captain Justin McPhee had won easily 6/4. Tim Peterson and Ryan Laird had both won their fouth contests for the week to claim equal shares on the Brendan O'Brien Award for best Sunraysia player of the week. Sean Baumgurtel was the other winner on the day picking up his second win for the week. A rare record occurred with all ten Sunraysia players recording at least on e win with Ashley Whitehouse, Jacob Slimmon, Andrew Stewart and Robert Veit all saluting once. Whitehouse battled manfully against top class players losing three contests on the 18th. His is a fine recrd at Country Week so he would be disappointed with his win loss ratio of 1/4 this year. Whitehouse is a vital cog to Sunraysia winning the Division One title for the first time. Next year Tim Walker is off to South Australia leaving a big hole in the team. If for instance Greg Rhodes, Steve Wilmann and Matthew Lynch decided to stand for selection, then next year Sunraysia would have its best ever chance of claiming the title of top Country District in Victoria. It can happen if all contributing parties unite to make it happen.
Red Cliffs junior Tim Walker lost a sudden death play off for the Victorian Country Championship at Green Acres Golf Club on Friday on the third extra hole. The 36 hole championship concluded at Woodlands Golf Club on Tuesday but the Victorian Golf Association were not adequately prepared for a playoff result. Traralgon's Matt Couling had played his second round in the morning so when Walker finished equal with him he had left the course some hours earlier. This is where the tournament conditions broke down. Any professionally run tournament would normally have a playoff scenario prepared and make sure that anyone who is a possible play off candidate be in attendance if that situation is to arise. This wasn't the case from the State's governing golf body. Furthermore, with three days still to go to organize a playoff the ruling body suggested that the playoff be conducted at Kew Golf Club on the Friday morning after Couling played there in the morning. Sunraysia officials were disappointed that a more convenient course between Long Island Golf Club in Frankston and Kew Golf Club be sourced for the playoff. Green Acres Golf Club two minutes from Kew Golf Club was decided by the VGA to be the playoff venue. Walker then had to high tail it from Frankston to Kew whilst his opponent relaxed and practiced at Green Acres until his opponent arrived. Both players parred the first two holes then Walker hit a mammoth drive down the third hole which just kept going and going, eventually finishing in a watery grave and sinking his chances of the title. Full credit to Couling for his well deserved win but once again the VGA continue a tradition of not getting things right. Walker though, can hold his head high as the playoff loss does in no way detract from his excellent performance over the full five days of the tournament. He will be extremely difficult to replace next year at the top of the order when he continues on his journey towards a life in golf, eventually progressing into the professional ranks. This has been his dream for several years and if he continues to work just as hard on his game there is no doubt that he has the talent to succeed.
Sunraysia Team Performance Statistics
Player Played Won Draw Lost Total Points
Tim Peterson 5 4 - 1 8
Ryan Laird 5 4 - 1 8
Justin McPhee 5 3 - 2 6
Tim Walker 5 2 1 2 5
Cameron Stewart 5 2 1 2 5
Sean Baumgurtel 4 2 - 2 4
Jacob Slimmon 5 1 1 3 3
Robert Veit 3 1 1 1 3
Ash Whitehouse 5 1 - 4 2
Andrew Stewart 3 1 - 2 2
 
5/10/11
PHIL LAWN 2011 WENTWORTH CLUB CHAMPION
Phil Lawn is the new Wentworth Golf Club champion after coming from six strokes behind leader Matthew Lynch 69-72-72-77 in the last round then winning a four hole playoff after shooting rounds of 71-75-73-71. Lynch went into the last round seemingly past the post and heading for his sixth title as champion. With five holes to play Lawn still trailed by six shots but then shot two under par to draw level with the defending champion who had imploded in the last four holes. Wentworth Golf club has a set four hole play off for all championships on the 10th, 16th, 17th and 18th holes. Both players parred 10 and 16 but Lynch bogeyed 17 and 18 to Lawn's pars handing the championship to the former three time Red Cliffs Golf Club champion. Apart from his three club championship wins at Red Cliffs, Lawn had also won the Red Cliffs Open and last year won the scratch section of the Rivertowns Classic. Yesterday he said "I thought my championship was over on the last hole on Saturday when I took triple bogey on the 18th for the second day in a row. With nine holes to go Lynchy was still six in front but I kept battling away and eventually knocked in a couple of birdies to put the pressure on" Lawn is playing off a two handicap at Wentworth and Coomealla and is still only young in golfing terms with lots of good golf ahead of him. In the B grade section Doug Rowsell won a five hole play off with club president Keith Plain to end a very exciting championship for the club.
WALKER STEPS UP IN VICTORIAN COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP
Red Cliffs junior Tim Walker finished equal first in the junior section of the Victorian Country Championship at Spring Valley and Woodlands Golf Clubs in Melbourne on Monday and Tuesday. He will now go into a sudden death play off at Green Acres Golf Club on Friday afternoon to decide the championship. Walker shot 75 on Monday and followed it up with an excellent 73 at Woodlands, regarded as one of Melbourne's stiffest tests of golfing skill. His score of 148 placed him fifth overall behind Goulburn Valley's James Zappelli who had 70-75. Next best performer for Sunraysia was Cameron Stewart who had 71-77. Jacob Slimmon is nearing top form after rounds of 82-73 whilst Robert Veit 88-81 improved overnight but Sean Baumgurtel 85-90 and Andrew Stewart 78-DNF really struggled at Woodlands. The remaining five players in the team elected to miss the championship and concentrate on the matchplay section of Country Week which begins today at Victoria Golf Club. Sunraysia will play arch rival Bendigo this morning and ballarat this afternoon.
CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS AT MERBEIN-RIVERSIDE-RED CLIFFS
The 2011 club championships hits off at Merbein,Riverside and Red Cliffs on Saturday. Last year Chris Thomas won his first club championship at Riverside and will be eager to go back to back this year. It will be a huge task as this year, on the surface at least, there appears to be at least five strong challengers for the title. Troy Germaine was runner up last year and could go one better if he can maintain the pressure for all four rounds. Steve Wilmann first won the Riverside's club championship in 1999 and has been a solid player since. If he were to play his very best golf he would win comfortably but he prefers to "enjoy" his golf these days, perhaps though this year he might feel the urge to get serious. Dave Woolcock was responsible for the best round of the year (68) by a Riverside member this year and if he can replicate that form then he is in with a strong chance. Other who should feature during the championship are Alan Mcmaster and Robert Veit. Phil Matotek will defend his title at Merbein and faces strong opposition from Gavin Hocking, Smasher McGaffin, Ken Matulick and 2009 champion Roger Walder. Out at Red Cliffs Golf club it will be a gigantic tussle between seven times club champion Justin McPhee and the districts top junior player Tim Walker. Walker is off to greener pastures in Adelaide next year and will be keen to win his club championship for the first time. McPhee though, will start favourite.
VETERANS GOLF CLASSIC
Mildura golf club Resort will conduct the 2011 Veterans Golf Classic on Friday October 14 and Monday October 17. Fridays round is a 4BBB stablefor with men's and ladies sections and Monday's game will be a single stableford with sections for both genders. This will be third year of the event which is part of the Seniors Week Festival held throughout Victoria and includes lots of many and varied events and programs for seniors (over 50). Mildura Golf club Resort is one of sixteen Victorian country golf clubs to run the event. Cost per day is $20 per player. Phone the club on 50 231147 for more information. All welcome.
DAVID GOOD VICTORIAN SENIOR OPEN CHAMPION
Former Tasmanian golf professional David Good (72-70) won the 2011 Victorian Senior Championship at Beacon Hills Golf Club last week from Queenslander Terry Price (71-72). This was an outstanding effort in deplorable weather conditions that necessitated delays over the two day 36 hole championship. Good was instrumental in establishing the Riverside Senior Pro Am which ran from 1999-2001 and played at Riverside for three years culminating the last year for the Victorian Senior Championship. Good only played in the first Riverside event in 1999 as he qualified for the European Senior Tour and competed there for the next ten years. During his ten year stint in Europe he won twice in Tunisia and Holland and continues to have exempt status due to his career earnings on the tour. Last year he returned to Melbourne and is much sought after as a teaching professional at Mount Martha and Sorrento Golf Clubs. Yesterday he spoke about his time in Europe "I really enjoyed the experience of playing on the European Seniors Tour. You get to meet some great people and play on the best golf courses in the world. My personal favourite is Turnberry in Scotland but Royal Country Down in Ireland is not far behind it. I contested three British Senior Opens at Royal County Down, one of which Ian Stanley won and also three US Senior PGA's. At 64 I felt it was time to come home and settle down and see more of my daughter and two sons who all live nearby. I really enjoy coming to Mildura and hope that a Seniors Pro Am can come back onto our Senior program of events. Many of the pro's who played in those events still talk about what a great time they had in Mildura". The amateur section of the championship at Beacon Hills was noteworthy as former test cricketer Dean Jones won the nett section and was second by one shot in the amateur scratch with 72-72.
THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO SURVIVAL HANDBOOK FOR GOLF
Some funny things happens on our golf tours. While it is an unwritten rule that "whatever happens on the tour, stays on the tour" I can't help resist recalling an incident at Gleneagles in our first game on Scottish soil. One of our group found himself in some long wet grass, in playing his shot he lost control of the club and it flew into one of his female playing partners. Fortunately she was not injured but more in shock she continued her round. On reaching Ireland several days latter I was fossicking around in a book shop when I came across a book titled Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook for Golf. On reading the chapters there were sections devoted to - How To Prevent a Club from Flying Out of Your Hands and another on How to Avoid Getting Hit by a Ball and further, How to Carry an Injured Golfer. Naturally I purchased the book which also features chapters on, How to Disarm Irate Golfer, How to cCntrol Your Golf Rage, How to Survive a Tornado, How to Thwart a Cheat, How to Stop Thinking About a Horrible Shot and How to Scale a Fence to Retrieve a Ball. There are over 70 chapters on how to overcome problems and disasters in the book which is really fun to read, some of the advice may actually come in quite handy. It sure would have in Scotland!
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Scores were down overall at most clubs last week due to the inclement weather and less golf being played on Grand Final weekend. At Coomealla Bernie Sprague and Michael Morrall both fired up with 42 points which equalled Lou Young at Red Cliffs. At Mildura Golf Club Resort Gerald Power and Dennis McLaughlin both had plus six but the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week goes to Marty Livingstone who shot a more than credible plus seven. Marty can pick up four Sunraysia Golf Clubs laminated placemats from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura by Friday.
Contact me with any golf information or opinions Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
27/9/11
SUNRAYSIA ALL SET FOR COUNTRY WEEK
The best ten available players in district golf will travel down to Melbourne on Sunday to do battle with the best players in country Victoria at 2011 Country Week. This will be the third year in a row that Sunraysia will contest division one after two excellent team performances in 2009-2010. Team captain Justin McPhee has led from the front during the last four years and will really need to rise to the occasion again this year if Sunraysia is to maintain its place in division one. Experienced campaigners in Ashley Whitehouse, Tim Peterson and Cameron Stewart will also be expected to play to their optimum. Tim Walker is the up and comer that most expect to be our top contributor after an excellent domestic season. Jacob Slimmon hasn't played much golf this year but is capable of playing top golf as his scratch handicap suggests. Andrew Stewart is a hot and cold player who is capable of lifting at the right time, next week will be one of those times. Ryan Laird has had extensive experience in a number of state and national competitions in the last two years and is capable of performing well at this level. Sean Baumgurtel has shown in recent years that he is comfortable in this competition and Robert Veit was playing Country Week before Walker and Laird were born. After our ladies team had their best result in 26 years in Melbourne last month it is now time for the men to wear their new uniforms with pride and show Victoria that it is not just our weather that shines.
COOMEALLA MEN TO THE FORE
Coomealla's Ron Hunt and John Fletcher have qualified for the National Championship Final of the Pacific Golfer Best Ball Challenge on the Gold Coast on October 17-18. Ron and John finished third in the State final at Sanctuary Lakes Golf Club in Melbourne recently after winning the Sunraysia leg last month. By qualifying for the final they each receive a stay and play package valued at $1295 per person staying at the Radisson Resort on course at Palm Meadows Golf Club. Hopes are high that they can take out the final as Ron is one of the longest hitters at Coomealla and John comes from an impressive career as a top golfer in South Australia in his earlier years. The event is a four ball better ball stableford to be played at Coolangatta Tweed Heads, these two have combined brilliantly together to make a more than formidable combination. All players who contested the Coomealla leg still have a chance of winning a great prize to be drawn at the final presentation dinner as all contestants from the 150 clubs will go into a free draw for some sensational prizes. Next year will be the third running of the championship and the Coomealla leg is sure to be booked out, particularly if the Ronjohns win this year.
IRELAND A GOLFING HEAVEN
On Sunday Kym and I returned home from our 2011 golf tour to Scotland and Ireland. It really was a golfing holiday of a lifetime. We hosted folk from Coomealla, Riverside, Red Cliffs, Wodonga and The Dunes golf clubs, all of whom were blown away with the whole package. We first visited Edinburgh and took off around the city on a double Decker bus where you can jump on and off at regular intervals, this gives people a really good look at the city and all of it's attractions. The following day we travelled to Gleneagles where three golf courses are offered to its members and guests. We played the Kings course which was the original course where Pro Celebrity Golf was filmed for television featuring Seve Ballesteros and Lee Trevino partnering celebrities such as Sean Connery and Ronnie Corbett. Our next stop was at Royal Troon golf club which has hosted eight British Opens. The weather was extremely challenging as the golf course is located right next to the sea and the wind was unbelievably strong. The par 3 eighth hole known as the Postage Stamp is the shortest hole used on any British Open course at 111 metres but I needed a 5 iron to reach the green. We left bonny Scotland and headed for Belfast by ferry with our coach driver Colm a virtual local who gave us a two hour tour of Belfast and its roughest, toughest and historic spots. This was most intriguing and Colm held everyone's attention with his commentary on the IRA and the unpleasantness that had permeated across the city for so many years. Thankfully, Belfast and its communities, for all intents and purposes has moved on, peace has been struck as people now walk the streets without any fear of intimidation or repercussion. Our first stop in Ireland was at Templepatrick where a 36 hole professional tournament was concluding as we arrived. The course was in exemplary condition but our group struggled to get anywhere near the course record of 65 that was posted during the tournament. Our next stop was at Druids Glen which proudly boasts it's course as the "Augusta of Europe". Druids Glen is a picture perfect golf course, the on course accommodation and dining facility are top class. Next on the itinerary, a weekend in Dublin where we were inundated with good natured heckling by any Irishman we came into contact with as Ireland had knocked off Australia in the World Cup rugby in New Zealand. If you think Australians are passionate about their sport then the Irish come a close second as they replayed the games continuously for three days at the hotel we stayed in. Limerick was our next stop and provided lots of fun and frivolity. After playing at Lahinch which opened in 1892 but was redesigned in 1927 by Dr Alister McKenzie, most of our group suggested that the golf course was unlike anything that they had ever seen before. After playing Lahinch in 2000 Riverside's Ken Ellery suggested it was like playing golf on the moon.
Kym though, rates it as her favourite golf course, an interesting choice by any measure but that is part of the attraction that golf is. Every golf course is different in its own way, be that subtle, challenging, breathtaking or simply indescribable. That night we attended a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle which was a real highlight. Popular Red Cliffs golfer Ray Pain was thrown into the dungeon for a minor misdemeanour and had to agree to sing for his supper in front of 200 guests. Ray chose Old Shep as his song and was doing quite nicely until he forgot the words, he ended the performance by singing that old Shep was crook so he shot him. I'm not sure the big German and American contingents in attendance knew what an old Shep was but they applauded warmly when Ray left the stage! Old Head golf links in Kinsale was our next port of call, recently awarded the most spectacular golf course on the planet ahead of Cypress Point and Whistling Straits in the US and Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand, by Links golf magazine. Having played Cape Kidnappers on our last two New Zealand golf tours we agreed with the magazines assessment as it surpasses any other course we have played for that wow factor, both as a golf course and for its stunning views from every direction. Old Head sits on a 180 acre promontory with 300 foot drops to the Atlantic Ocean below and a lighthouse that guards the course providing a wonderful backdrop to the closing 18th hole. The accommodation, food, hospitality and friendliness of the staff was exceptional, not cheap but worth every penny. After Old Head everyone was thinking that the next course would be a let down. This was not to be as Mt Juliet provided a completely different course set in 1500 acres of parkland which included fishing, trekking and horse riding. Voted the best parkland course in Britain and winning Hotel of the year awards along with the 1000 acre stud property alongside the course, Mt Juliet provided a superb relaxing climax to our holiday. Coomealla's Michael Morrall was awarded the "Ellery Award" for the champion golfer of the tour and The Dunes Marg Wilson was the top lady. Ray Pain on his fourth tour was once again the centre of much fun and frivolity, quite often being mistaken as an Australian leprechaun! In October/November we are taking our 18th and 19th golf tours to Barnbougle Golf links in Tasmania followed by our 20th golf tour to New Zealand in March and are now delighted to announce our 21st tour to Ireland next September.
BADDELEY AND DAY FLY THE AUSSIE FLAG
Aaron Baddeley went within one shot of winning the biggest prize in US golf on Sunday at Eastlake Golf Club in the FedEx Cup. The Tour Championship culminates the official US Tour season which began with over 200 professionals pruned down to the top 30 at Eastlake. American Bill Haas won in a playoff with Hunter Mahan after playing one of golf's best ever shots out of water to a foot on the second playoff hole. Haas took home $1.5 mil for his win plus a further $10mil for winning the overall FedEx Cup. Aaron Baddeley missed putts on the last three holes that would have put him into the playoff. Jason Day had a putt on the last hole to make the playoff also but three putted after charging the hole. Adam Scott was in contention for the first 36 holes but dropped back to still finish top 10. All three players plus Geoff Ogilvy should now make the Presidents Cup against the US in November with Robert Allenby also a chance to make the team to be captained by Greg Norman at Royal Melbourne.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Lots of good scores this week to report for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. Six players recorded seven better than their handicaps including Riverside's Ollie Asmanis, Russell Gibson and Anne Parker who were all equalled by Maria Rogers, Ken Forster and Vince Dichiera at Coomealla. Ray Cottle was eight up at Riverside one behind Andrew Hill who had a career best 72/63 only to lose out to Wentworth's Jean Riley who once again proved to be the girl most likely with 45 points. Jean can collect her prize of four laminated print placemats of the beautiful 18th hole of Wentworth Golf Club from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing information or opinions at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all
 
8/9/11
PETER BENCE, TV DIRECTOR,CHAMPION RUNNER - COOMEALLA SENIORS CHAMPION
Peter Bence from Kingswood Golf Club is the 2011 Coomealla Senior Champion after he won in a four man playoff at Coomealla on Wednesday after rounds of 73-82-80-235. Bence was the overnight leader on Monday after an impressive 73 that included 17 pars, one bogey and ultimately, was the low round of the tournament. On Tuesday he again started confidently, walking to the 12th tee only one over the card. In the last seven holes of his round he began to disintegrate dropping nine shots to finish with an 82. Meanwhile 2010 champion Allan Bullas was quietly chipping away after a 76 on Monday then a 78 on Tuesday left him one shot in front of the chasing pack. Bence was in second place one shot ahead of Eastwood's Chris Blythman with Chirnside Park's Ray Walker three behind. Colac golfer Greg Welsh was four shots off the pace but still in contention on the tough Coomealla layout. The seeded group hit off and disaster struck on the par 5 second hole for Bence after he carded an eight. All four players were struggling but Bence dug deep fighting back to turn in 38 and hold a commanding four stroke lead by the 11th hole. The last eight holes were a roller coaster with Welsh, who was playing in the group ahead emerging as the one to beat after he returned a 77 for a three round total of 235. Bullas self destructed with his putter completely going on strike as he fell out of contention on the last four holes. Both Walker and Blythman had chances to secure a victory but it wasn't to be. In the playoff Walker was the first to drop out after a bogey on the 10th. Welsh and Blythman were next to fall to bogey as Bence threw his arms up in victory when his par putt dropped on the par 3 eleventh to signal his first win on the Senior circuit in six years of trying. Peter Bence has rubbed shoulders with all of the big names in sport over the years. He began his working life as a stagehand at channel 7 in Melbourne, graduated to cameraman then eventually as a Television director. His happiest memories were working on the famous Sunday morning World of Sport with Ron Casey, Lou Richards and Jack Dyer where he was the director for the last six years of the show. Other shows he worked on included The Price is Right, Australian Masters at Huntingdale Golf Club, Australian Open Tennis, Melbourne Cup and of course the AFL football and several grand finals. Bence, a non smoker and drinker is also a fitness fanatic and won the 1500 metres gold medal at the 2010 Australian Masters games in the 60-64 age group and was second this year. Currently he is a replay director on the One Asia Golf Tour and travels around Asia when his senior golf commitments allow. A side light of seniors circuit is that Bence is the unofficial "interest" holder and as such calculates the chances of any of the players who like to have an interest on the events outcomes. Suffice to say that four of the other top contenders were showing much interest in the finish of the event but not as much as Peter Bence! On Wednesday he said "This is my third time at Coomealla. I really love the golf course. There is no better course in the country, although Horsham and Shepparton go close. I have finished second twice in the Seniors but to finally win on such a great golf course really is a big thrill". Leading local Sunraysia golfer was John Keogh who finished three shots behind after rounds of 81-80-77-238. The next event on the Seniors circuit is the Northern Open on October 3rd followed by the Horsham Open on October 6th.
 
6/9/11
NORTH WEST WOMEN ARE THE BEST
North West Women's Golf (Sunraysia) won division three at the annual Country Teams championships in Melbourne last week. It is the first time since 1985 that the team has won it's division after trying and failing valiantly with limited resources in recent years. Last year the ladies struggled losing to Bendigo who had been demoted from division two the previous year. Bendigo went on to win the division and carried on that form to win division two this year. From day one this year the NWWG team were on song after winning 6.5/.5 in the first encounter against Kara Kara. On day two they defeated arch rivals Northern (Swan Hill ) 6/1 after having accounted for Wimmera 6/1. Wednesday's contest against West Gippsland was always destined to be the big test, after years of failing against the top teams in the division. Michelle Bowdidge and Nycole Rirodan maintained their unbeaten record in the championships as did Fran Richards who played three games but was the difference on Wednesday. With four holes remaining she was three down and looking beaten but in an amazing turnaround she fought back to win one up. The other winner on the day was Rhonda Young who struggled in the first two matches but played terrific matchplay golf in the last two contests. Sue Laird at number one and Michelle Philp at number two were solid contributors against top quality opposition and Dora Stewart played a significant part in the teams success. The team was capably led by team manager Sue Walmsley who did a power of work behind the scenes. Sue gets very immersed in her planning, then conveying her message to the team, hence her nickname by the girls is "Willis" (what you talking about Willis?) Sue's constant message to the team is "We are a team first, team second and team third". There is no i in team and the girls stuck together to achieve their goal. There is no greater feeling in golf than to be part of a winning matchplay team, particularly when it is representing your district. The caddies also played a huge part in the teams success including Lisa Garioch, Mandy Bothroyd, Janet Luke and Sonja Golitschenko. Next year division two will be an even bigger challenge and new players will have to emerge to further strengthen the team. District golf is about to change in the next few years, with forward thinking it should be an exciting time to be involved in Sunraysia golf. With people like Sue Walmsley showing the way, the only way is up. Well done Sue and all of your team.
GREG RHODES - THE LEGEND CONTINUES
Greg Rhodes won the Mildura Golf Club Resort club championship for the 15th time on Saturday after recording rounds of 70-73-72-74-289. Runner up was Cameron Stewart who had 73-72-70-77-292. Ryan Laird was third after rounds of 72-75-76-76-299. The blustery conditions on Saturday did not encourage low scoring with some of the tough pin positions adding to the difficulty of the course. Rhodes is such a fierce competitor. He loves the game but really enjoys the cut and thrust of the competition and appreciates his opponents good play. It is not uncommon to hear him encouraging his playing partners, something that most wouldn't do in the heat of battle. It is amazing how he maintains his desire to win and be the best he can be, year after year, championship after championship. Cameron Stewart would probably the club champion at most other district golf clubs but that man Rhodes is his nemesis. Stewart will win this championship if he can overcome Rhodes, playing head to head. It is as simple and as difficult as that. Ryan Laird has worked hard on his golfing progress but would be disappointed with his scores after the first round. He has the talent but it takes more than just talent to succeed at the top level, hopefully he will take the next step soon if that is what he really wants to do.
COOMEALLA SENIORS CHAMPIONSHIP WIDE OPEN
The scene is set today for real dog fight in the final round of the 2011 Coomealla Senior Championship. Commonwealth's Allan Bullas who is defending his 2010 title, is one shot clear of Kingswood's Peter Bence with Eastwood's Chris Blythman one shot back in third and Chirnside Park's Ray Walker fourth. Wayne Aigner from Narooma, Anthony Hyde from Rossdale, Greg Welsh from Colac and John Payne from Yarrawonga are all only four shots off the lead. Any one of the top eight players could come through today and win the title. Peter Bence surprised everyone on Monday when he had 17 pars and one bogey to lead by two shots from Bullas and 2010 third place getter Ray Walker in near perfect conditions. Yesterday though, the wind blew and the greens were cut just a little bit faster which made scoring more difficult. Chris Blythman's 76 was the best round of the day ahead of Bullas who had 78 with four players coming in with 79's. Bullas is the man to beat but Ray Walker is his biggest danger. John Keogh is the leading local seven shots off the pace but Alan Scorer, John Thomson and Peter Duscher are all in front in the lower grades. Coomealla once again has been lauded for it's condition and tournament organization which augers well for future tournaments on the Mighty Murray's premier golf course.
SIX AUSSIES STILL IN FedEx CUP
With two tournaments left to decide the winner of the 10 million dollar first prize in the FedEx Cup remaining, six Aussies remain in contention. On Sunday little known American golfers Webb Simpson and Chez Reavie fought out a playoff in the Deutsche Bank Championship with Simpson emerging the winner. Next week the BMW Championship in Chicago will host the remaining top 70 players left in the playoffs. The Aussie contingent still in contention are Jason Day, Adam Scott, Robert Allenby, Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley and Mark Leishman. Jason Day finished equal third on Sunday in Massachusetts whilst Adam Scott finished equal eighth after putting again let him down. The last two tournaments will determine who will make the Presidents Cup teams for the US and the Internationals at Royal Melbourne in November. Adam Scott, Jason Day and Geoff Ogilvy look to be assured of places in the team but Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby will need to play well in the next two tournaments to force their way into the team. Four South Africans are assured places on the team including Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Reteif Goosen.
THOMAS BJORN GOES BACK TO BACK IN THE MOUNTAINS
Denmarks Thomas Bjorn won the Omega European Masters on Sunday after winning the Johnny Walker Championship in Scotland the week before. Bjorn was a vice captain the Ryder Cup last year along with Ireland's Darren Clarke which usually signals that as a player they are seen to be too old or not up to top class competition. 40 year old Bjorn is proof that in golf, life does begin at 40 as he moves into the top 25 on world rankings. In his last eight rounds he is 31 under par and became the oldest ever player on the European Tour to win back to back tour events. Germany's Martin Kaymer (-16) finished second four shots back with Rory McIlroy (-15) and Lee Westwood (-14) trailing in Byorn's wake. The Race To Dubai is on in earnest with only a few tournaments left before the big finallee in Dubai.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The scores this week were blistering red hot with Riverside's Ernie Bennett and Mildura's Ernie Tyrell both seven better than handicap. Wentworth's Mark Lyall was eight better on Saturday along with Club President Keith Plan being nine better with 45 points. Fred Campbell and Greg Lee were 10 up on handicap in sterling performances but this weeks Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week goes to Mark Lyall who had an amazing 49 points on Sunday backing up from the day before. Mark wins four laminated placemats of Wentworth Golf Clubs 18th hole which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golf information or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
31/8/11
NORTH WEST WOMEN ON TOP AT COUNTRY TEAMS
Sunraysia ladies golf is riding a wave of euphoria in Melbourne at the annual Country Teams districts championships. So far our ladies have won 6.5/.5 against Kara Kara at Melton Valley Golf Club, 5/2 against Wimmera and 6/1 against arch rival Norther District (Swan Hill) at Northern Golf Club. Whilst everyone in the team has played well the undoubted stars have been Eily Raeck, Nycole Riordan, Michelle Bowdige and Michelle Fumberger who have all had three wins. Sue Laird has won two out of three contests at number one and Dora Stewart has also won twice. Mildura's Rhonda Young struggled in the first two games for a half and a loss but played really well to win 4/2 against Northern yesterday afternoon. Today our girls face the formidable team of West Gippsland who look far too strong on paper. Fortunately the game is played on grass at Medway Golf Club, so our girls who only have to halve West Gippsland 3.5/3.5 to win the division will be hell bent to bring home the division three trophy and move up to second division next year.
RHODES VERSUS STEWART AT MILDURA
The 2011 Mildura Golf Club Resort club championship will be a ding dong battle in the last round this Saturday between Greg Rhodes and Cameron Stewart. Rhodes has recorded rounds of 70-73-72 matching Stewart's form of 73-72-70. Rhodes took a three shot lead into the second round but Stewart whittled it back to one and then equalled Rhodes low first round on Sunday. Head to head Stewart has struggled playing against Rhodes in the past but the more times he goes to the well, the more chance he is of taking that next step. The key for Stewart will be to get off to a good start and put the pressure on early. Whilst Rhodes is without doubt the red hot favourite, this championship is a little bit different as in the past Stewart has led then been overtaken. This time he was behind and has clawed his way back onto even terms. If Rhodes were to win it would be further confirmation of the champion that he is but if Stewart were to overcome his nerves and rise to the occasion it would be wonderful for him, his family and Sunraysia golf. Good luck to both and may the better man on the day win.
BULLAS TO DEFEND AT COOMEALLA SENIORS CHAMPIONSHIP
The fourth annual Coomealla Seniors Championship hits off at Coomealla Golf Club on Monday where 2010 champion Allan Bullas from Commonwealth Golf Club will defend his title. Bullas has not been as consistent form wise, this year but he should be in the last group come Wednesday. Mt Gambier's John Beaumont hasn't played many senior events of late but he is a real top liner and comes in as the number two seed. Other top liners who are sure to be in contention are the National Golf Club's John Wheeler and Paul Lulofs along with Yarra Yarra's Guy Krall. Ray Walker from Chirnside Park is the low marker on a two handicap, his third placing last year puts him in contention alongside Sunraysia's top chance in Robert Veit. Several places are still available in the tournament for both men and women over 55. Cost of entry is $90 for the men which includes 54 holes and a presentation dinner and $70 for the ladies including 36 holes and the presentation dinner. Phone 50 274658 today to secure your spot in the field.
VICTORIAN OPENS MIXED THIS YEAR The Victorian Open will be played as a mixed event this year with the men's and women's championships being played simultaneously for their own separate Victorian Open titles. Spring Valley Golf Club will host the events with the men playing their traditional 72 hole format and the women 54 holes from Friday January 6th to Sunday 8th. The women will play their first 18 holes at Woodlands Golf club then transfer to Spring Valley for the weekend 36 holes. Identical purses of a minimum $125,000 will be on offer for both titles. FedEx PLAYOFFS CONTINUE THIS WEEK IN THE DEUTSCHE BANK CHAMPIONSHIP The first playoff round for the FedEx Cup was played in New York for the Barclays championship. Hurricane Irene blew them all away at the weekend and the tournament came to a halt after three rounds. American Dustin Johnson was left in front to claim the trophy, two shots clear of Matt Kuchar with Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley seven shots back. Three more tournaments will decide who wins the FedEx Cup with the next round being in Boston Massachettus on September 2.
FIVE HOLE - FIVE MAN PLAYOFF IN THE JOHNNY WALKER CHAMPIONSHIP AT GLENEAGLES The Johnny Walker championship at Gleneagles in Scotland finished up with a five man playoff that went for an additional five holes adding a further 90 minutes to the days play. In the finish Denmark's Thomas Bjorn birdied the 18th three times to outlast South African George Coetzee. After watching the tournament for four nights we can hardly wait till when we tee it up at Gleneagles King's course on October 11 to commence our Sunraysia Golf Tours 2011 Scotland/Ireland Golf Tour. This week the European Tour heads into the mountains to Crans-sur-sierre for the Omega European Masters where all the big names in European golf will be on show including Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuiven and Thomas Bjorn.
2 MARSH'S HOLE IN ONE AT BARNBOUGLE DUNES
Former Australian cricketer Rod Marsh and his son Dan took time to have a game of golf at Barnbougle Dunes sister course Lost Farm last week with ex Brisbane Lion Alistair Lynch. Son Dan recorded a hole in one which was a big thrill for all in the group. Not to be out done Marsh senior then promptly holed in one on a par four, giving him a rare albatross or as they say in the US, a double eagle. Having already played Lost Farm in March we are really looking forward to hosting tours there in October (men) and November (ladies).
THIS LOOKS LIKE YOURS!! Brandon staggered into a hospital emergency room, badly battered and bruised. A nurse and a doctor rushed over to help him to an examining room. "How did you receive these injuries?" the doctor asked. "I was playing golf with my wife," Brandon replied. The doctor was incredulous. "How could you possibly have been injured this severely playing golf with your wife?" he asked. Brandon explained what happened. He and his wife both hit their tee shots on the first hole off line. "I hooked mine into the woods, left," Brandon said, "while my wife hit a huge slice that flew into a cow pasture on the right side of the hole." After Brandon found his ball and hit it back into the fairway, he explained, he went to help his wife locate her tee shot. "I was walking around amongst the cows," Brandon explained, "when I spotted something white on the backside of a heifer. I went over to it and lifted its tail, and sure enough, my wife's ball had lodged right in the heifer's posterior! "So I pointed at the heifer's backside and yelled over to my wife, 'Hey, honey, this looks like yours".
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Lots of great golf played across Sunraysia this week. Greg Rhodes, Cameron Stewart, Craig Tung and Phillip Lawn all scoring par or better off the stick. The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week however, is awarded to the best score against handicap and there were five nominations this week. Bruce McEwan at Mildura, Jim Aitken at Riverside and Phil Lawn at Wentworth were all seven better than handicap. At Merbein Frank Crouch was eight better but out at Red Cliffs Debbie Hassell took the spotlight from her high calibre sporting family with a net 62. Deb wins four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's lovely golf courses that features the excellent artwork of Broken Hill artist Mick Andrich which must be collect by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura.Contact me with any golf information or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.

 
25/8/11
RHODES IN CONTROL IN MILDURA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Greg Rhodes is the familiar name at the top of the leaderboard of the 2011 Mildura Golf Club Resort club championships. Rhodes shot a two under par 70 on Saturday to lead from Ryan Laird on 72. Laird has worked feverishly on his golf over the last few years and this championship presents him with a great opportunity to test himself against the very best player in North West Victoria. Cameron Stewart is well placed on 73 and will be looking to stay with the master this weekend when rounds two and three are played. Shay Toma played with Rhodes on Saturday and returned his best score for the year in championship conditions. The junior championship rests between Laird and Toma but it is the big one that they will be shooting for. Of the others Wayne Manley and John Keogh played well for 76's but 2010 champion Andrew Stewart struggled with a 77. Greg Rhodes is once again looking like the man as he pursues his 15th Mildura Golf Club resort Club Championship title. The final round will be on Saturday September 3.
2011 PACIFIC GOLFER BEST BALL CHALLENGE
The inaugural 2011 Golfer Pacific Best Ball Challenge qualifying round will be staged at Coomealla Golf Club on Saturday. This is a terrific event where the winning pair (two pairs to qualify if field 90 players or more, to date 72 players entered) will go on to represent Sunraysia in the Victorian regional final at Sanctuary Lakes Golf Club in Melbourne on September 18. Interestingly there are not a huge number of Victorian clubs involved and only NSW, Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand golf clubs are registered. The winners at Coomealla will have a good opportunity of going on to the final at Coolangatta Tweed Heads on October 17 and compete against golfers from NSW, Queensland and New Zealand where a major prize draw will distribute $120,000 worth of prizes. The aggregate handicap of each pair must not exceed 45 which leaves great scope for some really good combinations. Cost of entry is only $35 per player with each player receiving 3 Taylor Made Penta golf balls (retail value $20) and a share of $1400 worth of Taylor Made prizes for the winners. For further information phone the Coomealla golf club on 50 274658.
ROBINVALE BLOSSOM CLASSIC
It was a huge weekend in Robinvale at the weekend when the Robinvale Almond Blossom Festival was conducted at the Robinvale Golf Club for the first time. The festival is usually held in the almond orchards but this year it was decided to move it a bit closer to town. On Saturday 140 players played in the the inaugural Blossom Classic with Robinvale Golf Club manager Gary Dukes teaming up with Don McConnell to win the men's section with 47 points and Sue Walmsley and Michelle Philp winning the ladies with the same score. Golfers travelled from Red Cliffs, Mildura, Swan Hill, Ouyen and Nyah to compete for $6000 in prizes and trophies on a day enjoyed by all in attendance. Tournament organisers Nick Katis and Dale Kelly did a magnificent job raising almost $6000 which will be used for course improvements. On Sunday 2500 people fronted up for the annual festival which really put a smile on the faces of the organising committee. The weekend was yet another great example of a community coming together to celebrate and enjoy local produce, traditions and facilities in family friendly atmosphere. Robinvale has a proud history of producing great product, great sportsmen and women and indeed, some really great people. Well done.
WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S
Coomealla Golf club vice president Bernie's Sprague had an idea for a trip away playing golf with a few close friends in 1999 and decided to make it happen. Thirteen years later he is recovering from last weekend's most recent version of a "Weekend at Bernie's". Bernie hosted 23 of his closest golfing friend down to Barram and Cohuna where they loved the condition of both courses. Barram in particular was in fine fettle after the club had mown the greens for Bernie's group on Sunday morning. (The club obviously realised the importance of Bernie's group) On Saturday at Cohuna (Home course of PGA star Stuart Appleby) Peter Duscher and Tracey Hywood were the star performers in the single stroke event. Next year the weekend at Bernie's is headed for Deniliquin and Barram and on reports that I hear, with the growing popularity of the weekend, a bigger coach will be required. Good work Bernie, appreciation from all who attended, may it continue for years to come.
HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT....?
A husband and wife go to a counselor after 15 years of marriage. The counselor asks them what the problem is and the wife goes into a rage, listing every problem they had in the last 15 years they've
been married, and she goes on and on and on. Finally the counsellor gets up, goes around the desk, embraces the woman, and kisses her passionately. The woman shuts up and sits quietly in a daze.The
counsellor turns to the husband and says "That is what your wife needs at least 3 times a week, can you do that? "The husband says "I can bring her in Monday and Friday's, but on Wednesday's, I play golf!"
A man and his wife walked into a dentist's office. The man said to the dentist, "Doc, I'm in one heck of a hurry. I have two mates sitting outside in my car waiting for us to go play golf, so forget about the anaesthetic, I don't have time for the gums to get numb. I just want you to pull the tooth, and be done with it!! We have a 10am tee time and it's 9:30 already. The dentist thought to himself that this is surely a very brave man asking to have his tooth pulled without using anything to kill the pain. So the dentist asked him, "which tooth is it sir? The man turned to his wife and said, "Open your mouth love, and show him."
Three mates were sitting together after a round of golf discussing their days play. The first one began by saying, "I was three over today: One over a house, one over a patio and one over a swimming pool."
PRESIDENTS CUP
It's not long now to till the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in November and there aren't many chances left for players to make sure of their selections in the teams. Listed below are the top 14 players in each team on points currently. Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley will have to produce a good score to elevate themselves into the top 10. Both Captains _ Greg Norman and Fred Couples get two wild card picks to make up the 12 man teams. Naturally everyone is interested in seeing if Tiger Woods is a wild card selection.

USA Internationals
1 Steve Stricker Adam Scott
2 Matt Kuchar Jason Day
3 Phil Mickelson Charl Schwartzel
4 Nick Watney K.J. Choi
5 Dustin Johnson Kyung-tae Kim
6 Bubba Watson Retief Goosen
7 David Toms Ernie Els
8 Hunter Mahan Louis Oosthuizen
9 Bill Haas Y.E. Yang
10 Jim Furyk Ryo Ishikawa
11 Rickie Fowler Tim Clark* (Unavailable)
12 Bo Van Pelt Geoff Ogilvy
13 Brandt Snedeker Robert Allenby
14 Zach Johnson Aaron Baddeley
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The weather and great course conditions produced some terrific scores across the district vying for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. At Coomealla Brett Thurman was seven better than handicap as was Travis Johns at Red cliffs and Jamie Driscoll and Trent Smith at Riverside. Going one better at Riverside where the scoring has been tremendous were Col Robson, Graeme Fisher, John Fraser and Kevin Eastwood. This week's winner also came from Riverside where Marty Scott blitzed around the tack for a 63 net. Marty wins four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's beautiful golf courses that must be collected by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue.
Contact me with any golf information or opinions at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
17/8/11
LAIRD WINS NWWG CHAMPIONSHIP
Sue Laird is the 2011 North West Women's Golf champion after recording a creditable 79. Laird won by four strokes from Fran Richards with Michelle Bowdidge one shot further back. The win was Laird's second in the championship but adds to her already impressive record that includes two Murray Valley Championships, five Tri-State masters titles, seven Mildura Golf Club championships and five Coomealla Golf Club championships. Next tournament on her agenda is the Country Teams championship in Melbourne where NWWG will compete in division three. Yesterday she was excited with her win, " I am so pleased to win this championship for the second time. Usually Michelle (Fumberger) wins this event, so to win with her in the field was probably unexpected" Asked what she would like to try for next in her golf career she said, " I would like to play metropolitan pennant and see if I could compete at that level. Whether that opportunity arises, I am not sure. I will just have to wait and see". An excellent field of 70 players contested the championship at the Mildura Golf Club Resort which is more players than the corresponding SDGA men's tournament last month at Red Cliffs Golf Club.
RHODES AIMS AT 15TH MILDURA CHAMPIONSHIP
Greg Rhodes will tee it up at Mildura Golf club Resort on Saturday in search of his 15th victory in the club championship. Rhodes hasn't played in the championships for several years after transferring his membership to Coomealla. Earlier this year he decided to take up membership again at the club that he had previously represented for more than 20 years. Rhodes is in career best form this year after winning the Coomealla and Mildura Open's earlier in the year and the SDGA championship last month. Cameron Stewart appears to be the only other serious contender as Ashley Whitehouse is not planning to play all four rounds this year. Stewart was runner up last month in the Murray Valley Championship in Mildura Golf Week but seems to struggle in the last round of a championship, particularly if Rhodes is in contention. Last year his brother Andrew finally broke through for a meritorious victory but Cameron has yet to salute the judge. Cameron usually starts well and puts himself in contention early so it will be interesting to see what happens on Saturday. This year the championship will be conducted on August 20, 27, 28 and September 3rd.
WHO WILL BLOSSOM IN ROBINVALE?
The inaugural Robinvale Golf Club Blossom Classic will hit off on Saturday with two shot gun starts at 7-45 am and 12-45 pm. With over 50 pairs entered already it is sure to be a huge day for the club. Only space for 20 pairs remain in the afternoon block but there are plenty of spaces left in the morning. Prizes go down to 20th place in the men's and another 20 prizes in the ladies section. Overall winners will receive two flat screen television's and a Ford Fiesta valued at $20,000 is up for grabs for the first hole in one on the par 3 ninth hole. All entrants will receive a free gift pack each and free lunch. Raffles will be conducted at the conclusion of play with some fantastic prizes available. On monies raised will be put to good use on a pop up sprinkler system for the golf course. The golf course is returning to it's very best condition so, give the golf club a call on 50 263286 or enter at House of Golf 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura.
COOMEALLA SENIOR OPEN
The Coomealla Golf Club will conduct it's fifth 54 hole Senior Open from September 5-7. A ladies 36 hole event is incorporated within the tournament that has forged a fine reputation amongst the state's senior golfers in such a short time. Previous winners include Ross Percy, Pat Giles and Allan Bullas who will all be back this year to try and become the first dual winners of the championship. Coomealla is hoping to receive more support from the districts senior players this year to play with the 50-60 visiting players. Contact the pro shop on 50 274658 for more details.
IT HAPPENED ON THE COURSE
A recent golf club study found that the average club golfer walks 900 miles per year and that on average drinks 22 gallons of alcohol. That means the average golfer gets 41 miles to the gallon!
There is no such thing as a friendly wager!
The older I get, the better I used to be!
Nothing straightens out a nasty slice like a sharp dog leg to the right!
The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing!
Don't play with anyone who would question a ten!
Never wash your ball on the tee of a water hole!
The less intelligent the player, the more certain he is to offer insights into the mental side of the game!
Advertisement in a golf magazine suggested "golfers wishing to end their frustrations, temper tantrums, mood swings and self esteem concerns should - give up golf forever and rest in peace!
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
There were plenty of good scores vying for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week at four district golf clubs. At Mildura Joan Sloan, Kerry Dutton-Ashcroft and Geoff Hazeldine were all six under their handicaps. At Wentworth Aaron Shaw was on the same line along with Chris Thomas and Murray Wilson at Riverside and Jill Eyles at Red Cliffs. Moving up the board saw Alan Palmer at Riverside and Mark Lyall at Wentworth seven under their marks. The standout winner was Jeff Smith who had 45 points to be 9 under his handicap. Jeff wins four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's beautiful golf courses that must be collected from the House of Golf 347 Onrio Avenue Mildura by Friday.
Contact me with your golf information or opinion on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
10/8/11
LAIRD FAVOURED FOR NWWG CHAMPIONSHIP
The North West Women's Golf Inc will be conducting their 2011 championship at the Mildura Golf Club Resort next Tuesday. The tournament also includes the "Champions of Champions", which is the best score by one of the seven club champions. Sue Laird won both club championships at Coomealla and Mildura and is odds on to take this title as well as the district championship. Michelle Philp Robinvale is unable to play due to work commitments which also caused her to miss Golf Week last week. Other club champions who haven't entered as yet include Sally Jones Red Cliffs, Marg Lampard Riverside, Lee Bottomly Wentworth and Bev Cetinich Merbein. Laird's main competition for the championship will come from Michelle Bowdidge who lives in Renmark but is a member at Mildura. Bowdidge plays off 11 but is very young and improving all the time. Rhonda Yong who plays off 9 will also give good opposition on her home course. Fran Richards off 12 and Nycole Riordan are another two players who could feature if they play their very best golf. Entries close on Friday but district secretary Nycole Riordan would like to finalise the draw on Friday so as it can be featured in the Sunraysia Daily on Saturday. Ring 042724 7878 to be included in the draw.
SDGA MEDLEY AMBROSE AT COOMEALLA
Coomealla Golf Club will host the SDGA Medley Ambrose on Sunday. All monies raised will go to assist the cost of the Country Week team to Melbourne in October. All of the Country Week team will be in attendance and the SDGA is expecting an excellent field. There will be some great trophies on offer and both men and ladies are welcome to put in either men's, ladies or mixed teams. A sausage sizzle will commence at 11-30 followed by a shot gun start at 12-30. The Country Week team will be resplendent in complete new uniforms this year due to a fantastic sponsorship from the House of Golf Mildura supported by Sligo clothing. Entries for Sunday should be phoned through to the Coomealla pro shop on 50 274658.
FAVOURITE SUNRAYSIA GOLF HOLES
We had a great response to the favourite holes competition last week. The winning entry was an absolute standout from Coomealla golfer Matthew Pascoe who put a lot of thought into his favourite holes. This was his entry. Matt Pascoe, Coomealla Golf Club. I had a good think about this as there are so many good ones at Coomy. However, after due consideration I selected the 6th as my favourite. This hole is what I would class as a ?sleeper? hole. It is not long and is rated fairly high on the course index. But, when you stand on the tee you are presented with 3 options for your opening drive. There is a very well placed fairway bunker on the left of the fairway that presents this first challenge. This is also complimented by large gum trees on the right side of the fairway which encroach onto the playing line of the hole and which have to be avoided. So, the options are, you can pull out the driver and try and blast one over the bunker, you can take a 3 wood and shape the ball from left to right around the trees or you can take an iron and lay up. Your second shot into the green is then taken from 100m in and is a delicate pitch onto a green guarded by bunkers on the front left and right of the green. The real trick here is that from the middle to back of the green it slopes away from the player and many a good shot has been seen to run off the back into some tricky greenside rough. From a scenic point of view, when hitting into the green it has a stunning backdrop of river gums and it feels like you are hitting from an elevated position down onto the green. For my favourite hole on another district golf course it was a tough decision on this one and you may think my choice is a little strange. After due consideration, my favourite district hole is the 17th at Merbein. I?ve always been a fan of the risk/reward concept for golf holes. The 17th plays that way if you are prepared to take it on. The hole is a par 4 right to left dog leg. Standing on the tee, you can aim directly at the green which means taking on the Mallee trees that protect the left of the green. A good hit will see you on the green in 1, but should you hit trees the scorecard can get ugly real quick. If you play safe, you are left with a short pitch onto a green that has sloping run off on all sides. This is a great hole if you are in need of a birdie or better to try and catch the leaders!!!
Matthew wins a 12 month membership to the Sunraysia Golf Range valued at $99 and a half hour lesson with AGTF teaching professional Garth Doherty valued at $40. By the way,Garth had a hole in one on Coomealla's par 3 18th in the club competition last Wednesday so I am guessing that may now be his favourite hole!
GREAT SCOTT IN OHIO - WESTWOOD FOR THE PGA
Adam Scott is the man most likely once again after his win on Sunday in the Bridgestone Invitational. Scott has been lauded as the next Greg Norman for years and although he has had a good career, he has probably underachieved for the talent that he has. Two things that look to have him back on track are a new caddie in Steve Williams and a new broomstick putter. Scott virtually led from start to finish, in America they call that "coast to coast'". This week the US PGA is the last of the four Majors that hit off at the Atlanta Athletic Club where they have two 18 golf courses one 9 hole course, tennis courts and a full length Olympic sizes pool. Dustin Johnson lost this championship in controversial circumstances last year when he was penalised for grounding his club in a bunker that just looked like sandy rough. If an American is to win I hope it is him. The Americans are desperate for one of their own to win a major, so far this year Charl Schwartzel South Africa, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke Northern Ireland have landed the big ones. Oddly enough they are all managed by Chubby Chandler, so if one of his clients win this week it will be a Chubby grand slam. It is 20 years since John Daly emerged onto the scene when he won the 1991 PGA at Crooked Stick, what a career and story he has been since then. If Adam Scott were to win this week he would be the first ever major winner to win using a broomstick putter. There are lots of arguments for and against the broomstick putters but if works for you, "stick with it baby", as they say in the classics. My top three picks this week are Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Dusin Johnson. Top Aussie Jon Senden.
NEW ZEALAND GOLF TOUR/7
Sunraysia Golf Tours will be taking our seventh golf tour to New Zealand On March 16 2012. This will be another fantastic golfing holiday including the very best on both Islands, golfing wise and touring wise. Places we will visit include Auckland, Taupo, Bay of Islands, Arrowtown and Queenstown. Golfing highlights will include the world famous Kauri Cliffs, Carrington Club, Milbrook International Resort, Jacks Point, Kinloch and the Waireiki International Resort. March is the best month of the year to visit New Zealand, so if you haven't been to New Zealand before and you love great scenery, fantastic golf courses and good company, then give us a call on 50 246799 or Kym on 0408310532. Our motto is "It's always nice to meet nice people and that memories live longer than dreams".
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Scores were higher around the district last week with the cooler weather and faster greens. Three players bettered their handicaps by five strokes including Jack Thomas at Riverside, Terry Fitzpatrick at Merbein and Marg Midgley at Coomealla. Phillip Webster at Mildura and course curator Brendan Marr at Riverside were six better than handicap but not quite good enough. The winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week is Gary Stephens who had a net 64 at Wentworth on Saturday. Gary wins four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia's beautiful golf courses that must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with your golf information or opinion at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
3/8/11
ANTHONY HOUSTON - MURRAY VALLEY CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER
Kingswood golfer Anthony Houston 67-72 is the 36 hole leader in the 2011 Murray Valley Championship from his club mate Ashley Blake 68-74. Houston scorched around the Red Cliffs course five under par for a 67. Houston and Blake were members of the winning division one VGA Pennant this year, avenging their 2010 loss to Waverly. Houston found Coomealla a bit tougher and tighter to negotiate but came in with an even par round of 72. Yesterday he said " On Monday I hit it closer to the pins and gave myself more birdie chances. An eagle on 16 got me to five under which I was happy with. At Coomealla it was a bit more of a struggle. It really is an awesome golf course. I was happy in the finish with two birdies and two bogies" Houston is hoping to gain a VIS scholarship next year and work on his game with additional coaching. He hopes to play in some overseas amateur tournaments as well as all of our top Australian amateur tournaments. At only 19 he realises that hard work is the key to success as a golfer. Ashley Blake has similar ambitions to Houston and is keen to " Get super fit in the next six months and work hard on my skills" Blake turns 19 today. Melton Valley's Luke Hickman has battled hard for 74-79 and is another hopeful of scaling the golfing ladder of success, he plans to go down a different path and do a professional traineeship in 2012. Cameron Stewart 72-73 is once again our leading local but six shots is a lot over two rounds against such strong opposition.Round three commences at Riverside this morning at 8am. Coomealla's Sue Laird 82 is the leader after round one of the ladies championship at Red Cliffs yesterday. Laird won the title in 2009 and looks to have a mortgage on this years championship. Queens Park's Louise Watach is only two strokes behind and is Laird's nearest rival. Today's round is at Mildura Golf Club Resort. This year rhe entries in both championship divisions are down on last year with only 39 in the A grade men and less than half that number in the ladies section. It is a far cry from the big fields of the 70's and 80's.
NWWG Inc COUNTRY TEAM
The North West Women's Golf Country Team was announced yesterday. Team manager again this year is Sue Walmsley. The team is Michelle Philp Robinvale, Sue Laird, Nycole Riordan, Mandy Bothroyd, Margaret Baird, Sonya Golitschenko,Dora Stewart, Jodene Tuau, Coomealla, Michelle Bowdidge, Fran Richards, Rhonda Young, Mildura. Caddies this year will be Fiona Turlan,Lisa Garioch, Janet Luke, Riverside and Fran Sette Mildura. The Country Teams championships will be played at Melton Valley, Northern and Medway Golf Clubs from 29th - 31st August. The team has worked hard throughout the year to cover the expense of the trip through BBQ's at Bunnings, golf days and raffles. The joint effort by the girls ensures a strong team spirit and bond that is so important in any team that has to rely on one another's efforts.
MARCUS GUTHRIE TAKES OVER AT MILDURA GOLF CLUB RESORT
Mildura Golf Club Resort have appointed a new general manager following the sudden departure of Gordon Gower who has taken up a position on the Gold Coast. Marcus Guthrie has returned to Mildura after an impressive career in senior management for the last twelve years that has taken him to faraway places such as Hayman Island, the Caribbean and the Seychelles. Marcus was involved in the redevelopment of two three star resorts in the Maldives that were completely rebuilt and upgraded to five star facilities. Golf management first occurred on a company resort in the Seychelles at the resort golf course, he has also had experience with a European Seniors championship that is conducted annually on another resort championship golf course in Mauritius. It certainly is a coup for the Mildura Golf Club Resort to be able to secure someone of Guthrie's calibre to continue the development and improvement of the resort complex and the land sub division which is due to commence soon. Yesterday on his second day he was still settling into his new position but was already looking to the future when he spoke of his vision for the Mildura Golf Club Resort " I am looking forward to assisting with the five to ten year strategic plan to continue the great work already in place. My goal is to eventually elevate the Mildura Golf Club Resort to become the number one golf resort in the region. I believe I have arrived at an exciting time for the resort, our members and guests" An important factor in returning to Mildura is to bring up his young family in his home town. " I began playing golf at Mildura as an eight year old and am looking forward to my boys playing here in the future. We have two young boys under two years of age and it is great being back in Mildura near mum and dad and my extended family" he said. Clearly there are exciting times ahead for the Mildura Golf Club Resort and Marcus Guthrie looks to be an excellent choice to take the club to the next level in it's continued development.
YOUR FAVOURITE SUNRAYSIA GOLF HOLES
Golfers are an interesting breed who always remember different things about their best rounds, many of whom have superstitions about favourite clothing, towels, ball markers and a host of other golfing accessories that accompany them on their golfing exploits. In Sunraysia we are fortunate to have such an array of fine golf courses to choose from. Playing at different clubs with the local members it is always enlightening to listen to what likes and dislike the local members have at their own and other golf courses. I invite you to let us know what your favourite hole is at your golf club? Following on from that, which is your favourite hole in the district at another club? My club is Coomealla and my favourite hole is the delightful par four 16th. This hole sets up as a very slight left to right dogleg with a medium size green surrounded by three bunkers and is a fair test to players of all levels Favourite holes on other local courses include Riverside's par 3 18th which has to be the best closing hole in the district. Other favourites include Red Cliffs par 4 18th which is a lovely hole that has a really tough green to negotiate. Merbein's par 4 11th is a nice gentle right to left dogleg where par is always a good score. Mildura has some great holes but I really enjoy their closing four holes with the par 4 16th a really good test. Wentworth has some terrific par 3's with the pick of them being the 2nd which is surrounded by water. Finally Robinvale's par 5 15th is a standout on one of our district's best golf courses. Let me know what you regard as your favourite hole and favourite hole at another district course, the best entry will receive a 12 month membership to the Sunraysia Golf Range and a half hour lesson with AGTF teaching professional Garth Doherty. Send entries to the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave Mildura or Email to golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
TIGER BACK IN TOWN - AUSTRALIAN OPEN/PRESIDENTS CUP
The big news in world golf this week is that after an eleven week hiatus, Tiger Woods is back playing in the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational at the Firestone Country Club in Akron Ohio. It is not hard to work out why he chose this tournament to relaunch his career as he has won there seven times. If Woods can find form over the next two months it will create an even greater explosion of interest in the Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney from November 10-13, followed by the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne from November 14-20. The New South Wales government have stepped in to secure Woods who chose the Australian Masters in Melbourne over the Australian Open in Sydney in 2009-2010. Both governments understand the huge economic benefits that Woods and the promotion of significant golf events can deliver to the States economy. The NSW government has recently established Destination NSW as a statutory authority to market and promote NSW as a tourism and major events destination. Whilst one upmanship with major events is a political reality, the governments and major events arms have obviously identified that the far reaching commercial, awareness and exposure benefits, extend far beyond the fairways. November/December is sure to have the rest of the world's golfing eyes and attention, all focused on Australian golf, its courses, cities and life style.
WORLD RANKINGS
Men:1 Luke Donald 2 Lee Westwood 3 Martin Kaymer 4 Steve Stricker 5 Rory McIlroy 6 Phil Mickelson 7 Dustin Johnson 8 Jason Day 9 Nick Watney 10 Charl Schwartzel 28 Tiger Woods
Ladies:1Yani Tseng 2Christie Kerr 3Suzann Pettersen 4Jiyai Shin5 Na Yeon Choi 6 I. K. Kim 7 Ai Miyazato 8 Sun Ju Ahu 9 Paula Creamer 10 Karrie Webb
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week all clubs reported good fields with tough playing conditions, especially for the morning players. Good scores came from Ron Hall and Dale Meridith at Riverside and Joy Carr at Wentworth who all had 42 points. Lucy Doering and Phil Matotek pushed the flag to the limit in the Alf Sylvia day at Merbein and Alan Connolly almost got the nod at Riverside with 43 points. The winner of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week is former Wentworth Golf Club captain Will Ryan who does everything in a big but quiet way. Will has been in a purple patch of form at Coomealla recently, 44 points last Wednesday was enough to afford him the best round of the week. Will can collect his prize of four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's beautiful golf courses from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing information or opinions at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all
 
27/7/11
GREG RHODES WINS 15TH SDGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Coomealla Golf Club's Greg Rhodes won his 15th Sunraysia District Golf Association championship at Red Cliffs on Sunday. Rhodes has not fared well in the district championship in the last five years, 2008 was his last win at Coomealla, but he had won thirteen times between 1977 and 2005. The way to favour the very best player is to set the course up as hard as it can possibly be set up and Rhodes certainly took advantage of the severe test that was presented at Red Cliffs. Red Cliffs golf course is the second longest golf course locally, only Coomealla is longer and the greens vary in size, elevation and speed. On Saturday Rhodes was at his very best shooting seven birdies, eight pars and three bogey's. Putting often lets Greg down but on Saturday he was on fire and got almost everything he looked at with his putter. This, from a man who quite often on a normal Saturday competition, resorts to putting with his driver! Rhodes led Ashley Whitehouse by six strokes on a course that was set up for scratch marker golfers or better. On Sunday a one under par 71 gave Rhodes a ten shot victory over Jacob Slimmon who had played in the morning and finished with 76-73. Whitehouse was third with 74-77, Tim Peterson was fourth with 75-77 from Tim Walker who had 77-76. The Red Cliffs greenkeeper Simon Newey has had his work cut out since he took up the position after transferring from Wentworth Golf Club. The course has suffered more than any other in the district, first from drought, then from excessive rain. Simon has done an excellent job during his tenure so far and the course is improving as each week goes by. One area that he has come in for continued criticism however, is his choice of pin placements for major tournaments, this was again the case at the weekend. It is unusual for Greg Rhodes to voice any concern over pin placements but Rhodes echoed the opinions of nearly all of the other competitors including the SDGA officials during his victory speech. The way most big tournaments are conducted is that the captain or district official in charge of the tournament consults with the greenkeeper to establish the best pin positions for the two days of the tournament. The usually achieves the best outcome and takes away the responsibility or blame for unpopular or unfair pin positions from the greenkeeper. Last year at Mildura Golf Club Resort the pins were left in the same positions for both days, this year some of the pins were in ridiculous spots that more than tested the districts very best players. Is it any wonder then that only 64 players played last year and only 51 this year? This is our district's premier event for local competition players and only ten per cent of the districts regular competition players have been fronting up over the last few years. Red Cliffs were disappointed with the field but only 11 of their members played both days which reflects the apathy that is shown for the event by other clubs members.
TOP 10 SCRATCH & HANDICAP - SDGA CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Greg Rhodes 139, 2 Jacob Slimmon 149, 3 Ash Whitehouse 151, 4 Tim Peterson 152, 5 Tim Walker 153, 6 Justin McPhee, Andyn Stewart 155, 7 Sean Baumgurtel 156, 8 Chris Thomas, David Filippi 162, 10 Paul Dominelli 163. 11 Robert Veit, 164.
1.Greg Rhodes 139, 2 Ray Stone 143, 3 Peter Dooley 145, 4 David Filippi 146, 5 Tim Peterson 146, 7 Darren Mannix 147, 8 Andrew Stewart, Andrew Hill, Jacob Slimmon 149.
SUNRAYSIA COUNTRY WEEK TEAM
The Sunraysia Country Week team to play in Melbourne in October was announced at Red Cliffs on Sunday. Our chaps have performed so well over the last four years and will be keen to continue in division one. The team is Captain Justin McPhee, Tim Walker Red Cliffs, Tim Peterson, Jacob Slimmon, Sean Baumgurtel, Ryan Laird, Coomealla, Ashley Whitehouse, Cameron Stewart, Andrew Stewart, Mildura, Robert Veit Riverside. Last year the team went within a whisker of winning the division one title. Tim Peterson comes back into the team after a year off playing football which will offset the loss of Jake Laubsch who played brilliantly in Melbourne last year. Sean Baumgurtel also comes into the team replacing Leigh Fuller who has retired from active duty. Robert Veit makes a return to the team after fourteen years. Veit has arguably been the districts number two player historically behind Rhodes in the last 40 years. He last played Country Week in 1997 and is no doubt a surprise inclusion, given his age and back problems that restrict the continual golf that is required at Country Week. There is no doubt that on performances in Opens and pennant this year that his form has warranted selection but, perhaps one of the up and coming youngsters might have been a wiser choice with a view to the future. Maybe two of those boys may be chosen to accompany the team as caddies which gives the selectors more options if that is required.
DISTRICT JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Sunraysia Junior District championships will be conducted at Coomealla Golf Club over 36 holes on September 18. On Monday night the SDGA made the decision that all players who were 17 years of age or under on the 1st of January this year will be eligible to play and win. This means that Tim Walker and Tyler Verbeek who both turn 18 before September 18 will be eligible. This is a common sense decision by the SDGA that hopefully will also be endorsed by the VGA for the State Country junior championships in November. Last year our lads won both the scratch and handicap sections in August but with the championship being put back to November 23-24 this year, we could be without at least three players because of age changes.
NORTH WEST WOMEN'S COUNTRY TEAM
No announcement has yet be made regarding the team to represent Sunraysia at Country Teams in Melbourne from August 28-31. The ladies are dragging the chain a bit this year as preparations for the matches at Northern, Melton Valley and Medway are yet to be completed. More news on this front next week.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Only a few in contention for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the week with Bob Shields having 43 points at Mildura which wasn't quite as good as Maurice Munro's 44. Craig Blanch had 8 up at Riverside but out at Merbein big Dave Doering came in with +9. Dave wins four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's beautiful golf courses which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave by Friday. Contact me with any golf information or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
20/7/11
WALKER SET TO WIN SDGA CHAMPIONSHIP
The 36 hole 2011 Sunraysia District Golf championship will be conducted at the Red Cliffs Golf Club this weekend. So far this year there has been three different winners of the first six Opens. Tim Walker, Greg Rhodes and Justin McPhee have shared two opens each from the six tournaments at Coomealla, Riverside, Mildura, Merbein, Red Cliffs and Robinvale. If one of those players were to be victorious at Red Cliffs, not only would they be crowned the 2011 district champion but also the player of the year, full stop. Walker and McPhee stand out at the top of the list with their home course advantage. Walker has been outstanding this year and will win if he plays to his best form. McPhee is a seasoned veteran who has consistently performed well on district courses but has been the shining light at Red Cliffs for the last ten years. Rhodes has been quiet of late. Study his career and you will find that the middle of the year is usually his down time, performance wise. The district championship though, is where he usually steps up a gear. Red Cliffs, for some reason has not been his happiest hunting ground. This is difficult to understand as with five par fives that he can reach in two, in normal conditions, it should suit him down to the ground. You would never count him out all together but it would be a surprise if he wins. 2011 has been a dry year for Ashley Whitehouse who has been winless for the first time since 1995, he has been in contention a couple of times but no cigar. Whitehouse as the course record holder, presents the biggest danger to the Red Cliffs duo if he brings his A game this weekend. Of the other chances Tim Peterson usually plays well at the Cliffs and perennial runner up Cameron Stewart has a good winning record there. Red cliffs in fact, is probably the course where he has won most often. My picks are 1. Tim Walker, 2. Ashley Whitehouse, 3. Justin McPhee.
NORTHERN IRELAND EYES SMILING AGAIN
The British Open was played last week and it was golf at it's finest. This tournament has everything, great links golf course, best golfers from all parts of the world and the doyen of golf commentators Peter Alliss combining his oratory skills with former Ryder Cup captain Mark James and our own Wayne Grady. Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke's win in the British Open was a phenomenal effort from one of the games most popular and really nice guys. The weather conditions were horrendous at times during the tournament but Clarke kept his composure and balance for the full 72 holes. Royal St Georges is a revered golf course but if you leave the fairways it resembles parts of a cow paddock, some of the lies are very challenging. US Open champion Rory McIlroy bemoaned how he hates playing in tournaments that are virtually decided by the luck of the weather. On the other hand Tom Watson who has won this championship five times and who had the worst of the weather on Sunday, said nothing in acceptance of the "rub of the green". In this part of the world the weather is expected, so the players kept playing accordingly, as the band played on. Phil Mickelson's first ten holes on Sunday where he went six under par were exhilarating, real edge of the seat stuff. His run came to an end on the back nine as Clarke just kept hitting fairways and greens. Dustin Johnson looked a big threat to Clarke until he shanked one out of bounds on 14. This is the third major that Johnson has almost got his hands on the cup. The US PGA championship at the Atlantic Golf Club in Georgia in August might be when he finally comes through. Darren Clarke has been regarded as a very talented golfer for twenty years but hasn't really played to his full capacity for four or five years. He lost his wife Heather to breast cancer in 2006 and has concentrated on bringing up his two sons, Tyrone and Conor. In recent years he has become very good friends with Phil and Amy Mickelson. Both Amy and Phil's mother Mary have had breast cancer and Darren befriended Phil and Amy to help, assist and advise after his own experience. Clarke has been described as an Irish version of John Daly without the reckless, carelessness and flamboyancy of the American but more because of his enjoyment of a good time and a few wee drinks. Clarke starred in the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club in Ireland as a player only one month after Heather died and there was a wave of emotion surrounding him throughout that event. Last year he and first round leader Thomas Bjorn were assistants to Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie in Europe's victory over the US at Celtic Manor in Wales. From a world perspective, the Ryder Cup has become the biggest and most watched golf event but the British Open is still the number one singles event for any golfer to win. No one expected Clarke to win, his odds were 150/1. This win elevates him to 30th in the world up 81 places and guarantees him a start in virtually any tournament he wants to enter. If his form continues, it is not unreasonable to suggest that he will have a playing role next year for Europe in the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club in Florida. Clarke's next event will be one that is most dear to his hear, the Irish Open at Killarney on July 28. Hopefully by then he will have recovered from the Open celebrations!
LANGER FAVOURITE TO WIN BRITISH SENIOR OPEN AT WALTON HEATH
The 25th British Senior Open begins at Walton heath tomorrow with Germany's Bernhardt Langer the defending champion. Langer won at Carnoustie last year then flew to America where he duly won the US Senior Open. It is fair to say that anyone who beats him this week will probably win. Tom Watson, Corey Pavin, Mark Calcavechia and Tom Lehman appear to be Langer's greatest dangers but don't count out Peter Senior or Peter Fowler. Chooky is a former Australian Open winner at Kingston Heath, his win in Switzerland last week makes him the in form player on the European Senior Tour.
GOLF EVENTS GALORE IN AUGUST
Sunraysia golfers will have a number of different golf events to choose from next month from Broken Hill to Coomealla to Robinvale. On August 13-14 the inaugural Alianza Cultural Goanna Scramble will be conducted at the South Broken Hill Golf Club. The South is a sandcrape course and is a bit rough and tumble but the people there are fantastic and their hospitality is first class. A single stroke event on Saturday gives everyone a warm up for the main event on Sunday. A four person Ambrose with a minium prize worth $1200 to the winning team. Overall $5000 worth of trophies will be distributed over the weekend plus $500 for any hole in one. Phone 08 80874659 or Email phdee2@westnet.com.au for more details. On August 20 the Robinvale Golf Club will host it's inaugural Blossom Classic 4BBB stableford. A ford Fiesta valued at $20,000 will be offered as a hole in one prize along with $4,000 worth of prizes on the day. Two shot gun starts at 7-45 and 12-45 are available but get in quick as this will be a sell out event. Finally the Golfer Pacific Best Ball Challenge 2011 Sunraysia regional qualifying tournament will be played at the Coomealla Golf Club on August 27. Cost of entry is $35 per player with each player receiving 3 Taylor Made Penta golf balls (retail value $20) and a share of $1400 worth of Taylor Made prizes for the winners. The winning pair or pairs depending on the size of the field will go into a state final then possibly a national final on the Gold Coast at no further cost of entry. For further information phone the Coomealla golf club on 50 274658 or go golferpacific.com.au.
BARNBOUGLE DUNES IN OCTOBER
I am hosting a short golf trip to Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania from October 23 - 26 and includes two games at Barnbougle Dunes and one at it's sister course Lost Farm. Two seats are still available for golfers who would like to play on Australia's number one public access golf course. We played there in March during out Tasmanian golf tour and I can't wait to go back, this course is an absolute beauty. The cost out of Melbourne includes three games of golf, three nights accommodation at Barnbougle Dunes, cooked breakfasts, evening meals and airport transfers. Let me know if you are interested in joining our group on 0419 208 337.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The Sunraysia Golf Tours - Round of the Week competition saw some cracking good scores this week. Isobel Westhead at Mildura, Grant Gillard at Riverside and Howard McGaffin at Merbein all had 43 points. At Wentworth Jean Riley had 102 net 60 in an outstanding performance but Merbein's Joe Hunyardi belied his age to scorch around the course for 46 points to get the nod this week. Joe wins four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's beautiful golf courses that must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave Mildura by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing information, stories or opinions at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.
 
13/7/11
RIVERSIDE WIN PENNANT AGAINST THE ODDS
Riverside Golf Club celebrated long and hard on Sunday night after the division one and two teams both won pennants at Red Cliffs beginning the day as under dogs. It looked to be a tall order to win against a team that was heading for four pennants in a row, particularly as Steve Willman was on one leg and had to use a motorised buggy to participate. This virtually meant that Riverside had to win three of the remaining four contests. Coomealla had its problems too as Jacob Slimmon turned up looking as though he had gone ten rounds with Mohammad Ali. Slimmon had run into a knee playing for Wentworth against Robinvale on Saturday and had incurred a broken nose and two lovely "shiners". The match ups were announced and Coomealla would have been pleased at the way they fell. Willman started at five against Ryan Laird, as expected Lairds fitness came to the fore after he was behind for most of the first 27 holes but emerged victorious over a courageous Willman 3/2. Dave Woolcock lined up against Leigh Fuller who has been a Country Week player of some note over last few successful years at Country Week in Melbourne. Woolcock had not been recognised as one of the top players in district golf and as such Fuller was favoured to win. Those in the know at Riverside were aware of Woolcock's development as a player this year. This awareness became more apparent last week when he overcame district number six ranked Cameron Stewart on Stewarts home course. Woolcock was able to close out Fuller 2/1 in an exciting contest which must put Woolcock in the mix for Country Week selection. The number three contest between Riverside's Troy Germaine and Coomealla captain Sean Baumgurtel was always going to be an interesting affair. Baumgurtel is known for his confidence in his own ability but on this occasion it must have deserted him as the lesser known Germaine won 5/4. Germaine has been around for a while but hasn't been able to take the next step, this win might prove to be the catalyst for that next leap forward. Riverside were looking odds on at this point. Coomealla's Tim Peterson was too good for a gallant Chris Thomas 6/4 but Slimmon was always on the back foot in his match against Robert Veit. Veit was able to close out "Rocky" 6/4 to give the green and gold their first division one pennant for ten years. Undoubably the lack of competitive golf played this year by Slimmon, Baumgurtel and Fuller contributed to their demise. As it sits now, the top contenders for Country Week selection based on the Open tournaments and pennant and whether they are available, would have to be: Tim Walker Red Cliffs, Greg Rhodes Coomealla, Justin McPhee Red Cliffs, Ash Whitehouse Mildura, Tim Peterson Coomealla, Cameron Stewart Mildura and Robert Veit Riverside. The next group would make up the balance of the team that will be chosen after the district championship at Red Cliffs on July 23-24. Those under consideration for remaining positions in the team should be: Dave Woolcock Riverside, Chris Thomas Riverside, Troy Germaine Riverside, Ryan Laird Coomealla, Jacob Slimmon Coomealla, Andrew Stewart Mildura and Tyler Verbeek Mildura. These players have one last chance to impress the selectors at Red Cliffs. If past history is any guide though, the team has already been chosen and just needs to be rubber stamped. I for one hope that pennant form is given greater significance this year than it has been in past years when the selectors air their thoughts.
RIVERSIDE, RED CLIFFS & WENTWORTH WIN PENNANTS
Riverside caused boilover number two for the day when they bowled over Mildura in division two pennant. Andrew Hill had a great win one up over exciting youngster Tom Holmes to put Riverside in front early. Greg Toma righted the ship for Mildura 3/2 before Travis Pattern unexpectedly knocked off Barry Pilgrim 4/2. Greg McCubbin was the hero of the hour for the second week in a row when he eliminated Dave Murray 4/2. Chris Williams at number one flew the Mildura flag defeating Jade Hall-Kelly 4/3 but it was too late as the champagne corks were already flying for Riverside. In division three home side Red Cliffs won in the closest battle of the day against Coomealla with four matches going to the 35th hole or further. Neville Walker, Russell Abrahams and Lou Young won for the home team whilst only Hamish Glasgow held up his end for the NSW contingent. Matt Adams and Damon Southgate retired after finishing square after 36 holes. In division four Wentworth were too accomplished for Mildura with top liners Phil Lawn and Nathan Gard giving Wentworth a huge advantage and club captain Peter Bicker winning his match. Peter Dooley was Mildura's only victor while Glen Johnson and Bob Bettes fought out a draw. Overall the SDGA would be pleased that the pennants were shared by three clubs without the two biggest clubs dominating in any grade. In what looked to be lack lustre pennant season back in May, matchplay golf between our clubs is alive and kicking. The format needs to be fixed and our clubs should be encouraged to field more teams, even playing ladies pennant at the same venues on the same day. Division one for men and ladies at one course, division two at another and so on. When I first began playing pennant in the early 80's, the pennant final was a huge occasion with fifty to sixty spectators. That is what we must endeavour to get back to. It can be done with the support of the clubs, SDGA and the players. This type of event would help to attract our children to want to be part of something so exciting.
BRITISH OPEN IS THE WORLD OPEN
The British Open is the best and fairest of all the four major golf tournaments played each year. Almost anyone can play in it, provided of course you can win through one of he many qualifying events. These qualifying events are held all over the world including in Australia and the US and many other countries. No other major allows that opportunity. The Open this year hits off at 6PM our time tomorrow night at Royal St Georges in Kent England. It is a wonderful old links course where America's first Open champion Walter Hagen first raised the old Claret Jug in 1922. Since then there have been many championships that have produced some of the most famous names in golf. In 1993 Greg Norman played what has been described as an immaculate round of links golf in the final round of the Open. 92 year old American legend Gene Sarazen stood beside the 18th green that day and was overheard to say "I never thought I would live to see golf played like this". Norman's playing partner Bernhardt Langer later verified that assessment calling it the finest round he had ever witnessed. And so, we come to the 140th British Open with a multitude of possibilities. World number one Luke Donald ran away from the field in the Scottish Open on Sunday but it is difficult to see him win two weeks in a row. Rory McIlroy won the US Open but hasn't played since, he though, is an exceptional golfer and would surprise no one if he were to win. There are no less than 40 Americans in the field this year with five times winner Tom Watson being the oldest and not without a chance. Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson represent the best of the US in this event but I like the chances of Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer with the top Aussie being between Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week the scores reflected the cold sharp weather conditions with only a few really good scores returned by Sunraysia's aggregate competition field of 1400 golfers. Good scores came from Colin Moore at Merbein and Roslyn Black at Coomealla but the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week goes to Wentworth's Dave Porter who had 43 points. Dave plays at Wentworth and Coomealla and more often than not he more towards the bottom of the leader board so his win of four Sunraysia Golf Club placemats is reward for his sustained efforts. Dave can pick up his prize from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave Mildura.
Contact me with any golfing information, stories or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all
 
8/7/11
TIM WALKER VICTORIAN jUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP RUNNER UP
Red Cliffs golfer Tim Walker continued his excellent form in Sunraysia golf this year in the Victorian Junior Championships this week. The 72 hole event was played at the Yarra Yarra and Northern Golf Clubs in Melbourne. The conditions were nothing short of atrocious with 100 klm winds and squally rain over both days of the tournament. Commonwealth's Lucas Herbert who plays off a +2 handicap led from the first round at Yarra Yarra where he recorded an impressive 74 in the trying conditions. Tim who plays off -1, struggled to come to terms with the wind and finished with an 80 to be six shots behind. In the afternoon the wind was even stronger but he improved his score with 77, only to drop two shots further behind Herbert. On Tuesday morning Walker really gritted his teeth and shot 67 which ultimately was the lowest round of the championship. This left him one shot behind Herbert and Rosanna's Justin Ispanovic who had posted a 68 to be equal leader. In the afternoon Herbert kept his cool to shoot 74 in the rain whilst Walker came in with 75 and Ispanovic 81. If Walker is to continue his good form then victory in the SDGA championship at his home course of Red Cliff on July 23-24 is a distinct possibility. 2010 Sunraysia District Golf Association champion Jake Laubsch who now represents the Grange Golf Club in Adelaide finished 11th in the tournament 11 shots behind Herbert. Former Riverside golfer Jack Marlais who now plays off 3 at Sanctuary Lakes (whose father Robert was a former district champion) also competed in the championship with a best round of 77 at Yarra Yarra. This year Sanctuary Lakes who are a young club, won the division two pennant in the VGA pennant competition and will move into division one for the first time next year. Tim Walker is considering joining the Sanctuary Lakes club next year to compete with the team in their inaugural season with Robert Marlais as a team mate against the likes of Yarra Yarra, Metropolitan, Kingston Heath and all the major metropolitan golf clubs.
 
6/7/11
PENNANT ALL ROSY DOWN AT RIVERSIDE
Riverside finally hit the jackpot in district pennant at Mildura Golf Club Resort on Sunday going through to the final in the top two divisions. In division one Mildura were without Ashley Whitehouse but most observers still expected the home club to win comfortably. That was not to be with Riverside winning 3/2. Prior to hit off four of Mildura's starting line-up were considered walk up starts for Country Week selection whilst Riverside probably had only one aspirant in Chris Thomas. That may have changed after Sunday because matchplay golf is what is played at Country Week and some players are most definitely better match players than stroke players. Mildura's Tim Walker has been the outstanding player in both formats this year and has taken over from where Jake Laubsch left off last year. Tyler Verbeek returned to form winning his match on Sunday, the district championships at Red Cliffs in two weeks will indicate whether he is really back on track. For Riverside Chris Thomas was seen as probably the next best after our districts top ten players. That also may have changed after two wins in the last two weeks. Dave Woolcock has also lifted his ranking after some great performances during pennant. To beat Cameron Stewart on Sunday is a real feather in his cap as Stewart, on his home turf, looked most formidable. Finally the old fossil of the team Robert Veit has been a revelation this year. At 58 years of age he has been in the top ten players in every Open he has played this year and has performed admirably in pennant. So, who wins this week at Red Cliffs between Coomealla, who are going for four in a row and the Cinderella team Riverside? It really will depend on the match ups. Tim Peterson is the standout player for Coomealla and Leigh Fuller is a bulldog who usually finds a way to win. Jacob Slimmon should be suited by the Red Cliffs layout of five par fives which makes him hard to toss. They are the keys to Coomealla winning. The other two players are Sean Baumgurtel who has had reasonable form in pennant and either Ryan Laird or Troy Neville as the last player chosen. For Riverside to win they will depend on Chris Thomas, Dave Woolcock and Robert Veit to get a favourable draw. It certainly won't be a lay down misere but Coomealla, on form, should win but stranger things have happened. In division two Riverside have the momentum to overcome Mildura whilst in division three Red Cliffs should beat Coomealla and Wentworth will be too strong for Mildura Gold in division four.
LADIES CLUB CHAMPIONS
The ladies club championships have been completed at all district clubs and three new champions emerged from the fray. Sue Laird continued her dominance at Coomealla and Mildura where she has been almost unbeatable over the last few years. Bev Cetinich has a stranglehold on the title at Merbein where she has been so integral to the club on and off the golf course. At Riverside Marg Lampard finally broke through and should continue her dominance down by the river in the foreseeable future. Sally Jones is another player who has been just off the pace for a period of time at Red Cliffs but this year she has finally broken through. Sally and her family are long time Red Cliffs members and it would have been a popular win. Now everyone will be talking about the Jones girl. At Wentworth club captain Lee Bottomley has beaten her husband to championship honours by winning the best player at Wentworth in their championship. Lee hasn't been playing very long but is improving each year and looks to be a Country Teams player of the future.
MILDURA ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Two weeks ago in this column, I proposed that it should be investigated that a commission take over the running of district golf. I have received many verbal opinions and several emails and texts from different parties. Almost all of them were in agreement with a proposed investigation of the possibilities. Mildura Golf Club were the only club to officially reply through their president Maurice Warn. Mr Warn states in his letter that "Our club believes that it is time to look closely at the role of the SDGA and given that you have opened the discussion into the public forum it would be an opportune time to look at the current structure in regards to its role in the district and state level. A commission may be an alternative but one thing is certain, there is a need to review and improve for the sake of our great game".
Mildura Golf Club Resort have faced many challenges over the last ten or so years and look to have finally identified the right way to attract more members by reducing its full membership cost to $415. This fee also includes a $105 house credit which can be used within the club for meals and bar purchases. This is an excellent innovation as not only does it encourage the members to spend money at the club but it also promotes club socialising which builds club spirit and a feeling of ownership and togetherness. The club has also addressed the lack of juniors playing golf, through club professional Mike McKenzie clinics have been conducted at the club for over 100 primary school children. The club now has 50 registered junior members which is what it has missed out on in the last ten years. As stated in this column before, Mildura has the only real succession plan for their club officials with the vice captain eventually becoming the club president. Whilst I have not always been a fan of some aspects of the club in the past, I believe in giving credit where it is due and from the outside looking in, it appears that that the Mildura Golf Club Resort, is now on the right track.
BARCLAYS SCOTTISH OPEN
The 2011 Barclays Scottish Open hits off on Thursday with some of the biggest names in world golf getting an early look at links golf before the British Open the following week. The new course for the Barclays this year is Castle Stuart Golf Links. This looks to be a gem of a golf course that will provide a really stern test, particularly if the wind gets up. I loved the first description of the "course goals" on the club website, it said " the golf course should provide elicit anticipation and hopefulness in players of all skill levels, it will test ones perceptual ability, judgment, decision-making, shotmaking and emotional poise" It will be most interesting to observe how Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Americans Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar bear up to what is obviously an exquisite yet emotional test of golf.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week could have gone to any one of at least six players this week but it was the ladies who deserved most recognition. At Riverside Jeff Smith, Aldo D'Amico, Darren Mannix and Ned Klemm all featured on the winners dais. Murray Wilson was a standout with a great score. Max Turvey was the king at Merbein while Sandra Marwood and Lorna Simpson stood out at Red Cliffs. This week though, it was the performances of Lee Bottomley at Wentworth in the club championship and Caroline James in winning her first Open at Merbein that grabbed my attention. Both ladies win four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's golf courses and must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura by Friday.
Contact me with your golf information, stories or opinion at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
29/6/11
COOMEALLA MAINTAIN PENNANT SUPREMACY
Coomealla Golf Club are now on track to win their fourth division one pennant final in a row after beating Mildura 3/2 at Coomealla on Sunday. The Kookaburra's were flying on Sunday after Tim Peterson (7/5) was far too good for Tyler Verbeek who seems to have lost his desire for golfing excellence. Ashley Whitehouse (2/1) turned the tables on Jacob Slimmon who had knocked him off last year. Sean Baumgurtel returned the biggest surprise in district pennant this year when he beat Cameron Stewart on the 18th. This contest was pivotal in the overall result as Mildura would have marked it down for a certain win. Tim Walker (2/1) continued his dominance in beating Ryan Laird which left Coomealla's Leigh Fuller who had finished all square with Andrew Stewart. With the two teams following behind Fuller was able to par the first play off hole to give the home team victory. Mildura now have to play Riverside in the semi final at Mildura this week for the right to meet Coomealla in the final the following week at Red Cliffs. This won't be easy as Riverside are cock a hoop after handing Broken Hill a 5/0 flogging on Sunday. Ashley Whitehouse has declared himself a non starter on Sunday as he has to work and Cameron Stewart is also in doubt. If these players were to miss, Riverside would just about be a shoe in. Whichever way it goes, Coomealla look to be sitting pretty. Mildura recruited well at the start of the season luring Walker and Verbeek to their club. Walker has been a standout but Verbeek has dropped back on previous years. He can play, it is just a matter of whether is able to commit to his golf as he had done for the last seven years. In division two Coomealla had their first win which catapulted them into the semi final this week against Riverside. Riverside won 3/2 at their encounter two weeks ago but Coomealla were one man short and should reverse that result with a full team. Divisions three and four will complete their home and away seasons this Sunday at Mildura. Pennant was again farcical at Coomealla on Sunday with 45 minute delays, then waits on the first three holes. It is not the fault of the clubs but more the organization or lack of by the SDGA. Clearly pennant has to be split into two venues with more time allowed for each division to hit off. This debacle has occurred over the last couple of years and if it is not rectified then some players may opt out of pennant altogether. Two venues would allow for more teams and more players if pennant is made more appealing to the players.
MARG LAMPARD 2011 RIVERSIDE LADIES CHAMPION
Riverside Golf club has a new ladies champion. Marg Lampard has been in contention in the championships for a number of years but hasn't been able to graduate from the contender tag, to winner. That was until June 2011. Marg grew up in a golfing family in Warracknabeal and learnt her golf on sandcrape greens. After moving to Mildura and raising a family she continued her golf at Riverside and hovered around B grade and then into the A grade ranks. Riverside was dominated by Carolyn Croke, Nycole Riordan and Lorraine Palmer in recent years and working Monday to Friday, Marg missed out on a lot of hard competition against the districts top lady golfers. Yesterday she said "It is hard to only play at weekends and reach the standards of the districts best players. Sunday pennant has really helped my golf over the last couple of years. I play most Saturdays and have a practice session a the golf range every Wednesday night but midweek club open tournaments aren't possible for me because of my employment". Some of the men's club opens have included a ladies section which has been popular with the ladies who have Monday to Friday jobs. Ladies Monday pennant is becoming a non event with so many ladies unavailable. Sunday pennant is overtaking Monday's because more of the younger ladies are available to play. The older ladies who have been there and done that are dropping out of pennant on a Monday. This is another reason why a governing body such as a commission, with a 2011 outlook would be ideally placed to reconstruct district golf for both the men and ladies for the future and beyond. Why not have the men's and ladies pennant together and the ladies opens together? Clearly, men's pennant has to be revamped or at the least split up into two courses. There is much to think about and discuss, if we as a district are to progress or shall we just roll over and continue on as is? Surely it is time to let go of the past, look at the present and plan for the future.
THIRD HEART - FIRST TITLE
Miami golf professional Erik Compton was first diagnosed with cardiomyopathy when he was nine years of age. Three years later he had his first heart transplant, as part of his rehabilitation he took up golf. That heart subsequently began failing so in 1998 he had his second heart transplant. By this time he was fully into a life in golf and turned professional to try and make a name for himself. His reasoning was that if he could overcome the life obstacles that had been placed in front of him, golf would be his next mountain to climb. Naturally his story was covered quite extensively in golfing circles in the US which enabled him to get quite a few sponsors invitations into golf tournaments. This year he received a limited medical exemption onto the secondary Nationwide Tour and did reasonably well in the first four months without winning. On Sunday Erik won the Mexico Open which pretty much guarantees him a ticket to the US PGA Tour next year on his own merit. At age 31, thirteen years of persisting, he has finally made it.
YANI TSENG - NUMBER ONE AT 22
Men's golf capture most of the world golfing headlines as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and now a host of Europeans topping the world rankings. Almost unnoticed is world number one in ladies golf, Taiwan's Yani Tseng who won the US LPGA championship on Sunday by ten shots. At only 22 years of age she is eclipsing all of the records at a rapid rate. Last year she bought former worlds number one, Annika Sorenstam's house in Florida. Sorentam had won ten majors and clearly was the best ladies golfer in the world for several years until she retired to have a family. Tseng now has four majors and has only to win the US Open in a fortnight to claim the grand slam of all four majors. Earlier this year she won the Australian Open and Australian Masters and has continued on her winning way around the world.
LARRAZABAL WINS IN GERMANY
Pablo Larrazabal overcame his Spanish compatriot Sergio Garcia after on the fifth playoff hole to win the BMW International Open in Munich on Sunday. Larrazabal has for many years had two golfing idols Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, so to beat one of them in a playoff was something special, for him. Garcia looked to have the title in the bag with seven holes to go but needed a birdie at the 72nd hole to tie his young friend. This win has elevated Larrazabal into the top echelon of European golf and has earn't him and Garcia a spot in the field of the British open at Royal St Georges next month. Garcia has been in a form slump over the last two years but a fifth in the US Open last week and a second in Germany gives him confidence going into the British Open where he has played very well in the past.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week resulted in a triple dead heat this week with three players from three clubs all having 45 points. At Red Cliffs Rod Gray was first up from a spell in good form and bolted in, whilst at Riverside former Robinvale colt Kerry Gray duly saluted on fast track. Out at Wentworth it was "stayers" day when veteran one pacer Ken King had a welcome return to form. Ken wins four laminated Sunraysia golf course placemats including the 18th hole at Wentworth with the old gaol in the background and must collect them by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura.
Contact me with any golf information or opinions at golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
22/6/11
THE FUTURE OF GOLF IN SUNRAYSIA
Golf in Sunraysia is heading for the cross roads. In fairness, as in life and the society we knew twenty year ago, the golfing landscape has changed. Our clubs are run differently, more towards revenues and securing enough money to run operations, in many cases just to continue. Our playing personnel has changed too, less juniors, less players in their 20's, 30's and 40's. Go to any golf club on any Saturday and do a quick survey, the majority of the competition players are aged 50-70. Attracting juniors to play is more difficult than ever before because of a multitude of reasons. Not the least being that there are many more options open to youngsters today and the programs offered by basketball, football, cricket and tennis are far superior to the junior programs that most golf clubs offer. The two bodies overseeing golf in the district are the Sunraysia District Golf Association and the North West Women's Golf Inc who consist of delegates from each club who meet once a month. Essentially these bodies run several events during the year and pennant between the clubs. These so called ruling bodies have limited control if any, of how the clubs operate in a golfing sense and therefore cannot influence any standards that each club adhere to. Going back in time there was a real feeling of importance and respect about being an official on a golf club committee. Members and visitors looked up to the club president and captain who was usually someone in the community who was regarded as having the capacity to steer the club in the right direction and continue the traditions of the club as those before them did. Whilst many of our club leaders are still regarded in the same ilk it is getting harder to attract the most capable people to those positions. Almost twenty years ago there was a suggestion that the SDGA investigate the possibility of appointing a commission to run golf in Sunraysia rather than the SDGA. Perhaps it is time to explore that possibility again. Sure it would be radical but the outcome would be that you would finish up with an independent body that wasn't influenced by necessarily the loudest voice or the strongest club but by what is best for our district as a whole. The Victorian Golf Association has merged with Women's Golf Victoria and it is only a matter of time before this filters down through the relative country golf associations. If a commission was put into place to reorganise golf in Sunraysia with appropriate people then golf in this district could begin to deliver the standards, returns to clubs and opportunities for juniors and golfers of all standards that we are capable of. At the moment it is not the responsibility of the SDGA or the NWWG to do much more than they currently do but a commission with the backing of the clubs, City Council, sports academy and major sponsors could lift us up where we belong. Not only geographically but as the top of the State in country golf. What do you think, let me know if you agree or disagree?
PENNANT SHOWDOWN AT COOMEALLA
Division one pennant will be full of interest this week when top teams Mildura and Coomealla meet at Coomealla. Whilst the number of clubs participating in this division has been disappointing, the actual competition has been far more interesting and exciting than was first thought. Initially Mildura were thought to be far and away the team most likely but it hasn't turned out that way, so far. This week both teams should be back to full strength, the winner will go into the final and wait for their opponent to come from either Riverside or Broken Hill. Mildura should have Ash Whitehouse, Tim Walker, Cameron and Andy Stewart and either Tyler Verbeek or Shay Toma. Coomealla's team will be Sean Baumgurtel. Jake Slimmon, Tim Peterson, Leigh Fuller and Ryan Laird. The key to who wins this contest will be in the matchups. It is highly unlikely that either team will play down the line with their best players lining up at number one, if this were to happen Mildura would be more likely to win. As it is, Coomealla will need to get their matchups right. This is easier said than done because who knows where the key players are likely to play? That is the attraction and exciting anticipation that this system offers as against the obvious player positions of lining up in handicap order. Mildura should win 3/2 in a close one. In the other contest Riverside have been terrific in the first two contests against the gun teams. They should beat Broken Hill, on form, but that will depend on whether the Hill's top players turn up. Most of their top guns seem reluctant to play at Coomealla, so far their team this year hasn't been their top five players, so Riverside look home and hosed!
BRYDEN MCPHERSON WINS BRITISH AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
Former Devil Bend golfer Bryden McPherson won the British Amateur Championship last week. This was an enormous achievement as only Doug Bachli (also Victorian) in 1954 has won the event for Australia. McPherson played a Royal Troon member in the final in front of galleries of over 700, many of whom were from Troon who cheered loudly for their man. McPherson lives in the US after securing a golf scholarships to one of the big colleges over there but he still wears the Australian colours proudly. The win now ensures him of a place in next months British Open and the 2012 US Masters.
MCILROY SURE AT CONGRESSIONAL
Rory McIlroy won the US Open at Congressional Golf Club on Sunday by eight shots from Australia's Jason Day. It wasn't a big surprise to most people but the easiness of the win was. McIlroy's story is very interesting, a catholic boy who grew up in a protestant suburb of Belfast who was consumed with golf from a very early age playing at the Hollywood Golf Club in Belfast. His father Gerry, was a scratch golfer who began coaching Rory from the age of 18 months. When at age eight he watched Tiger Woods win the 1997 US Masters by 12 shots, he decided that was what he wanted to do, play golf for a living. To this day McIlroy maintains he can just about describe Woods last round, shot by shot. The McIlroy's backed their son from the onset, building a putting green in the back yard for him to practice on. Rory's dad worked up to 90 hours a week to raise enough money to send Rory to tournaments including a trip to the United States to play in a junior world championship. Rory McILroy is THE golfer now and with it will come all the pressure that Tiger Woods has endured since his emergence as a superstar. It will be interesting to see how the 22 year old handles that pressure of expectation. The next stanza in this story will be the British Open next month when he will hit off as a short priced favourite. As the new young face of golf he opens up all sorts of possibilities as someone who will restore the brand of golf that Tiger Woods single handedly grew then tarnished almost two years ago. Mothers will be looking at Rory and be pleased that heir children are looking up to him. It was a great day for golf in general on Sunday. McIlroy has such a freshness about his personality and the way he plays. Jack Nicklaus was often cited as the golfer who instigated slow play, more because of his meticulousness in preparing for a shot. Watch this kid though, and he really gets on with it quickly, similarly to how Lee Trevino did and Aaron Baddeley now does. As for Mr Woods, the pressure would seem to be off him now, to a certain extent. If he can get the injuries to his body fixed then he only has to fix his mindset and repair his golf swing. If he can get that swing back and that killer attitude, then we are going to see some of the best golf between two of the biggest modern day golfing hero's. Maybe Rory can wear all white and Tiger all black, that really would be a traditional old style shootout!
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
There were lots of good winter golf scores at all of our local golf clubs this week vying for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. Riverside's best were Gwen Wright and Beau Tarr who had 43 points to be only behind Ollie Asmanis who had +8. At Wentworth, left handed John Klemm turned back the pages of history with a rare return to form with 64 net. Pat Sylvia had 44 points at Merbein in a playoff for the monthly medal against club champion Bev Cetinich. At Coomealla Paul Wright's return from a serious operation saw him record his best ever score at his home club for a 63 net. The nod this week goes to relative newcomer to golf, Helen Brice who came in with 45 points at Coomealla on Saturday. Helen can pick up her prize of four laminated Sunraysia golf course placemats from the Sunraysia Golf Range at 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday
Contact me with any golf information or opinions at golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
16/6/11
GOLF'S IRON MAN
The Guinnes Book of Records has a lot to answer for. Shane Crawford used the Footy show as a forum for breaking world records for some ridiculous feats, all in the name of entertainment. In the US they just about break the record for breaking world records on a regular basis. The latest record to be broken in golf parlance is the number of holes played in a week. Seventy year old Pastor Bob Kurtz played golf 16 hours a day to rack up 1850 holes, averaging 74.55 for almost 103 completed rounds at he Quail Creek Golf Resort. Kurtz is known in his area of Hartselle Alabama as someone who is prepared to take on a challenge. After the tornado annihilated so many peoples lives, he decided to do something to raise money for Tornado Relief. People pledged money per hole, subsequently he raised thousands of dollars for his, and his many helpers efforts. Over 100 volunteers assisted him during his 102 hour game of golf. Many were, as he was, in a golf cart, they teed his ball up, scouted the sides of the course for any wayward shots, kept score, provided food and drinks along the journey. People asked him continually, how did he play 16 hours a day for seven days? "one hole at a time" was always his stock answer. He followed up that quip with, "It was really great, but I'm not very happy because I didn't putt very well! During the 103 rounds he bettered his age of 70 six times. Kurtz began playing golf for extended periods four years ago when he played 178 holes consecutively to raise money for children with cancer. During this challenge he took pledges for holes played which doubled every round he bettered his age (he was then 66) which he did 4 times! The following year he took on the challenge of playing 500 consecutive holes. After practising in the dark using glow at night balls in preparation for the Guinnes record he has earned a break. That is until someone or somehing appeals to him as a worthwhile challenge. He will have a go at it, especially if someone says, "it can't be done".
 
16/6/11
US OPEN - A TRUE TIN CUP STORY
the world of golf is full of a litany of stories of golfers that come from nowhere to become super stars and so many more that never make it and no-one ever hears about. In the US Open field beginning tomorrow at the Congressional Golf Club are two pro's who have come from the depths of despair to now have a "chance" in the big time. Former high school teammates Christo Greyling and Ty Tryon were once regarded as the best two juniors in America. Ten years ago they went to the same private school in Orlando where former PGA tour professional and now leading Senior tour professional John Cook was the assistant coach on the golf team. Both lads were regarded as walk up start tour pro's of the future. Given the incomphrensible paralells of their careers since, it was only fitting that they qualified for the US Open last Monday in the 36 hole sectional qualifying. Tryon turned pro at 17 while still at school, becoming the youngest ever to secure a US PGA Tour card. At the time, not everyone thought he was the best player on the school team. Some thought it was Greyling who went down the more traditional path, becoming the number one player ranked in the American Junior Golf Association. Subsequently he accepted a scholarship to Georgia College. Tryon had first met Greyling whose family had moved to the US from South Africa when the boys were 12. Both were coached by David Leadbetter and Greyling first made headlines when he Monday qualified for a PGA Tour event at 17. Several months later Tryon matched his mate by Monday qualifying for the Honda Classic and went on to become the youngest player since 1956 to make the 36 hole cut. Four months later he shot 65 to lead asfter the first round of the BC Open. Just as Tryon's career was taking off Greyling was facing some debilitating issues. He had began taking Accutane, a controversial acne medication that has since been linked to teenage suicide, depression and behavoural issues. His scores ballooned from the 60's to the 80's and his golf career spiralled out of control. Tryon, by now a tour pro was also having acne problems and had also started taking accutane. His career also started going backwards and he fell short of his and others expectations as he played the secondary Nationwide Tour. Not that long ago his back up team was the best that his dad's money could buy. Leadbetter, yoga instructor, sports psychologist, personal trainer and a tour caddie. Soon though, there was just him, his wife and their son after his parents divorced. Greyling kept battling away playing mini tours. The high point came when he went through tour school and qualified for the Nationwide Tour in 2008. With the financial crisis in the the US his parents who had given up their life style in South Africa to take their three children to the US for a better life, separated. Not long after, Greyling got the call that his dad had taken his own life. Christo burried his dad on his birthday. Last Monday he sat in the clubhouse waiting for his mate after he had posted a score giving him his ticket to possible stardom. Tryon came stumbling up the last hole, he looked forlorn and out of sorts facing a 45 foot putt. As luck would have it he drained the putt and will take his place tomorrow. After the qualifying both men went ten pin bowling to celebrate their achievement. Tryon and his wife and son are sharing a foldout couch in his mates lounge room. They are still dreaming of what might be, just as they were a decade ago. As my father once told me forty years ago, " many are called but few are chosen". I really hope that these two are part of the few on Friday night when the 36 hole cut is made.
 
15/6/11
ROBINVALE TO HOST PENNANT
Robinvale Golf Club will host the districts top golfers on Sunday when round two of division one pennant hits off. Riverside performed admirably at home in the first round against pennant favourites Mildura, going down by the narrowest of margins 3/2 after Chris Thomas lost to Andrew Stewart at the 18th. This Sunday they face another stern test against Coomealla who thrashed Broken Hill at Riverside 5/0. Coomealla will have a full list to choose from this week, making Riverside's task even harder. In the second contest Broken Hill come up against Mildura and will find it even harder this week as few of their players have ever played at Robinvale. In division two Red Cliffs will play Mildura and should consolidate their position on top of the ladder. Coomealla will be hell bent on winning this week after losing the first round to the Cliffs when they played one man short. Robinvale have been working very hard to get their golf course back to it's best. It really is a good test of golfing skill and will provide some great contests.
HOLDEN SCRAMBLE AT COOMEALLA
Coomealla Golf Club ran their very first Holden Scramble in 1994, so it certainly has passed the test of time with the event ebbing and flowing over the last few years. This year the tournament rules got back to almost where it was when the event began and 156 players turned up and plied their skills on Sunday. Three and a half thousand players have now contested the event at Coomealla with an estimated 20,000 shots being hit during this event. The golfers this year came from 19 visiting golf clubs from Adelaide to Corowa. The handicaps ranged from scratch to 45 with 58 percent handicapped from 10-19, 37 per cent from 20-45 and 15 per cent on single figures. Seven of the top eight combinations had an aggregate handicap of around seven. The winning team of Tim Peterson, Matt Adams, Tim Green and Richard Jones also had the best scratch score and finished with 63 - 7.75 - 55.25. The top four teams will now go into the State regional final which will be contested later in the year.
LADIES CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sue Laird looks to have a strong hold on the ladies club championships at Mildura and Coomealla. Laird played poorly at Coomealla in the first round for an 87 but backed up last week with a 76 two days in a row at Coomealla then Mildura then another 76 at Mildura yesterday. At Merbein Bev Cetinich just keeps on keeping on, winning again this year. Marg Lampard is yet to raise the main trophy at Riverside but tomorrow she takes a seven shot lead into the last round. No news from Wentworth or Red Cliffs but hopefully next week a report will be available. Good luck to all ladies this week.
24TH ATHENS OPEN
The Greek national anthem wafted around the fairways and greens of the Riverside Golf Club on Sunday morning as the competitors in the 24th Athens Open stood to attention for the traditional raising of the Greek flag. On completion of the flag raising all competitors skulled shots of ouzo, then hit off, as is their tradition at every Athens Open. Since 1987 a group of Sunraysia's Greek golfers and their friends have welcomed fellow golfers from Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide an even Papua New Guinea to celebrate the game of golf and good fellowship before and after the game. The tournament has always been held over the Melbourne Cup weekend but this year it was decided to change to the Queens birthday weekend which is more convenient for the majority of the current players. The top three place getters all came from Melbourne this year with Tim Likos going from last in 2010 to first this year. Vasy Christakakis was second and Barry Templeton (no relation to the Templakinos's) was third with the 2010 winner Nick Kiapekos finishing last this year. Since 1987 more than 500 players have saluted the flag and skulled the chosen drop. Next year will be a big one with many past players expected to journey up to Mildura for the 25th annual Athens Open.
111TH US OPEN AT CONGRESSIONAL
The second Major of the year hits off in Washington on Thursday in Washington at the Congressional Golf Club for the 111th US Open. In the first US Open there were 11 players and the winner received $150 and a gold medal from the total prize money of $335. This year there were was almost 10,000 entries with 156 getting into the field that will play for 7.5 million dollars. No Tiger this year, so Adam Scott has employed Tiger's caddy Steve Williams to carry his bag. Scott was equal second in the US Masters in April when he used a broomstick putter. Maybe Williams who is regarded as the best caddy in the world will make the difference and lift Scott to his first Major victory. Congressional is a brutal test and the second longest course on the US Open rotation, add to that the penal rough that they rarely have at any course in the US except for the Open and the US PGA tournament. The Americans are really hanging out for a Phil Mickelson win. Mickelson has been runner up five times and is fast becoming a modern day Sam Snead. Snead won everything except the US Open, just as the US Masters was Greg Norman's bogey tournament, so it was with Snead and now Mickelson in the US Open. Ireland's Rory McIlroy could be the one this year after his countryman Graeme McDowell won it last year at Pebble Beach. McIlroy is fearless and only has to have a good week with the putter to be right in it at the end. As the course will favour the long hitters, Scott Hend from Queensland just might finish high up as probably only Spain's Alvaro Quiros hits it further. Hend has been playing in Europe this year after becoming a golfing nomad in recent years going from one tour to another. There are some great groups in the first two rounds including the top three ranked players in the World, Lule Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer. The three top Italians will hit off together in the Molinari brothers and Matteo Mannaserto. The Spainards, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Quiros will be a terrific group to follow, all different golfers but great players in their own right. Play commences on 10 at 5am Friday morning. Go Aussies.
THE STORY OF A "TOUGH COURSE"
Bill invited his mate Butch to play at his new club. Since Butch had never played the course before, Bill pointed out the trouble spots and where to aim on the first hole. Butch teed it up, addressed the ball, took a couple of waggles, wound it up an took one hell of a swing. He hit a foot behind the ball, tore up the tee ground and totally missed the ball. Unphased he stepped back, took another couple of practice swings and again addressed the ball. This time his swing completely missed everything. He stepped back from his ball again, looked at Bill and said "Boy, this really is a tough course!"
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week was easy to pick this week with the scores around the district very good at all courses. No less than eight players bettered their handicaps by 8 shots including Riverside's Seb Raiti, Kevin Welsh, Darren Mannix, Andrew Hill, Coomealla's Glenn Palmer and Ian Walder, also Ryan Teasdale at Merbein and at Red Cliffs Geoff Smith. Sandy Wright did everything right for 45 points at Red cliffs only to be equalled by Bob Smith at Coomealla who was runner up on Monday to David Inglis who had a staggering 48 points. David wins four laminated Sunraysia Golf Course placemats which must be collected by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave Mildura.
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Good golfing to all.
 
8/6/11
WENTWORTH GOLF CLUB - TO BE OR NOT TO BE
The Wentworth Golf Club committee and its members have been the target of what they regard as unfair rumours and innuendo from the general golfing community of Sunraysia. For over twelve months the "word" around local golf clubs is that Wentworth Golf Club will close down soon. Yesterday a prominent golf club spokesperson said "enough is enough, we are here to stay and we will continue to work hard to get our club and golf course back on track. Three weeks ago we held a charity day that raised over $10,000 for local charities and everyone who played enjoyed the day". The Wentworth Golf Club has always had the support of the Wentworth Services Sporting Club who have had their own share of problems in recent years. The two committees have been working together in recent months to overcome the current issues confronting the golf club. Wentworth Services Sporting Club president Sandra Arnold said on Monday "Our committee have met with the golf club and assured them that we want the golf club to continue. For that to happen, it has to reduce its running costs. It is preposterous to suggest that the golf club is closing down. We have just recently secured a grant from the Bendigo Bank to assist with some restoration work on the greens which is most timely after the problems caused by the rain and flooding earlier in the year. We really need the golf club members to support the club by playing regularly and bringing their friends from Mildura out for a game". In recent months it has been suggested that as a way of cutting costs the Wentworth Services Sporting Club relocate down to the sports complex to cut costs but at this point that is unlikely to happen. The sports complex also houses the Wentworth bowls club and tennis club who have adjoining courts and rinks. Wentworth Golf Club has only 130 members of which only 20-30 play regularly in club competitions making it extremely difficult to raise the revenue required to cover the cost of maintaining an 18 hole golf course. Wentworth Regional Tourism president Russell James who is also a director of the Wentworth Services Sporting Club yesterday spoke of the bigger picture saying "Our association understands the attraction that our golf club has for visiting and local golfers alike. We feel confident that if the golf course can be restored to its previous condition then big golf events can be sourced and conducted by our golf club. We look forward to assisting in bringing not only golf events but other festivals and sporting competitions to the sports complex. Sunraysia District Golf Association president Brian Tyers is fully aware of the golf club's plight and indicated yesterday that the SDGA is one hundred per cent behind it. "It is important that all eight clubs in our association are strong and viable, all clubs go through ups and downs and Wentworth have been hit by all sorts of set backs but the SDGA will offer any support that we are capable of to the Wentworth Golf Club". Although there are only seven or eight ladies who play regularly on Tuesdays in competition, the pennant team did well this year finishing off the season with a win against eventual pennant winners Red Cliffs in the last round. North West Women's Golf president Pat Page endorsed the efforts of the club in it's determination to continue, "Our association fully supports Wentworth, we scheduled our first rounds of Sunday and Monday pennant there recently to give the club an opportunity to showcase their course to the districts lady golfers. As a result all who played spoke positively about the course and how important it was for Wentworth to continue". In men's pennant that began at the weekend the club only has one team in division three, due to a lack of available players. It really is a shame that the Wentworth golf course, that not so long ago proudly boasted the best greens in the district and were such a delight to play on, have fallen on such hard times. The main reasons appear to be, lack of finance due to low membership, lack of members and green fee players due to the distance from Mildura and the superior condition of courses such as Coomealla, Mildura and Riverside and the condition of the golf course due to lack of funds, drought, then rain and flooding this year causing disease in the greens. At the end of the day the people of Wentworth including the Wentworth Services Sporting Club, Wentworth Regional Tourism, Wentworth Council and indeed the people of Wentworth have to decide if they really want such a wonderful facility that the golf course was and can be again. If all parties can't come to the same conclusion and investigate every avenue to restore the golf course to its original standard, then the golf club committee will have no option but to put up their hands and become another victim of supply and demand.
RIVERSIDE TESTS PENNANT FAVOURITES MILDURA
The Sunraysia District Golf Association pennant season began on the weekend with only four clubs represented in divisions one and two. In division one Coomealla gave Broken Hill a drubbing 5/0 with the Broken Hill contingent down a few of their top players on recent seasons. In the other contest host club Riverside almost overcame pennant favourites Mildura. Andrew Stewart was able to hold off Riverside club champion Chris Thomas to win at the 18th and give Mildura a 3/2 victory. Cam Stewart and Tim Walker were the other winners for the black and gold whilst Dave Woolcock and Robert Veit won for the green and gold's. Pennant goes into recess this week but continues at Robinvale on Sunday June 19. Divisions three and four are played off handicap and this year seem to be more popular than ever before. This is good in one respect but if the top two divisions continue to disintegrate it might finish up as the ladies pennant has with everyone playing handicap pennant. That really would be a shame. With the delays that occurred at Riverside on Sunday hopefully Robinvale will have starters on the tees to keep players moving and not have teams standing around for seventy five minutes waiting for their tee off.
HANDICAPPING SYSTEM TO BE "TWEAKED"
Golf Australia recently announced that the current handicapping system will be "tweaked" to accommodate and become more closely aligned to the way we play golf in Australia. Basically in America they play stroke and handicap golf, whereas in Australia we play more stableford and to a lesser degree par competitions. As such Golf Australia will change the handicapping system on September 21 to handicap players on their best 8 of their last 20 rounds instead of best 10. Furthermore the bonus for excellence multiplier will go from 0.96 to 0.93. Additionally an anchor will also be introduced so that a player will only be allowed to go out a maximum of four stokes on their handicap in a 12 month period. There is no doubt that Golf Australia put the cart before the horse when they didn't re-rate our golf courses before introducing the slope handicapping system. Perhaps when all courses are finally re-rated then we might see the benefits of the system. So far it is difficult to see how the new system has been a step forward.
McDOWELL SLIPS UP IN TITLE DEFENCE
Last year Graeme McDowell won the Wales Open with closing rounds of 63-64 which propelled him into the US Open at Pebble Beach two weeks later, that he then duly won. This year he has been playing OK but nothing of that ilk. On Thursday he lined up at Celtic Manor to defend his title and began really well to be only one off the pace at the halfway mark with 67-68. Everyone was left flabbergasted though, when he returned an 81 on Saturday to drop way down the leader board. On Sunday he recovered with a 71 but the bird had long gone. McDowell now has ten days to repair the damage in preparation for his US Open defence at Congressional Golf Club. Sweden's Alexander Noren won the tournament but Elliot Saltman was another major talking point after he holed out two days in a row on the par three 17th. This was his first tournament back after receiving a three month suspension in the Russian Open for a rules infringement.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The scoring was red hot this week for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. At Wentworth Maureen Bailey came in with 43 points, not bad, but two off the pace. At Coomealla Adrian Bennett, Thelma Giro and Kym Doherty all had nine better than their handicap. Tim Peterson parred the course which was even more commendable when you consider he had a nine on the par four 14th! This week though, the winner is Merbein stalwart Col Lang who had 45 points. Col can collect he prize of four Sunraysia Golf Club laminated placemats from the Sunraysia Golf Range 437 Ontario Avenue Mildura by Friday.
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Good golfing to all.
 
1/6/11
RED CLIFFS REIGN IN LADIES PENNANT
Red Cliffs Golf Club won both Sunday and Monday NWWG pennants after the last rounds were played at the Mildura Golf Club Resort. On Sunday Coomealla had to win against Riverside Green whose Captain had celebrated a half century with her team mates the night before. Even though it wasn't the best preparation in an elite athletes sense, it didn't hold the girls back and the "greens" overcame Coomy with the skipper Marg Lampard winning on the 18th against Sandy Waters to sink any Coomealla aspirations. With Coomealla out of the way Red Cliffs edged past Riverside Gold 3/2 to finish top of the table by two points from Riverside Green. On Monday it was also very close and again Coomealla couldn't close the deal losing to Riverside Green 4/1. In the other contest Wentworth surprised ladder leaders Red Cliffs when they were too good in winning 3/2. Lee Bottomly,Maureen Baily and Pam Turner held too many guns for the Cliffs with only Linda hickey and Sandra Marwood showing enough resistance. With Coomealla losing Red Cliffs were able to maintain a two point advantage from Riverside Gold with Wentworth, Coomealla and Riverside Green only one point further back. It is unclear what will happen with NWWG pennant next year but one thing is certain and that is that the players and the clubs really need to sit down with the NWWG and wotk out what is going to be the best strategy going forward.
WALKER IN A CANTER AT ROBINVALE
Red Cliffs junior Tim Walker 70-71-141 won for the second time this year when he won the Robinvale Open on Sunday. Walker won comfortably by five strokes from club mate Justin McPhee 73-73 who had won at Red Cliffs last week. Robinvale's Open is different to any other local club as the full 36 holes are completed in the one day on Sunday. Only 34 players teed it up this year which is disappointing but as mentioned on a regular basis in this column, very little is done by the clubs to promote and advertise their major events either inside or outside of our district. On Sunday Tim Walker played very well against quality opposition from McPhee and Cameron Stewart, parring the course in the morning and one over par in the afternoon. The afternoon round could have been so much better as he was three under par but four late bogeys soured his day somewhat. Walker has improved steadily over recent months. No doubt playing with Greg Rhodes in several Opens in recent weeks has been valuable for him. It has been a great week for the year 12 golfer who has just been chosen for the second year in the Victorian State Schoolboys team that will play in the Australian Schoolboys Championships at Glenelg Golf Club in September. Last year the championship was played at Port Macquarie Golf Club with Victoria finishing third. This year all of the major schools including Catholic colleges were included giving the selectors more scope to pick the States absolute best six boy team. For Tim to make the team after playing in lead up tournaments at Rich River and Eastern in Melbourne is even more meritorious. The selection critera includes those performances and also takes into account his scores over the last 12 months. Whilst Queensland and New South Wales have always dominated these championships the Vic's feel more confident this year with the inclusion of several State players who weren't able to be chosen last year because their schools wern't involved.
MILDURA FAVOURITES IN MEN'S PENNANT
Men's SDGA pennant commences this weekend with divisions 3 and 4 playing at Merbein on Saturday and all four divisions playing at Riverside on Sunday. Coomealla has been the standout team in division 1 in recent years but this will change this year with the inclusion of Tim Walker into the Mildura team. Ash Whitehouse, Cam and Andy Stewart and Walker will give Coomealla a real run for their money. Coomealla has Sean Baumgurtel who has played minimal golf in the last 12 months, Jacob Slimmon who has been playing football and hardly seen a golf course for a while, Tim Peterson who is back playing after a season of football, Leigh Fuller who also hasn't played a lot this year and Ryan Laird who plays most of his golf out of the district but at a higher level. Broken Hill and Riverside will struggle against Mildura and Coomealla but at least they will have teams representing them. In the other divisions it will depend on who is available as to the strength of the teams but Coomealla, Red Cliffs and Wentworth should fight out division two.
ALAN SCORER SUNRAYSIA COUNTRY WEEK TEAM MANAGER
Coomealla's Alan Scorer takes over from Trevor Carroll as the new SDGA Country Week Team manager. Scorer comes into the position well credentialled as a recent Captain of the Coomealla Golf Club where he did an excellent job. Team Captain Justin McPhee who was said to be relinquishing his position attended the team's first meeting recently giving an indication that he may be staying. Let's hope so because the team can ill afford to lose his ability and experience.
DONALD BREAKS DUCK AT WENTWORTH
Englishman Luke Donald is the new world number one after winning the BMW PGA at Wentworth Golf Club in England on Sunday. He takes over as the third world number one since April after Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood swapped spots at the top. Donald won in a playoff against Westwood after Westwood drowned his ball off the green into a pond. This resulted in a double bogey leaving Donald two putts for par and victory. Paul Casey was third giving England the top three placings in this tournament for the first time since 1974. The next big world event in golf is the US Open at Congressional Golf Club in two weeks time.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
There were no less than seven players who had six better than their handicaps last week to put themselves in contention for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. That was until Coomealla's Paul Modica and Merbein's Adrian Rudd and Rodney Poole came in with seven better than handicap. In a toss of the coin Rodney Poole is the lucky winner this week of four Sunraysia Golf Course placemats which must be collected by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range at 347 Ontario Ave Mildura.
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Good golfing to all.




 
25/5/11
McPHEE/SUNRAYSIA WIN AT RED CLIFF
Justin McPhee spearheaded the Sunraysia team against the Riverland Golf Association when they took out the fifteenTH contest for the Doherty/McInnes Cup played in conjunction with the Red Open at the weekend. After losing to the Riverland for only the second time last year our lads completely white washed the South Australians on the wet and windy Red Cliffs course. On Saturday Andy Stewart and Greg Rhodes headed the leaderboard with one under 71's. McPhee and Cameron Stewart were next on 73 with Tim Walker and Coomealla's Phil Moisidis on 74. Because of the medal matchplay format of the Doherty/McInnes there wasn't a seeded group on Sunday. This meant that the leading players were on different sides of the golf course unaware of how their opponents were scoring. Rhodes and Andy Stewart were playing together and finished on the 9th hole after Rhodes had three putted eight, then bogeyed nine for a 76. McPhee later finished on 18 and completed his second 73 of the weekend giving him a one stroke victory on his home course. This was a great effort by McPhee as the wind and rain on Sunday was quite challenging. His round of 73 was three shots better than anyone else on the day. It was a big week for the Red Cliffs golf club with ladies pennant on the previous Sunday and Monday, Tri-State Masters on the Monday, Red Shield Day on Friday then the Open at the weekend. Well done to all concerned for a wonderful week of golf and hospitality. It's why they call Red Cliffs the friendly golf club.
Top 10 Scratch - Justin McPhee 146, Greg Rhodes 147, Cameron Stewart, Tim Walker 151, Andrew Stewart, Phil Moisidis 152, Ash Whitehouse 154, Robert Veit 156, Sean Baumgurtel 157, Leigh Fuller 163.
Top 10 Handicap- Phil Moisidis 138, Mal Blagus 139, Tom Minns 142, J McPhee, A Stewart, Neville Walker, Jason Hartley 144, T Lees, N Hodson 146, John Fletcher 147.
LADIES WINTER PENNANT WINTRY AT COOMEALLA
Coomealla Golf Club hosted round four of North West Women's Golf on Sunday and Monday. In cold, wet and windy conditions it was real golf weather. In both sections this year the top team at the completion of round five will be declared the pennant winners. It was therefore most disappointing that Mildura forfeited their contest against Red Cliffs on Sunday. This shows a complete lack of respect, not only to their opposition (Red Cliffs) but also a disrespect to their own club and all other clubs in the competition. In the SDGA there have been fines and sanctions in past years for this action but the NWWG have nothing as such in place in their rules. With regard to the ladies and teams that did front up to play, Red Cliffs are now favoured to take out both pennants. This Sunday at Mildura Golf Club Resort Coomealla play Riverside Green in what should be an absolute cracker of a contest. Coomealla must win and win well to have any chance of finishing on top. This match could go either way. Red Cliffs will then play Riverside Gold and appear too strong on paper. In Monday pennant Red Cliffs face Wentworth who have had some good results this year. The Cliffs have more incentive though, and should win. In the second contest Coomealla look to have more fire power up against Riverside Green but will be hoping for Wentworth to do them a favour in the other match.
TRI-STATE MASTERS - MEMORIES AND DREAMS
Every year at the Tri-State Masters opening Cocktail Party at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club it is like a reunion, for many, but more particularly for Kym and I, as people we regard as friends come back for the tournament. Some folk don't come up for the tournament because of a variety of reasons, so when they do it is very nice to welcome them back. This year there was a real buzz at the functions and everyone seemed really happy. It made us feel really good. When we launched this event in 1993 we really didn't know where it would go or how long it would last, but here we are 20 years later planning out 20th. It has been an incredible journey, bringing together over 1300 different people from over 180 golf clubs who will have played in the event on average almost four times. Next year we will welcome our 5000th player, pretty good for an idea that became a reality with the help of my good friend John Daffy. Northern Golf Club's Peter Fox is the only one to have played in every Tri-State Masters tournament so far. More than 40 people have played at least ten times and more than 120 five times. It will be a big thrill for Peter, and us, when he turns up next year for the 20th time. Don and Janine Sanford from Rosebud Country Club hadn't been for eight years but there they were on Sunday night. Dennis and Beth Watson from Kurri Kurri hadn't been since 2007 but they were here to collect their ten year awards. Heidelberg's John Deviny has always been one of our favourite people in the tournament and he was there after eight years with his partner Jan Shrimpton who is the ladies president at Heidelberg. On Friday night five people accepted 10 year awards and nine people collected 5 year pins. Next year we are expecting between 250-260 to play in the 20th Tri-State Masters, the hard work has already begun to make sure that this tournament is our very best ever. This will be no small feat after 10 Sunraysia Matchplay Championships, 2004 Australian Veterans Championship, 3 Riverside Senior Pro Am's and a host of other golf events. The tournaments and events that we have organised in Mildura over the last twenty five years have involved almost 10,000 people. We have loved every minute of it. We hope you can join us to help make it a most memorable event. Mark it down now, the 20th Tri-State Masters on the 20th May 2012.
IAN POULTER 2011 VOLVO WORLD MATCHPLAY CHAMPION
England's Ian Poulter won the 2011 Volvo World Matchplay Championship in Spain on Sunday. Poulter who is arguably the most polished matchplay exponent in the world after several years as the outstanding player in the Ryder Cup. Countryman Luke Donald couldn't quite pull off the double after having won the Accenture Matchplay Championship in Arizona against Martin Kaymer in February. Donald was too good once again for Kaymer in the semi final on Sunday morning. Had Donald have beaten Poulter it would have moved him into number one in the world rankings but he now he sits at number two behind Lee Westwood with Kaymer third. This week at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club in England, all 12 of last year's winning European Ryder Cup team will be playing, plus last year's Captain Colin Montgomery and his successor Jose Maria Olazabal. Lee Westwood is still world number one but a win for either Donald or Kaymer would elevate them to the top spot. It will make compelling viewing.
SCOTLAND/IRELAND GOLF TOUR
Bookings for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Scotland /Ireland golf tour will close on June 3rd or before, once full. We can hardly wait - only 102 more sleeps till we fly out to Scotland. Eight world class golf venues, superb accommodation including two Castles. Visits to Edinburgh, St Andrews, Dublin, Waterford Crystal, Bunratty Castle and the Blarney Stone and so much more. It really will be a trip to remember.
SUNRAYSIAGOLFTOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Lots of golfers and subsequently rounds of golf to choose from for the Sunraysia Golf Tours - Round of the Week from this week. No less than 19 golfers scored better than seven shots better than their handicaps last week. Lois Briggs at Red Cliffs, Hans Schultz at Riverside and Marty Livingstone at Coomealla all had 9 shots better than their marks. Wentworth's Pam Turner is the unlucky one this week as she loses a countback on 47 points to Coomealla's Jeff Kelm who lost on a countback last week. Jeff can pick up his prize of four Sunraysia golf Course placemats from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave by Friday.
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Good Golfing to all.
 
21/5/11
TUNG TRIUMPHS IN TRI-STATE MASTERS
Coomealla's Craig Tung turned back the clock at Coomealla Golf Club on Friday when he won the 2011 Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters with scores of 76-77-77-230. It is twenty two years since he won the 1989 Coomealla Golf Club championship. The following year he went back to playing football for Merbein and returned to golf on and off over the next fifteen years. Tung only plays golf on Wednesday's, so three times in one week is a major increase for him. Beginning the last round three shots behind overnight leader John Keogh, it looked as though he would have to put the pressure on early to give himself a chance going into the last nine holes. Keogh decided to attack from the first hole and opened up with two quick birdies and a par. Tung was now six shots behind and wondering what he had to do to get back in the contest. Keogh then uncharacteristically began to implode as he bogeyed five of the next six holes to turn in 39. In golf when a competitor gets a sniff of a chance, the whole mindset changes. By the seventeenth hole Tung was two shots in front and looking home and hosed. It is never over though, till it's over, Tung then cut his drive out into the trees eventually making bogey and watched on as Keogh made a brilliant birdie. Every player dreams of being on the last hole of a major tournament with a chance to win. Keogh had the honour on the par three finishing hole giving him the advantage but he pulled his tee shot left, handing the over the opportunity to Tung who duly knocked it on, made par and won as Keogh wasn't able to get up and down to force a playoff. Keogh recorded rounds of 77-73-81-231. Tungs good friendDavid Gardiner was third after getting within two shots of the lead in the last round only to fade on the closing holes and Mt Barker's John Reynolds was fourth. Coomealla's Sue Laird was untroubled in winning her fifth Tri-State Masters title in five years after rounds of 79-76-78-233. Laird began the day only one shot in front of Portsea's Jenny Jeffreys, her steady play proved too much for Jeffrey's who struggled around the closing nine. Both Keogh and Jeffreys were rewarded for their efforts as they took out the over fifty Senior titles. Other winners were Coomealla's Graham McClellan A Grade, Drouin's Eric Robbins B Grade, Churchill Park's David Hall C Grade, Deniliquin's Bob Landy Veterans, Traralgon's Syd Payne Super Veterans, Coomealla's Janet Fumberger A Grade, Traralgon's Donna O'Brien B Grade, Deniliquin's Esther Bolton Veterans, Churchill Park's Andrea Hall Super Veterans. In the four person aggregate stableford David and Andrea Hall, Rex and Lynne Markby had the unbelievable score of 462 stableford points to win the Golf Guru GPS prizes from Traralgon's Glenn and Peggy Thomas, Syd and Christine Payne who won six nights at Quest Apartments for next year's 20th Tri-State Masters to be conducted from May 20. Sunraysia really put it's best foot forward last week with all of the visitors unanimous in their praise for the golf clubs, accommodation venues, restaurants and the superb weather. If all goes off to plan the Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters will have attracted over 5000 people to Sunraysia by the end of next year's tournament. This will have delivered between five and a half to six million dollars to our economy which, in a tourism sense, is worth twenty five to thirty million dollars. The promotion and awareness of the 20th Tri-State Masters will begin from June 1, it would be really fantastic if the Mildura City Council and it's Major Events department came on board to assist with the promotion of one of Sunraysia's most significant major events.
 
20/5/11
Keogh On Track For Tri-State Masters
Coomealla's John Keogh takes a three stroke lead into the last round of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters on his home course today after two rounds at Red Cliffs and Riverside Golf Clubs. Keogh has worked hard on his game in recent months reducing his handicap to a career low four last month. A brilliant back nine of 34 including a birdie on the 18th resurrected his score after a front nine 39. Keogh has played in several big tournaments recently and looks all set to notch his first big win. It won't be all plain sailing though, as his main rivals are also Coomealla boys. First round leader Craig Tung slipped back with a 77 but is relishing the opportunity to win his first major golf event for twenty years. Tung went out in 40 at Riverside but came home in 37 to right the ship somewhat. One shot further back is David Gardiner who made up ground on Wednesday at Riverside where he was previously club captain with 73. Gardiner parred the Coomealla course on Saturday and a repeat of that form today would almost be good enough to snatch the title. Portsea's Jenny Jeffreys pegged overnight leader Sue Laird back one shot when she returned a 75 to Lairds 76. Jeffreys parred the front nine but dropped three shots around the back. Laird did the opposite turning in 40 then parring the back nine. Today they will play head to head in what amounts virtually to a matchplay contest with only one stroke between them. Leaders in the stableford events are Coomealla's Janet Fumberger and Traralgon's Donna O'Brien. In the men's sections Gold Coast Golf Club's John Clift is narrowly in front in his section whilst Drouin's Eric Robins and Deniliquin's Bob Land lead the other grades. Forty three players bettered their handicap's at Riverside with the golf course set up beautifully for the tournament. Visiting players have been delighted with the golf courses, hospitality and of course, our wonderful weather, it will be 23 today. A shot gun start at 12-15 will get proceedings under way at Coomealla today with the Presentation Dinner at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club tonight. All trophies for the week will be presented along with five year badges and ten year plates. Northern Golf Club's Peter Fox is the only player to compete in all 19 Tri-State Masters tournaments and is already looking forward to the 20 year celebrations next year.
Scores after 36 holes
Scratch - John Keogh Coomealla 77-73-150 Craig Tung Coomealla 76-77-153 David Gardiner Coomealla 81-73-154 John Reynolds Mt Barker 80-79-159
Stableford - A Grade John Clift Gold Coast 77 points John Keogh 76 Craig Tung 75
B Grade -Eric Robbins Drouin 81 points Dean Forsyth Riverside 77 Ross Clift Forster/Tuncurry 76 Syd Payne Traralgon 76 Trevor Rogers Coomealla 76
C Grade Bob Landy Deniliquin 82 David Hall Churchill Park 80 Glen Thomas Traralgon 79
Ladies Scratch - Sue Laird Coomealla 79-76-155 Jenny Jeffreys Portsea 81-75-156
Stableford - A Grade Janet Fumberger 76 Sue Laird 74 B Grade Donna O'Brien Traralgon 80 Peg Thomas Traralgon 79 Esther Bolton Deniliquin 77

 
18/5/11
Red Cliffs In Top Gear in Ladies Pennant
Red Cliffs moved to outright favourites to win the NWWG's winter pennant after thrashing Coomealla at Riverside on Monday. Both teams were on equal points at the start of the day but things turned sour very quickly for the NSW bunch. Three matches went to the 18th with the Cliffs up each time through Sally Jones, Sheryl Blagus and Sandra Marwood over Marg Baird, Jill Forster and Marg Midgley. Fay Ross and Linda Hickey had more comfortable wins over Dawn Jackson and Helen Barnes. Wentworth moved into second place on the ladder when they won 4/1 over Ouyen. In the third match Riverside Gold earn bragging rights over Riverside Green when they won 3/2. In Sunday pennant it looks like being a Riverside Green type year after they knocked over Red Cliffs on Sunday. Although trailing Coomealla on the ladder, the NSW team has a bye this week which gives Green the chance to move into top spot. Coomealla's top three players were too good for their Mildura opponents winning 3/2. Coomy will be hoping for a Green loss this Sunday to keep them in the hunt for the pennant. The second last round of ladies pennant this Sunday and Monday is at Coomealla and concludes the following week.
Mabel Crouch Wins Coomealla Open
Mildura's queen of consistency Mabel Crouch won the Coomealla Open last Wednesday by one stroke from Sue Laird. 78 ladies took to the tough Coomealla circuit with only ten per cent bettering their handicap on the day. Mabel Crouch is always around the mark but that usually falls just short of some of the top liners in ladies golf. It was terrific to see her break through in such a major event. Laird double bogeyed the last hole proving very costly but she would agree that 85 doesn't really deserve to win an Open, unless of course it is the best score of the day.
Boilover at Riverside In Lever, Blair Seeley
Former Riverside club champion Steve Wilmann teamed up with clubmate Alan McMaster to win the prestigious Lever Cup at Riverside on Saturday. The Riverside duo combined for an excellent five under par 67 in the best ball format. Runners up one shot behind was the unlikely pair of Dave Woolcock and Kelvin Wilson. Woolcock shot the lights out with a personal best ever score of 69. Wilson wasn't just along for the ride as his score was used on two holes! Michael Nott and Andrew Diwell combined for a +13 in the Blair/Seeley to win from Craig Blanch and Rob Garioch on +12. Fortunately the Riverside members supported the event reasonably well but less than 25% of the field were from other clubs. Clearly the SDGA have to start promoting their major events. It's is not that hard as they only have their Open, Lever Blair/Seeley and a couple of mixed events. Mind you, only Riverside and Mildura publish their results in the Melbourne Sun Herald and Age. The cost to do so is the cost of a fax but the promotion and awareness of our clubs would be quite significant. Have a look in these papers each day and you will see some of the smallest clubs in Victoria in, amongst all the major Metropolitan clubs. No, it's not that hard, so how about it SDGA and clubs?
Laird and Tung In Front in Tri-State Masters
Sue Laird is on track for her fifth Tri-State Masters Championship after taking a two shot lead at Red Cliffs on Monday. Portsea's Jenny Jeffreys got off to a great start but limped home around the back nine for an 81. Two shots is nothing and it will depend on what happens at Riverside today. Jeffreys has played her best golf in this tournament at Riverside so she will hoping to turn the tables on her arch rival. Good scores in the stableford sections came from Traralgon's Peggy Thomas who had 41 points as did Deniliquin's Esther Bolton. Next best all on 40 points were Jane Derham Royal Melbourne, Donna O'Brien Traralgon and Wilma Saunders Gisborne. In the men's championship 1989 Coomealla club champion Craig Tung had a respectable 76 to lead by one shot from Coomealla clubmate John Keogh. Tung could easily have had much better if he'd got more co-operation from his putter. His playing partners testified that 76 was the worst he could have had. Keogh was steady turning two over then dropping a further three shots around the back nine. 2009 champion Steve Spooner showed that he has eyes for another title when he quietly went about his business for a 78. 2010 champion Peter Bywaters is also around about with a 79. The second round has been his best over the last couple of years so he could be the man to watch today. Mt Barker's John Reynolds scorched around the first nine getting to one under par but blotted his copybook around the back finally finishing with an 80 to still be only four shots behind. Good scores in the stableford sections came from Glen Thomas Traralgon who matches his wife's 41 points, Bob Landy Deniliquin 40 and David Hall Churchill Park, Neil Saunders Coomealla and Red cliffs chopper chase all on 39 points. The Red Cliffs golf club, it's members and green staff are to be commended on the warm hospitality and course set up. The general consensus was summed up by the Gold Coast's John Clift who said "I had never heard of red Cliffs until today but I loved the course and friendliness of everyone here. I will be back and will bring more friends with me". Yesterday a 4BBB stableford was played at Riverside Golf Club, round two of the tournament is at Riverside today, tomorrow there will be an ambrose at Coomealla where round three will be played on Friday.
Choi Takes Players in a Playoff
K J Choi was the man of the moment on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass in Jacksonville Florida when he won the Players Championship in a playoff with David Toms. Choi has got the coldest eyes in golf and a steely self discipline that he takes to the golf course each week. Several years ago he employed Australia's Steven Bann as his coach with the main objective to gain more distance so he could be more competitive in the four majors. Bann had declared last week that he was ready to win as had his caddy Andy Prodger. Prodger was on Nick Faldo's bag when he won the British Open at Muirfield and the US Masters in 1989. Prodger has now been on the bag for 41 wins worldwide and caddied for Colin Montgomery before he moved over to Choi, two more different pro's you would never find. The Players Championship was headlines from day one with world number one Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy opting not to play, then Tiger Woods withdrew after nine holes. To cap it all off one of America's favourite players David Toms three putts to loose a playoff.
Sunraysia Golf Tours - Round of the Week
This weeks Sunraysia Golf Tours - Round of the Week came down to a play off. Coming in third were Steve Pongrac at Mildura and Riverside's wily old soldier Kevin Welsh who both had 43 points. At Coomealla on Sunday Jeff Kelm had 44 points to tie with Merbein's Phil Matotek who blitzed the monthly medal field at Merbein with a nett 64. On the basis of a Sunday stableford versus a stroke monthly medal Matotek must get the nod. Phil can pick up his prize of four Sunraysia golf clubs placemats from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura by Friday.
Contact me with any golfing stories, information or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
11/5/11
Coomealla ON TOP IN NWWG PENNANT
Coomealla Golf Club head the ladders on both Sunday and Monday of North West Womens Golf ladies pennant. In Sunday pennant Coomealla is in top spot on 9 points each from Riverside Gold on 7 points then Riverside Green and Red Cliffs on 6 points. Any one of these four teams could still win the pennant. Coomealla's Nycole Riordan and Linda Jakuban both had strong wins against Riverside Gold who had only Linda Dickson flying the green and gold flag. In the second match Riverside Green were too strong for Mildura with Marg Lampard, Heather Klemm and Sandy Briggs on top for Riverside Green and Heather Thomas and Maree Irvin standing firm for Mildura. In Monday pennant Coomealla and Red Cliffs head the table on 14 points from Wentworth on 9 points with three rounds to go. Red Cliffs toppled Riverside Green at home with good wins from Sally Jones, Sheryl Blagus and Sandra Marwood whilst for Riverside Janet Luke and Verna Wakefield kept their ends up. In the other two contests Coomealla had an easy win over Wentworth and Riverside Gold had no trouble accounting for Ouyen.
LAIRD TOO GOOD AT RED CLIFFS
Coomealla's Sue Laird was a class above everyone else at Red Cliffs last week in the 2011 Red Cliffs Ladies 27 hole Open. Scores of 77-40 is good shooting on the long Red Cliffs course. On top of her win Sue celebrated her first ever hole in one on the difficult par 3 17th. Mildura's Mabel Crouch was runner up with 89-44. Unfortunately very few of the ladies Country Teams squad ventured out to Red Cliffs to put any pressure on Laird who is racking up lots of Open wins since her debut year of 2005. Many ladies are now employed mid week which makes it difficult to attend the mid week Opens. Perhaps it is time for the NWWG to start thinking a little bit outside the square and put a few ladies Opens on a Sunday to see if that makes a difference.
LEVER BLAIR SEELEY
The time honoured Lever Blair Seeley 4BBB championship will be played at Riverside on Saturday. It is doubtful that anyone who has played with distinction in Sunraysia hasn't featured on one of these cups. In the 50's, 60's,70's and early 80's the scratch section of the tournament was much sought after and you really needed to play well to have your names etched on the silver ware. Two more pairs will add their names to the stars of yesteryear on Saturday. Entries so far have been very good and an excellent field looks assured. Morning and afternoon play is available, give Jack Thomas a call on 50 231560 to book in.
TRI-STATE MASTERS
The 19th annual Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters hits off next Monday and we are receiving lots of excited phone calls from people all over Australia with only four sleeps to go. Forty six new faces will play in the Tri-State Masters this year with six first time clubs represented including Gold Coast Country Club, Forster/Tuncurry, The Sands Torquay, Tocumwal, Medway, Centenary Park and Robinvale golf clubs. Players from Mahunga in Masterton New Zealand, Melville Glades in Perth, Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley, Royal Melbourne, Grange in Adelaide and a big contingent this year from Traralgon and Drouin will congregate at Red Cliffs, Riverside and Coomealla.SEVE - GOLFING GENIUS
Seve Ballesteros passed away on Saturday from brain cancer at only 54 years of age but left behind a legacy that will live on for many years to come. Seve, along with Lee Trevino and to a lesser extent Ben Hogan have been my golfing hero's for more than twenty five years. Seve first grabbed my attention on the television doing a show called Pro Celebrity Golf with Lee Trevino and commentator Peter Alliss at the Gleneagles Resort in Scotland in the 70's and 80's. Each week Ballesteros and Trevino would partner guests such as Sean Connery and Ronnie Corbett and mainly English movie stars and comedians. Whilst the combatants took the matches seriously there was always a bit of fun involved from all, except one, Seve. Seve was intense and took it very seriously and wanted to win every match. Trevino was more relaxed and understood the entertainment aspect of the matches that essentially were played as a television show. Trevino though, was also a fierce competitor. The producers couldn't have paired two golf professionals who were more different personality wise, if they had tried, but maybe they had. It was great television. When Corbett partnered Seve there an hilarious scene when, as he took the club away to hit the ball his weight went backwards with the club and he fell completely over. Everyone on the golf course roared with laughter, except one, Seve was not at all amused. I have read so many tributes to Seve since Saturday and the words genius, swashbuckling, brilliant, passionate and inspirational are mentioned most frequently. Seve was the heart and soul of the European Ryder Cup teams that plays against the US every two years. Before Seve came on the scene the US would flog Europe unmercifully. Seve changed all that. Europe have held a dominance in this event for more than twenty years, it probably is THE biggest golf event in the world these days and Seve played such a huge part in its growth and popularity. As a golfer Seve forged his reputation by really taking it up to the Yanks in American tournaments, winning two US Masters, three British Open's and an outstanding record in the Ryder Cup. He played golf with flair that has probably only be equalled by Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman. There has been no one with as much imagination or creativity in inventing ways of getting out of trouble than Seve. His philosophy was hit it, go find it, hit it again from where ever and do it in as few shots as possible. None of this boring, down the middle on the green for Seve. He used to hit it from temporary car parks and all sorts of places. People would follow him like the Pied Piper and more often than not he would pull off a miraculous recovery time after time and win again. Like a lot of people I am a sucker for the underdog but when Seve was in full flight on a golf course it was well nigh impossible to notice anyone else. Ironically Seve passed away during the Spanish Open with several of his countrymen and great friends including Jose Maria Olazabel and Miguel Angel Jimenez playing in the tournament.
THE FIFTH MAJOR - OR IS IT?
The Tournament Players championship at TPC Sawgrass in Jacksonville Florida is regarded by the Americans as the fifth major behind the US Masters, US Open, British Open and the US PGA. Trouble is, they are the only ones who think of it as such. Sure, it is well regarded as in the next group of maybe five tournaments but fifth major is a bit of a stretch. The US has only produced one winner (Phil Mickelson 2007) in the last six years so they are cock a hoop on winning it with one of their own this year. The par 3 17th is the most photographed hole in the world and being completely surrounded by water it gets everyone's attention, particularly the players. Last year Robert Allenby finished second but Adam Scott is the last Aussie to win here in 2004 and I wouldn't be surprised if he does it again this week. Go Scotty!
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Winter conditions must be affecting the scores on district courses or perhaps normality is resurfacing after some extremely high scores in recent months. Five players played seven shots better than their handicaps this week including Riverside's Les Ball, Kevin Welsh, George Riordan, Ryan Tulloch and Mildura's Brian Murnane. Out at Coomealla Greg Butcher cleaned up in the daily competition, lots of golf bets and his usual skiting with the aplomb of a reasonably good golfer when he scored his best ever round at Coomealla of 45 points. Hopefully he hasn't peaked a week early! Butch wins the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week and must collect his prize of four laminated placemats of Sunraysia golf courses by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue Mildura.
Contact me with your golfing information, stories or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.
 
4/5/11
JOURNEY CONTINUES FOR RHODES
The 2011 Merbein Open played at the Mildura Golf Club Resort was another resounding success for both clubs. Greg Rhodes won last year and was eager to go back to back as he has done in so many tournaments before. To accomplish that he needed to improve significantly on his previous rounds of 75-73 in the Mildura Open two weeks prior. The first round began well for the champion when he returned a three under par 69 to go to bed one shot clear of Cameron Stewart and two in front of Tim Walker. Riverside Open champion Justin McPhee was next on 73 and Mildura junior Shay Toma on 75. The seeded group went off on Sunday with all four players feeling confident of a win. For Rhodes it would become another step in a journey that began almost thirty years ago. For Tim Walker it was a chance to go back to back after winning at Mildura two weeks ago. Justin McPhee was also aiming at back to back wins as he hadn't played since his win at Riverside. For Cameron Stewart it was another opportunity to climb the mountain and win after being so consistent and in contention yet again. In the first nine holes the equilibrium remained with Rhodes still in front but only barely. The back nine holes in any tournament is when it all happens, this is when Rhodes asserted his authority. On the difficult par four sixteenth Rhodes was disappointed when he left his second shot way short of the pin. This disappointment quickly dissolved after he drained a 25 footer for birdie. The others all made bogey meaning a two shot swing left the champ in front comfortably. Rhodes is not renowned for his putting but, his lag putting is first class, like many golfers though, it often deteriorates the closer he gets to the pin. On the long par 5 seventeenth Rhodes, who is double and in Tim Walkers case triple, the age of his playing partners knocked his tee shot 20 metres plus past all three off the tee. Any chance of a turnaround was snuffed out right there. In the end Rhodes recorded another fine 69 to finish six under par for 36 holes of championship golf. That score would be hard to beat in any amateur golf tournament. Runner up was Tim Walker who stood up well under his own and others expectations, until the last four holes when he dropped four shots to finish with 74. Cameron Stewart was third after a disappointing 76. Look out for him at Red Cliffs where he has won before. In fourth spot was promising junior Shay Toma who had 75-72 to record the second best round of the day on Sunday. Toma has obvious ability and if he can focus and work hard on his golf he will become a very good golfer. The Red Cliffs Open is the next major Open on the district agenda on May 21-22. The Red Cliffs Golf Club are very excited with the condition of the golf course and will host the first round of the Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters on Monday May 16. The club is hoping that with the vast improvement of the course over the last twelve months that the Golf Week committee will see fit to include Red Cliff on the Golf Week programme.
TOP 10 Greg Rhodes 138,
Tim Walker 145,
Cameron Stewart 146,
Shay Toma 147,
Justin McPhee 149, Ashley Whitehouse 149,
Tim Peterson 153,
John Keogh 156,
Tyler Verbeek 158, Robert Veit,
David Filippi 160.
TOP 10 Handicap - Shay Toma 137,
Andrew Hill, Ian Syme, Greg Rhodes 138,
Greg McCubbin 141,
David Filippi, Frank Crouch, Barry Pilgrim 142,
Josef Moisidis, Steve Crawford 143
NORTH WEST WOMEN'S GOLF PENNANT
Pennant hit off at Wentworth on Sunday and Monday and contrary to some reports, the golf course was in very good nick, give or take a few bare patches on some of the greens. Ladies pennant is suffering at the moment from a lack of interest from many lady golfers. The cause is a lack of new younger ladies playing golf, the new ones that have taken up the game are unable to commit to pennant due to employment and or family duties. Subsequently it falls back on many ladies who have played pennant for years and are just over it. Mildura Golf Club Resort has one of the bigger ladies membership and they cannot raise five ladies for Monday pennant, which is most disappointing. Let's face it though, you can't force people to play if they don't want to. Riverside on the other hand have two teams in for Sunday pennant and two more for Monday pennant. Another issue is that rather than play off straight handicaps, this year the ladies play off 7/8's of their handicap. Sixty per cent of the ladies giving shots actually won their matches, so it really wasn't a huge issue as some of the ladies who aren't playing had insisted. For the record Riverside and Red Cliffs won on Sunday and on Monday Wentworth, Coomealla and Red Cliffs came out in front. Coomealla's Nycole Riordan had a brief interruption in her match against Red Cliffs Marion Pengelly when she had to shoo a rabbit away from her ball so she could play a shot. No truth in the rumour that Marion came over and asked Nycole "What's up doc". Some of the new players having a go include Wentworth's Lee Bottomly who is really going ahead in leaps and bounds with her golf. Riverside's diminutive Fiona Turlan and Tracey Hywood who has played really well at both Coomealla and Riverside since arriving in the district last year. Tracey Wright is another newcomer doing well at Red Cliffs and is a real bandit on 39! Linda Jakubans at Coomealla who is improving her golf on a weekly basis. Next Sunday/Monday pennant will be at Red Cliffs with Riverside the venue the following week.
BUBBA, WESTWOOD SHINE IN WORLD GOLF
Lee Westwood came from the clouds to win the Ballantine's Championship in Korea on the European Tour and reclaim his world number one ranking after losing it for a few weeks to Germany's Martin Kaymer. Westwood began the last round three shots behind Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez after the third round had to be completed on Sunday morning due to a weather delay. Westwood's 67 was good enough to secure victory and he will now be eyeing off the Players Championship in the US and the US and British Open's. It is quite unusual to have a player number one in the world without ever having won one of the four major championships. Australia's Brett Rumford led by three shots after a second round 63 but fell back to eventually finish 7th. Back home in New Orleans it was Bubba Watson who won the Zurich Classic in a playoff with Webb Simpson. Simpson actually called a penalty on himself on the 72nd green when his ball move a half an inch after he had grounded his putter. No one else saw it move but he did and called the penalty. He subsequently went into a play off with Bubba and lost at the second extra hole to Bubba's birdie. Bubba Watson is an absolute beauty, a bit like Sam Snead when he first broke onto the US PGA Tour as if he'd just come straight down from the mountain. After the third round Bubba was interviewed and when the interviewer asked him what he had to do to win the following day he made a classic reply. Bubba said " I just have to go out and play better than the other guys. If someone plays better than me then they win. I just have to concentrate on what I am doing and play Bubba golf". Bubba did and Bubba won. This week the European tour moves to Spain and in the US to Alabama.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week could easily have gone to Greg Rhodes but there were some equally impressive handicap scores at four clubs last week. At Coomealla Alan Jenkinson and Dawn Jackson both had 43 points as did Graham Lohmeyer at Red Cliffs and Ian Syme at Mildura. John Wass made it interesting with 44 points at Riverside then Ralf Wagner looked a shoe in at Coomealla with 45 points until Robert Taylor went one better at Mildura. Bev Orford then put everyone else in the shade when she came in 11 better than her handicap with 47 points! Bev can pick up her prize of four Sunraysia Golf Club placemat prints from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario avenue by this Friday.
Contact me with any golfing information, stories or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
27/4/11
CAMERON STEWART ALL SET FOR MERBEIN OPEN
Cameron Stewart has been the most consistent player in district golf so far this year. Runner up finishes at Coomealla, Riverside and Mildura and an aggregate of three under par for 108 holes of Open tournament golf is a superb record. Two weeks ago his putter was the hottest club in local golf when he took only 23 putts in an opening round of 67 in the Mildura Open. He will need to have his putter in full control if he is to go one better on his home course this weekend when the Mildura Golf Club Resort will host the Merbein Open. It is a unique collaboration where the two clubs are helping each other for the third year in a row - Mildura with their golf course, administration and facilities and Merbein with the increased fields. Greg Rhodes won this tournament last year but his form over the last few weeks has been a bit scratchy. Tim Walker is the in form golfer with a 66 against his name for his last game. If, as they say, you are only as good as your last game then he is the man to beat? It is a far cry to come from behind than it is to be "the" man to beat. It will be interesting to see how the 17 year old carries that mantle. Rhodes has carried that burden with aplomb for nearly thirty years. Justin McPhee is back from two weeks holiday and will be keen to carry on from his last tournament win in the Riverside Open earlier this month. Chris Thomas is another up and comer who will be looking for another podium finish. 2010 runner up Ashley Whitehouse is a non starter due to work commitments. Entries to Mildura Golf Club Resort are still being taken but get in quickly or you will miss out.
NORTH WEST WOMEN'S GOLF PENNANT
The 2011 North West Women's pennant season hits off at Wentworth on Sunday and Monday. Sunday pennant has been popular with the ladies since it began several years ago, particularly for the ladies who can't play Monday pennant due to employment commitments. This year five teams will contest Sunday pennant and six teams will battle it out on Mondays. There will be just the one division with all contests being on a handicap basis. Its is disappointing that ladies pennant has dropped away with so few younger women taking up golf. Of the ones who have, most are employed and cannot play on a Monday. This year there will be no finals with the top team after the home and away fixture declared the pennant winners. Any lady looking to play pennant should contact their club or NWWG secretary Nycole Riordan on 50 210771.
MARCUS FRASER TO DEFEND IN KOREA
Australian Marcus Fraser will defend his Ballentine's Championship title in Korea this weekend. Last year the boy from Corowa led from start to finish but it will be a harder task this year with top quality golfers including World number one Lee Westwood, American Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez in the field.
ZURICH CLASSIC IN NEW ORLEANS
Twelve Australians will tee it up in the Zurich Classic in New Orleans this week. England's Luke Donald will start favourite after leading then losing a play off on Sunday to Brandt Snedeker in the Heritage tournament at Harbour Town in South Carolina. Nick Watney and Bubba Watson loom as as Donald's biggest threats as he endeavours to claim the world number one ranking he would have assumed if he had won the playoff.
WORLD GOLF RANKINGS
1 Lee Westwood England
2 Martin Kaymer Germany
3 Luke Donald England
4 Phil Mickelson United States
5 Graeme McDowell Northern Ireland
6 Tiger Woods United States
7 Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland
8 Paul Casey England
9 Steve Stricker United States
10 Matt Kuchar United States
LADIES WORLD GOLF RANKINGS
1 Yani Tseng Taipea
2 Jiyai Shin Korea
3 Christie Kerr United States
4 Na Yeon Choi Korea
5 Suzann Pettersen Norway
6 Ai Miyazato Japan
7 I K Kim Korea
8 Karrie Webb Australia
9 Michelle Wie United States
10 Paula Creamer United States
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Coomealla and Merbein was the courses to be for low scores last week with great scores on the five competition days over Easter. At Red Cliffs Dave Abbott continued his good form with 44 points. At Riverside Aldo D'Amico had 44 points but Les Ball and club manager Jack Thomas both trumped everyone else with 45 points each. At Coomealla Ralph Wagner had two great scores of 43 and 45 points and Jan Hiscock recorded a nett 65. Linda Jakubans work with her swing coach Garth Doherty is really paying off as she had a massive 47 points which would usually win the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week. Out at Merbein Adrian Rudd had a nett 62 which was great golf but not as good as Colin Moore who had an amazing 59nett. Colin can collect his prize of four laminated placemats of Sunraysia's golf course from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by this Friday.
Contact me with your golf information, stories or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
21/4/11
WALKER AND STEWART LEAD AVERAGES
After three Sunraysia Open tournaments in 2011 Tim Walker and Cameron Stewart lead the averages. Stewart has been runner up in the first three events and surely must break through soon. The next Open tournament will be the Merbein Open to be played at the Mildura Golf Club Resort on April 30 - May 1.
1 Tim Walker Mildura + Cameron Stewart Mildura 71.5
3 Greg Rhodes Coomealla 72.16
4 Ashley Whitehouse Mildura 73
5 Justin McPhee Red Cliffs 73.75
6 Tim Peterson Coomealla 76
7 Andrew Stewart Mildura 76.83
8 Chris Thomas Riverside 78.25
9 Robert Veit Riverside 78.83
10 Tyler Verbeek Mildura 79.25
 
20/4/11
TIM WALKS IN AT THE MILDURA OPEN
Red Cliffs junior Tim Walker went into the Sunraysia golf record books on Sunday when he won the Mildura Golf Club Resort Open Tournament with a closing round 66! This is the lowest ever round recorded on the second day of a local club Open. Last year Ashley Whitehouse won the tournament after finishing with 67 on the second day. Before the tournament began Whitehouse and Greg Rhodes were favoured to win as both have excelled on the Mildura course over the past 25 years, Walker and Cameron Stewart were on the next line of the betting. It was Stewart though, who came out racing. Four under par in the first nine holes including one putting the first six was sensational golf. The second nine was not as productive but a one under 35 including a three putt bogey on 18, equalled Whitehouse's 67 last year. Whitehouse wasn't taking it lying down as he came in with 35-35 to be only three off the pace. Walker racked up two double bogey's in his opening 73 to be six back with Riverside's Chris Thomas. Tim Peterson was on 74 and Greg Rhodes was eight behind on 75. The talk on Saturday night and Sunday morning was whether Stewart could hold off Whitehouse playing head to head in the seeded group. Walker and Thomas were thought to be too far back. The seeded group hit off with all four players aiming at the same result but all with possibly different mindsets. Stewart was no doubt hoping that he could hold off the following pack as he has led several times, only to be overtaken by the finish line. Whitehouse would have been feeling confident that he could peg back Stewart who no doubt would have had a sleepless night. Walker would have been thinking that this was an opportunity to step up after some good performances in the last month. Thomas was relishing being in the seeded group ahead of top performers in Rhodes, Peterson and Andy Stewart. Walker was the first to take up the imitative turning two under par with Whitehouse one under and Stewart one over and Thomas two over par. This left Stewart still three shots clear of both Walker and Whitehouse with nine holes left. Walker really took over on the next six holes, carding four birdies and draining a 15 foot snake for par on the 17th to lead Stewart by two shots. The suspense went right through to the par 3 18th hole when Walker left his tee short of the green. Stewart then drilled his iron shot to 15 feet from the hole pin high. Walker looked nervous as he thinned his approach shot 12 feet past the hole, then waited with baited breath as Stewart putted for birdie. As the ball slid by the hole the look on both players faces told the story of the day. Tim Walker is the new "hot" player in Sunraysia golf. Cameron Stewart is a terrific golfer and a man that everyone wants to win a really big one, but it wasn't to be on Sunday. In the final analysis, as it always does in golf at this level, it came down to putting. On Saturday Stewart had just 23 putts but on Sunday he took seven more. Walker on the other hand had 29 putts on Saturday but only 26 on Sunday. Of the other contenders, Chris Thomas is an up and comer who will improve from Sunday's experience in the "big time" local golf. Ashley Whitehouse has always been the man most likely, he was in the box seat on Sunday but couldn't go with the new young colt who just bolted away. Tim Peterson 74-78 is still coming to terms with tournament golf after a year off playing football. Greg Rhodes 75-73 was out of sorts at the weekend and never a factor, which is really rare, for him. Every player will now be aware that this poor performance will make him all the more determined in the Merbein Open to be played at the Mildura Golf Club Resort on April 30 - May 1. Get you entry in soon as 163 players plus ladies teed it up on Saturday including 78 players from visiting golf clubs.
THE BOYS DOWN AT THE RANGE
The Sunraysia Golf Range opened it's door in November 2006 giving local and visiting golfers an excellent practice facility. Additionally it gave some of Sunraysia's most promising juniors an opportunity to earn some money as "ball boys" who go out and pick up the balls each night from the golf range. Up to 3000 balls can be hit in any one day! A ball picker on the front of a gator is used but on wet days the balls have to be retrieved manually with a hand picker. It's not easy work but the rewards far outweigh the physical labour. Garth Doherty provides all of the "ball boys' with free tuition, free use of the facilities and supports them most generously with their golf equipment purchases. Yesterday Garth spoke of the boys who have worked at the Sunraysia Golf Range "We have had some terrific you men working with us since we opened. I knew what the job entailed having worked as a ball boy at the original golf range in 11th street nearly 20 years ago. Not only does it give the lads some spending money but it also assists their development in many ways including their work ethic and attention to detail". Current "King" of the ball boys Tim Walker won at Mildura on Sunday using a new Callaway driver that he had only purchased the week before. Others to do well at the weekend were the laconic Luke Stanbrook and long Tom Holmes who both tied for second behind Tim in the Junior Championship of the tournament. Tyler Verbeek, was one shot further back but can do much better. In the past Jake Laubsch who was 2009 Coomealla Golf Club Champion and 2010 Sunraysia District Champion, Chris McGinty who was the youngest ever club champion at Merbein golf club, Regan Cavallaro and Ryan Haynes who were also promising golfers have also worked "down at the range". Naturally the talk from the kids is always about golf, much of it like the one that got away fishing stories. But on Sunday at the Mildura golf Club Resort, another Tin Cup (Sunraysia version) story may just have begun.
KEVIN NA - 16 OF THE WORST
The Texas open was played at the weekend and it is fair to say that Kevin Na who didn't make the 36 hole cut, made more headlines than first time winner Brendan Steele.Na who is regarded as quite an accomplished player on the US PGA Tour, racked up a 16 on the par four ninth hole In San Antonio. Na was only a few shots off the lead but took an unplayable drop after he found his tee shot, then hit a tree which ricocheted into him causing a two shot penalty then took five more shots just to get out of the trees onto the fairway. This was all happening on live television as he was the designated player of the day to be "miked up" for the TV coverage. To his credit he still finished with an eight over 80 which included several birdies on the back nine. For the record though, John Daly has the most shots by a top player cover with 18 on a Bay Hill's 6th hole par 5 at Arnold Palmer's tournament in 1998! Three other players including Arnie, Tom Weiskoph and Tommy Nakajima have recorded 13's. Makes you feel a bit better doesn't it, or does it? This week on the US PGA Tour the Heritage tournament will be played at Hilton Head South Carolina where twelve Aussies will tee it up.
MATTEO MANASSERO ON TOP IN MALAYSIA
The young Italian stallion Matteo Manassero won his second tournament on the European Tour on Sunday when he won the Malaysia Open. Manassero who turned 18 yesterday knocked off a quality field that included world number one Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartel, Louis Oosthuizen and Rory McIlroy. Manassero together with McIlroy, Jason Day Ryo Ishikawa and Ricki Fowler are becoming the new face of world golf with many of the older legend type players dropping back. This week the Volvo China Open hits off with Padraig Harrington more than overdue to win again.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
There were some great scores returned in the Mildura Golf Club Resort Open at the weekend but none good enough to qualify for the Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the week. At Riverside Al Terrell, Keith Dickson and Jon Slatter all had 44 points. Good golf in anyone's language. At Red Cliffs, Melbourne visitor David Payne had 45 points to come in second on a countback to Riverside's Linda Dickson who also had 45. Linda can pick up her set of laminated Sunraysia golf course placemats from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave by Friday.
Contact me with you golfing information, stories or opinions on email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
13/4/11
2011 MILDURA GOLF CLUB RESORT TOURNAMENT - WIDE OPEN
The 2011 Mildura Golf Club Resort Open is a wide open affair this year. At least ten players are in with a realistic chance of taking out the title on Sunday. Justin McPhee has been in sparkling form, most recently winning the Riverside Open. McPhee finished like a train to topple Cameron Stewart at Riverside and is in red hot form. Greg Rhodes is always the man to beat and though he faltered slightly at Riverside, last weekend he won the Renmark Open with 74-71. Ashley Whitehouse missed the Riverside event but will be very keen to show the form that saw him win here in 2008 and 2010 when he had 74-69. Whitehouse seems to leave his best for his home course. Former Millewa footballer Tim Peterson is a past winner at Mildura in 2005 and 2009, after not playing last year he is sure to be ready for a strong assault on a third title. Throw in the Stewart brothers Cameron and Andrew and the districts top two juniors Tim Walker and Ryan Laird and a ding dong battle it should be. A score of two under par will be around the mark depending on the weather conditions. The Mildura Golf Club Resort has been the most popular local Open tournament over the last few years, so enter today or you will miss out.
US MASTERS - SIMPLY THE BEST
The US Masters is without doubt the best golf tournament of the year. South African Charl Schwartzel well and truly deserved his victory even though more than two million Australians were probably trying to wish him out of it on the last four holes. Jason Day, Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy were terrific but Schwartzel was better on the day and won the event. It is so much different to lose when you have played really well and got pipped than to do what Greg Norman became renowned for at Augusta as also happened on Sunday to Rory McIlroy. The 21 year old Irishman imploded on the 11th hole and couldn't recover. Golf is a severe test, it was sad to see but at 21 and with so much talent he will get many more chances. The US Masters is the only Major tournament of the four that is played at the same course every year so it is easier to plan your strategy. Of course, you must have a good plan, follow that up with the right preparation, then put the plan into action with exact execution during the tournament. The key to Augusta is course knowledge so Schwartzel and his best friend and fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen (2010 British Open champion) rented a house for a month in Georgia and practiced at Augusta almost daily. In particular they rehearsed the shots into the green and the putts to the pins that are basically in the same positions every year. Come day one and Scwartzel felt confident that he could emulate fellow countryman Trevor Immelman who won in 2009 and be in contention by the back nine on Sunday. Maybe the best ever performance in the Masters was by a 46 year old Jack Nicklaus in 1986 when he shot a closing 65 coming in four under par on the last four holes. Schwartzel also birdied all four closing holes for a closing 66 and further emphasised the strength of South African golf. Charl Schwartzel learnt all of his golfing habits as a junior growing up from his professional father George, who still to this day emphasises the basics. The five fundamentals he taught his son and contended that any swing fault will come from one of these areas include - right grip, right stance, good rhythm, good posture and good balance. Having watched the last round three times, it really stood out how well balanced Schwartzel was and how his posture and rhythm remained constant. On the other hand many other players including Tiger Woods looked to be trying to force shots and lost control. Woods though, played brilliantly on the front nine for a 31 but as the back nine went on, he dropped out of contention, consistent with his form since 2009 but completely the opposite to the younger Tiger. This weeks event on the US PGA Tour is the Texas Open where Adam Scott is the defending champion.
The next Major will be the US Open at Congressional Golf Club in June where Ernie Els last won in 1997.
PRESIDENTS CUP
Greg Norman's International Team is looking good seven months out from our contest with the US Team in November at Royal Melbourne. A catastrophe has been averted in the last week with the South African Open which was to be held on the same week as the Presidents Cup now rescheduled to the following week. The main strength of the team comes from South Africa where Ernie Els, Charl Schwarzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Reteif Goosen and Tim Clark are certainties to be in the team with another South African in with a strong chance of selection being Rory Sabbatini. All seven players were considering playing in their National Open and giving the Presidents Cup a miss. Australians who look assured of a place in the team are Robert Allenby, Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy. Aaron Baddeley and Stuart Appleby are also in the mix with Y E Yang, K J Choi, VJ Singh, Ryo Ishikawa and Carmillo Villegas. Each team has twelve players. The only victory the Internationals have enjoyed was at Royal Melbourne in 1998.
BARNBOUGLE DUNES A PLACE TO GOLF
Last Friday Kym and I returned home from our latest golfing adventure in Tasmania. Before the Tassie golf tour I had heard so much about Barnbougle Dunes where we stayed and played at the end of our tour. It was built loosely on the design of Royal County Down in Ireland. Having played Royal county Down and falling in love with that golf course, from afar I couldn't believe that a course in Australia could be any where near as good, so I couldn't wait to get to Barnbougle Dunes. Well, what a revelation it was. From the first hole the beauty of the course and surroundings takes your breath away. We played the course and it's neighbour Lost Farm in very calm conditions, which was a blessing to everyone on our tour but what a test they would be in the wind! Caddies are a forgotten part of golf in Australia apart from professional golf but hire one if you really want to have a chance of playing well at Barnbougle Dunes. My caddie at Lost Farm was Stan Smythe who has caddied more than 700 rounds at Barnbougle and Lost Farm. Stan and his wife ran an accommodation house in Bridport but once he had seen Barnbougle Dunes he promptly retired and turned up at the club asking if there was anything he could do. Hence he became Barnbougle Dunes first caddie in 2007. After we met and talked for a while he told me about his workplace and that "nothing can compare with the sight as you walk from the 4th green up onto the dune to the 5th tee. There 150 metres away is a school of dolphins on a flat calm ocean, or the sight of a large harvest moon in the early evening as it floods across the dunes and fairways This is my office where I come to work every day. It is my heaven on earth" he said. Stan had many golfing stories having caddied for many colourful people from all walks of life including Malcolm Fraser, Alan Border, Paul McNamee and a host of other top sportsmen, television and movie stars, his son lives in Melbourne and is married to Wayne Carey's sister. More than 25,000 golfers played at Barnbougle last year with ten per cent of them flying directly onto the club's airstrip from Moorabbin airport. Now that Lost Farm is open for business that number will at least double within two years. When the US Golf Channel turned up to do a feature on Barnbougle they were introduced to the clubs first ever caddie Stan Smythe who recited for them a piece that he had written about the links. This poem was replayed on American television and since then the club receives many requests from visiting Americans enquiring if they can meet and hire Barnbougles "caddie poet". This is Stan's poem.
As the sun sets slowly over the dune.
The company good and my swing is in tune.
All around me is beauty like I've never seen.
It's on every tee bed, every fairway and green.
There's lovely sea birds and wild life abound.
And the waves on the seashore make a mystical scene.
I must be in heaven, are they angels tunes?
No, it's just the wind through the marram grass.
At "Barnbougle Dunes".
Sunraysia Golf Tours hosted by Kym Doherty will be taking a ladies only tour to Barnbougle Dunes later in the year and I will be hosting a men's only trip also. Contact Kym 03 50246799 or Shane 0419208337if you are interested.
MILDURA PACING CUP GOLF DAY
Owners, trainer, drivers and trotting followers will congregate at Riverside Golf Club on Friday for the Annual Mildura Pacing Cup golf day. The event is an ambrose in 4's and provides an excellent opportunity to rub shoulders with the harness racing's golfing enthusiasts and relax before Saturday night's big meeting. Registration at Riverside Golf Club at 8-30am for a 9am start. Cost is @30 per player which includes a competitor gift pack, 18 holes, BBQ lunch and great trophies. Entries from singles ,two's or teams of four must be forwarded to Shane Doherty by Thursday on 0419208337 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week in the Sunraysia Golf Tours - Round of the Week there were plenty of good rounds to choose from with lots of six better than handicap scores that didn't get a look in. Those who bettered their handicaps by seven shots included Merbein's Terry Fitzpatrick, Mildura's "Barney" Hubble, Coomealla's Ross Huxtable and Riverside's Graham Sievewright. Riverside's Gavin Highdale with 64 nett in Saturday's Monthly Medal takes out the prize of four laminated placemats featuring Sunraysia's great golf courses. Gavin must call into Sunraysia Golf Range at 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with your golfing information, results, stories or opinion on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
good golfing to all.
 
6/4/11
McPHEE WINS RIVERSIDE OPEN
Red Cliffs golf clubs greatest ever golfer Justin McPhee won the 2011 Riverside Open on Sunday. On Saturday McPhee and Cameron Stewart both returned two under par 70?s to lead Greg Rhodes by two and Tim Walker by four. On Sunday they all turned up to do battle together with McPhee and Stewart both determined to win in the first place but also to try and beat Greg Rhodes head to Head. Rhodes has an amazing record in the Riverside Open and won their Summer Open in January. Stewart was second to Rhodes at Coomealla two weeks ago and has struggled to overcome the great man in many previous encounters. McPhee has really come of age in the last two years, granted he has been a top golfer for over a decade but on Sunday he really stamped his papers. Make no mistake, both players would have been expecting Rhodes to cut loose and go well under par. This didn?t happen and McPhee fired a 73 to Stewart?s 74 and Rhodes 73. Tim Walker put himself in with a chance for the second time this year and won a minor battle on Sunday shooting an even par 72 to beat the other three on the day. This was a small victory but in the overall scheme of things to come it was a significant turning point in his career as it proved he can match and beat these blokes head to head. The next step is to do it two days in a row. Tim Peterson was welcomed back in local golf after taking twelve months off to play football with Nangiloc in the Millewa last year. Peterson is a very gifted golfer and opened his 2011 account with a workman like 78-74 to come in fifth. Ashley Whitehouse was unable to play due to work commitments but will be really fired up for the next two Opens at his home club Mildura.
2011 SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS TRI-STATE MASTERS
Entries have been coming in from all over Australia for the 2011 19th Annual Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters. This year we have had a terrific follow on from 2010 from Traralgon members with a strong contingent coming from the other end of the State. Entries have also been received from New Zealand, Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales Hunter Valley and Tasmania. As usual the local entries will probably come in at the end of the month. Again this year all local golf club members who enter by April 30 will receive as a bonus a 12 month membership to the Sunraysia Golf Range valued at $99 which entitles golfers to hire buckets of golf balls at half price plus several other offers associated with the membership. The event is a stableford with seven (7) categories in each gender, including Scratch champion, over 50 scratch champion, A, B and C grades, Veteran (over 55) and Super Veteran (over 65)with the last five sections all stableford. A four person aggregate stableford teams event also provides a lot of fun for the respective ?teams?.
The entry fee of $195 includes a Competitor gift pack, an opening Cocktail Party at the Coomealla Club, three rounds at Red Cliffs, Riverside and Coomealla and a Presentation Dinner at the Coomealla Club. Entries are available at the Sunraysia Golf Range or phone 50 246799 for more details.
US MASTERS
The US Masters hits off on Friday morning promising to be even bigger than ever before. Phil Mickelson is defending champion and comes into the tournament in top form after winning in Houston on Sunday. Mickelson has won three Masters titles and needs one more to equal his greatest rival Tiger Woods who has won four. Mickelson?s win in Texas has taken him to one spot above Woods in the world rankings for the first time. For several years Mickelson was number two to Woods but couldn?t quite overtake him, until Sunday. Many players in the past have frozen when it came down to the last nine at Augusta including Greg Norman who could have won at least three Masters titles. Mickelson though, loves the Masters like no other tournament, just as Nicklaus, Palmer and Player and so many other champions before him. Come Sunday and he is either in the lead or near it he seems to find another gear. This year we have six Aussies trying to do what no other Australian has done before. Aaron Baddeley is our most in form player and on the surface appears to be our best chance, simply because he is our best putter. Other Aussies include Allenby, Appleby, Ogilvy, Scott and Jason Day.
TASMANIA GOLF TOUR
The 19th hole comes to you from Tasmania as Kym and I are hosting 17th golf tour and third to Tassie. The tour began at Mowbray golf club where Ricky Ponting?s dad plays every week and where Ricky has shot a 66 in competition. Mowbray is a lovely course, which I prefer over the three Launceston courses. Next stop was at Ulverstone which is a gem of a golf course and well worth a visit. From there we popped down to Strahan and did short boat voyage to Sarah?s Island and found out a little bit about the first convicts that were sent to Australia from England. After a heritage train trip we went straight down the middle of Tassie to Hobart stopping in at the Casquade Brewery for a visit and a wee tasting. Royal Hobart provided a lush green course to test our skills before we rested on Saturday and attended the Salamanca Market, which the ladies particularly enjoyed. Sunday was a great day, catarman cruise around Port Arthur followed by a tour of the famous settlement. Port Arthur?s nine hole picture perfect Tasman golf course proved a perfect setting for a three person three club ambrose. This was followed by an excellent repast and warm hospitality from the Tasman folk who have welcomed us back after previous visits in 1995 and 2003. On Monday we ventured to the Tasmania golf club where Red Cliffs ?Chopper Chase? excelled with 38 points which included three ?wipe-outs?. Today we are staying and playing at Australia?s number one public access course Barnbougle Dunes and tomorrow we will play its sister course Lost Farm which has only been open six months. On Friday we return home with some great memories of the Apple Isle.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS ? ROUND OF THE WEEK
There were some great scores last week which necessitated a countback ? of sorts with a three way tie for the Sunraysia Golf tours ? Round of the week. At Mildura Golf Club Resort Rodney Raeck equalled former champion Darren Foreman with 68 netts. At Coomealla the top scores came thick and fast including John Keogh?s 70 off the stick for a nett 65. Coomealla Memorial Club president Marge Sprague had 44 points equalling Kerrie Stewart and Andrew Leske. After following Andrew each week over the last few years and seeing some of the places he has been on the Coomealla golf course, he really must win this week?s prize of four laminated placemats of Sunraysia?s golf courses, which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with your golf stories, information or opinion on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.


 
30/3/11
RIVERSIDE OPEN
The 2011 Riverside Open will hit off this Saturday with lots of questions regarding the state of Sunraysia golf likely to be answered. Can anyone beat Greg Rhodes? Will Ashley Whitehouse produce the form that has seen him rated as the district number two golfer for the last twenty years? Will Tim Walker or Ryan Laird step up to the plate on the big stage after several years honing their skills for several years? Can Chris Thomas match it with the big boys on his home course? Riverside has been Rhodes happiest hunting ground over the last thirty years and his recent form in the Coomealla Open suggests no change on that front. Riverside presents lots of different challenges than most of our other local courses. The big hitters lose a little bit of their advantage as the course weaves around the river gums in dog legs and abrupt directional changes. Rhodes has always been able to think his way around a golf course better than anyone else, locally. He has an ability to choose the right shot, then be able to execute. Most players can do one or the other but only occasionally both at once. Riverside has had many ups and downs over the last fifty or so years, but recent times has seen the club overcome all sorts of adversity. Currently their green keeper Brendan Marr has been frustrated with the opposite problems to what he faced when he first took on the job. Too much water, who would ever have thought after the last ten years. Only very recently the condition of the golf course was being rated as ?best ever?. There is no doubt that if the rain stays away, that best ever tag will be touted once again.
SUNRAYSIA DISTRICT GOLF ASSOCIATION 2011 PENNANT
The first round of the SDGA pennant season is not due for another two months and some quick thinking needs to happen between now and then if division one pennant is to continue as the districts number one inter club competition. At present only Coomealla, Mildura and to a lesser extent, Broken Hill, look to be able to field competitive teams. Red Cliffs have indicated that with the probable retirement of club champion and district Country Week captain Justin McPhee that they will be unable to field a div one team. Riverside have not indicated their intentions yet but unless they are to produce some good players out of a hat, then they will struggle to match the top two. This is of course, if, Tim Walker and Tyler Verbeek go to Mildura or Coomealla. The one suggestion that I have heard that makes sense is that a junior elite team is included in division one pennant. This team would include Walker, Laird and Verbeek and the next group of up and coming juniors including Dom Vartulli, Shay Toma, Tom Holmes and several others.. Yes, they wouldn't be strong at four and five, but, neither would any of the other teams. Robinvale, Merbein and Wentworth refuse to submit div one teams on the basis of not enough top players, so the junior alternative could be the saviour of the top division. How about it SDGA?
LARS HOLDEN - FROM NZ TO MILDURA TO VIETNAM
Lars Holden is a name that many local people know. Lars won the 1993 Sunraysia Matchplay Championship at Mildura and the Coomealla club championship, then went on to become a professional after doing his time at Medway Golf Club under John Dickson. Lars came back to Mildura for 12 months several years ago to take over the club professional position at Coomealla Golf Club. From Mildura he went to Indonesia to work as a teaching professional. During this time he received an approach from a golf club in Vietnam, which he accepted and eventually took over the CEO position. Since then he married a local Hanoi girl and has two little girls aged 6 and 2. Lars is now the Titleist/Cobra/Puma agent for Vietnam and after taking on the agency 12 months ago he reports that business is booming. Lars has two brothers, Troy who lives in Mildura and Zarn who lives in Melbourne and we are all looking forward to catching up with him when he comes to Mildura for Christmas with his family.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK.The Sunraysia Golf Tours Round of the Week was a cut and dried affair this week. At Red Cliffs Dave Abbott had a day out with 44 points to come in second behind Rita Chase who had 45. It was Coomealla where the scores were off the planet with Dave Woolcock shooting 43 points and left handed David Guild racking up 48 points. Dave has been knocking on the door for some time now and obviously the golf gods decided to let him in. Dave wins a set of Sunraysia golf clubs laminated placemats, which must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range by Friday.Contact me with your golfing stories, information or opinion on golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au Good golfing to all.

 
23/3/11
COOMEALLA'S GREG RHODES WINS AGAIN
Greg Rhodes won the Coomealla Open on Sunday with rounds of 69-71. Four under par would have won any local open golf tournament in Sunraysia in the last fifty two years. The 52 year old just keeps on doing it year after year. The two questions that always come up regarding Rhodes at this time of year are - will anyone beat him in an Open tournament this year and can he win all eight Opens in the one year? The latter is probably the only record he hasn't achieved in his stellar career. On Saturday he went around Coomealla in 69 to be a two shot leader over Adelaide driving range proprietor Damien Hosking who was at Coomealla on a golfing holiday with a few mates. The 42 year old hadn't held a handicap for ten years but at he urgings of his mates joined Coomealla and was allotted a six handicap, which he thought was four less than he should have got. A superb 71 on Saturday saw his handicap reduced to +1 for Sunday, alas though, he couldn't reproduce Saturday's form and returned an 80 playing in the seeded group. Cameron Stewart was equal second with 73-71 with Red Cliffs junior Tim Walker who was the junior champion on 72-72. On Sunday's form he will go close to winning an Open this year. Ashley Whitehouse blew his chances with a 76 on Saturday but improved with a 72 on Sunday. The other standout performance was from veteran hard nut Peter Keher who shot 78-75 to win the A grade handicap, senior (over 55) scratch and handicap championship.
Ryan Laird blew his tournament out the window with a 78 on Saturday but returned par on Sunday. It had been a big few weeks for the talented youngster as he had won the Mildura Junior Open the weekend before with 72-72, then played the first 36 holes of the Australian Amateur at Victoria and Woodlands Golf Clubs during the week where he shot 83-83. In the ladies event Anne Bowen was a surprise winner with 82-85. The next 36 hole Open tournament will be at Riverside on April 2-3 where Greg Rhodes has won more Opens than at any other local golf course.
COOMEALLA OPEN TOP 10
1. Greg Rhodes 140 2. Cameron Stewart, Tim Walker 144 4. Ash Whitehouse 148 5. Mark Hahn 149 6. Ryan Laird 150 7. Damien Hosking 151 8. Andrew Stewart 152 9. Justin McPhee, Peter Keher 153
COOMEALLA OPEN TOP 10 HANDICAP
1. Peter Keher (A) 137 2. Michael Billucaglia (C) 138 3. Derek Greenfield (A) 139 4. D Hosking (A) 139 5. Nick Cavallo (C) Alan Jenkinson (C) Gary Izaccs (B) Andrew Hill (A) M Hahn (A) Craig Hollingsworth (C) 142
KARRIE WEBB GOES BACK TO BACK
Australia's leading lady of golf Karrie Webb won for the second time in two weeks on the tough US LPGA circuit in the LPGA Founders Tournament on Sunday. Webb shot 71-67-66 to finish 12 under par and win by one stroke from Paula Creamer. This event was a first on the LPGA Tour and was held to recognise the 13 "original founders" of the LPGA Tour. The top 10 finishers donated their prize money to their chosen charities which totalled $500,000 with a further $500,000 going to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program. Webb donated her $200,000 prize money to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (ex-Superman). Webb first met Reeve in 1999 and together they formed a partnership to raise awareness on spinal cord research. This is particularly important to Karrie as her long time teacher and mentor Kelvin Haller who lives in Queensland is a quadriplegic who was restricted to a wheel chair after an accident 18 years ago. The previous week Webb won the rich HSBC Champions tournament in Singapore when she came from being three shots behind with nine holes to go. This victory was her 37th on the LPGA Tour and her 51st world wide. Is she Australia's best ever golfer?
ROLEX WORLD TOP 10
1. Y Tseng TPE 2. Jiyai Shin KOR 3. C Kerr USA 4. N C Choi KOR 5. S Pettersen NOR 6. A Miyazato JPN 7. I K Kim KOR 8. Karrie Webb AUS 9. P Creamer USA 10 I Park KOR
ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL
Tiger Woods will tee it up in this weeks Arnold Palmer Invitational at Palmers own course Bay Hill in Florida. Woods will be hoping for his seventh win in this tournament to try and get his mojo back after a lean period since 2008. Apart from Rod Pampling who won in 2006, Australians have never been a factor in this tournament but I have a feeling that this could be Robert Allenby's week. Phil Mickelson will be gearing up in his preparation for a strong defence of his 2010 Masters title on April 7-10 and Hunter Mahan looks a strong chance, as does Dustin Johnson. Last week rookie Gary Woodland won his first US Tour event in the Transitions Championship from another rookie in Webb Simpson.
JACQUELIN WINS IN SICILY
France's Raphael Jacquelin won the inaugural Sicilian Open on Monday after a weather delay on Sunday. Jacquelin weather a strong assault from runner up England's Anthony Wall to hold on and win by one stroke.This week the European Tour moves to Spain and the home region of Miquel Angel Jimenez who is the tournament host. Jimenez comes from the Andalucia region which is not far from the Costa del Sol where Jimenez played most of his early golf. The 47 year old is one of Europe's most popular players and was a member of the European Ryder Cup team that defeated the USA in Wales last September. Alvaro Quiros is the current Spanish Open champion and is the favourite for this weeks tournament.
WORLD TOP 10
1. M Kaymer GER 2. L Westwood 3. Luke Donald ENG 4. M McDowell IRE 5. T Woods USA 6. P Mickelson USA 7. P Casey ENG 8. R McIlroy IRE 9. M Kuchar USA 10. P Stricker USA
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE - HOUSE OF GOLF
The Sunraysia Golf Range/House of Golf Club is conducting it's annual members night tonight from 6pm - 8pm. Membership to this club is free and anyone is welcome to join in the fun.Tonight the 2011 Footy Tipping competition will be launched with free, entry to all club members who will tip off for $3,000 worth of prizes including weekly prizes and the top three at the end of the year. The House of Golf social golf club has gone from strength to strength since its inception last year with beginners through to scratch markers as members. Call in tonight and find out more at the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave.
SCOTLAND/IRELAND GOLF TOUR
Sunraysia Golf Tours will be taking our second golf tour to Scotland and Ireland from September 9-25. This is sure to be a wonderful golfing holiday with some of the worlds most renowned golf courses on the itinerary. Courses to be played include Gleneagles and the two courses at Troon in Scotland. In Ireland we will begin at Templepatrick then, Old Head, Druids Glen, Lahinch and Mt Juliet. A day at St Andrews will be be something special as will our banquet at Bunratty Castle. Other attractions include day trips to Edinburgh and Dublin where we will do city sights tours and a host of other inclusions that are sure to be memorable. Cost of the all inclusive tour is $7,495 per person twin share or $6,595 for non golfing partners. We only have six seats left so give us a call if you are interested on 03 50247699. You don't have to be a good golfer but you must be prepared to have a great time because always remember that "memories live longer than dreams".
SUNRAYSIA GOLF TOURS - ROUND OF THE WEEK
This is the 10th year of the 19th hole and we are awarding some great prizes each week for the Sunraysia Golf Tours - Round of the week. The prizes will vary depending on local companies who would like to sponsor local golf and get some exposure and awareness in this section at the same time.
This week we had a plethora of great scores beginning with Bluey Martin who won the Mildura Masters event with 43 points last Thursday. This was matched by Steven Fumberger also at Mildura, Steve Turlan at Riverside and Damien Hosking at Coomealla on Saturday. Terry Lavery had 44 points at Riverside on Sunday which equalled Fred Stevens at Merbein but couldn't compare with Peter Emmett's 46 points at Riverside. The standout round of the week though, came from Bryn Shaw at Wentworth who had an 86 net 60 at Wentworth on Saturday. Bryn wins a set of laminated placemats featuring the golf courses of Sunraysia from Sunraysia Golf Tours and must be collected from the Sunraysia Golf Range by this Friday.
Contact me with any golf information, stories or opinions on email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
16/3/11
LAIRD WINS MILDURA JUNIOR OPEN
Ryan Laird played some of his best ever tournament golf to easily win the 2011 Mildura Junior Open on Sunday. Parring the course two days in a row signals that this could be the year when Ryan steps up to the plate in Sunraysia golf. Runner up was Red Cliffs junior Tim Walker who was expecting to do much better than 73-75. Domenic Vartuli was the second best performer of the weekend shooting 73-76 in his best open performance so far. The field of 41 was a little bit disappointing but with so many of the districts top juniors still involved in cricket finals a team sport must come first. Coomealla will host the next major junior competition early next month.
COOMEALLA OPEN KICKS OFF THE SUNRAYSIA SEASON
The 2011 Coomealla Open kicks off the Sunraysia District Golf Association's Open season Saturday. Low scores are expected with the course playing shorter than usual. Offsetting that shortness is the lack off roll and secondary cut next to the fairway which makes hitting the fairways crucial to low scoring. Greg Rhodes is always the favourite in any scratch event at Coomealla but he hasn't been in top form lately, going out form +2 to +1. Rhodes will meet formidable opposition frm Cameron Stewart Justin McPhee and Ashley Whitehouse. Top juniors including Ryan Laird and Tim Walker will also be thereabouts. 2010 Sunraysia district champion and Coomealla 2009 club champion Jake laubsch who now lives in Adelaide is also returning this weekend to try and win his first local club open. Laubsch seems to have struggled in South Australia but a return to Coomealla where he has played so well in the past should give him confidence.
TRANSITIONS CHAMPIONSHIP
last week Nick Whatney came home first in the Cadillac championship at Doral. I hope you had a few sheckels on him at long odds, as was suggested in this column last week. This week at Tampa Bay 9 Aussies will tee it up with Geoff Ogilvy or Jason Day our best chances. My pick is Padraig Harrington who has been knocking on the door lately and is overdue for a win. Jim Furyk is the best of the rest and might be in the last group with Harrington come Sunday.
WOOD COULD IN SICILY
Englishman Chris Wood has been knocking on the door for several years on the European Tour and appeals as a good bet in the inaugural Sicilian Open. Wood makes a lot of birdies but offsets that with lots of bogeys, here's hoping he gets it right this week. An old favourite might just return to form in the shape of Mr Grumpy Colin Montgomerie, I know he always looks like he has just lost a pound and found a penny but I really enjoy watching him play.
JACK NICKLAUS - 1986 US MASTERS CHAMPION
Book of the week is One For The Ages by Tom Clavin who gives a stirring account of the most memorable victory of golf's greatest ever champion - Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus won the Masters at age 46 when everyone had totally written him off as a possible chance in a major. This was another major that Greg Norman finished second in but apart from the Aussies back home, nobody cared about who had come second. The Golden Bear had done it again.
 
9/3/11
MAN IN UNIFORM WINS COOMEALLA SHOOTOUT
Mildura policeman Mark McDonald won the fifth annual Coomealla Stableford Shootout on Sunday. In perfect conditions some of the golf shots on display were less than perfect but it was once again a terrific event. Six handicapper McDonald had his fair share of good fortune throughout the seven hour contest but was good enough to produce the right shots at the right time. The rules of the game sees a putt off at the conclusion of each hole if there are more than one player tied with the worst stableford score on that hole. The captain determines where they will putt from, then the furtherest from the hole after they putt, drops out. Some bizarre things tend to happen in these shootouts, but not surprisingly when you have 19 balls going in different directions, a wrong ball can be struck. Unfortuneately this happened on the second hole and have a guess who was the culprit? Next year I will use an iridescent pink marking pen! Dave Gardiner played like a German band around the front nine turning only one over par. In this game though, if you drop your guard just once it can be fatal. Such was the case on the 11th when he made double bogey and he was out. Graham Burrows was the the big surprise packet of the day. Playing off 18 he was quoted in "interstate markets" at 100-1 but played impecably until the 16th when he was knocked out of the competition after a three man putt off, in which he came third. Rumour has it that the "interstate" bookmaker was getting quite nervous by the 14th hole as he never thought Mr Burrows would last that long! The last two players on the par three 18th were two Carlton supporters who agreed on the tee to split the $622 club voucher but played out the hole for appearances anyway. Inaugural winner Steve Spooner played his worst hole for the day handing the title to McDonald who joins Spooner 2007 Shane Doherty 2008, and Peter Dooley 2009-10 as shootout winners. I can't wait till next year when the said "bookie" won't defintely won't be including anyone in the field at 100-1!
MILDURA JUNIOR OPEN
This weekend all eyes will turn to Mildura Golf Club for their Junior Open. A strong field of visiting juniors will contest the event with Sunraysia's best chances being Tim Walker, Ryan Laird and Tyler Verbeek. The Mildura course is in superb nick so scoring should be top class.
WHO WILL TAME THE BLUE MONSTER?
Ben Hogan is attributed as the man who initially nicknamed the Doral TPC golf course "the blue monster". Hogan tamed it in his day but had enormous respect for the layout which is a fantastic test of golfing skill. This Cadillac Doral Open has been won six times by Tiger Woods who is drawn with his great adversary Phil Mickelson and Ireland's Graeme McDowell. Woods is still undergoing swing changes but the good ol folk from the US of A keep pumping him up as the favourite in every tournament he tees it up in. The worlds best will assemble in Florida on Thursday for this event and the top dozen or so players in the world rankings have been drawn together in order. As such Germany's Martin Kaymer and Englishmen Lee Westwood and Luke Donald will step it out together. The other interesting group will be Ireland's Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey and Steve Stricker. There are six Aussies teeing it up including Peter Senior from the Champions (over 50) Tour and Marcus Fraser who usually plays the European Tour. I like either Nick Watney or Paul Casey this week but with so many good chances it is a bit of a raffle.
TOSHIBA CLASSIC
The Champions Tour moves to Newport Beach California this week where fabulous Freddy won last year. Fred Couples is just about America's favourite golfer with his laconic nature but he sure can hit a golf ball and still gets it out there with the best of them on the "flat belly" Tour, as Lee Trevino once called it. Actually, Lee Trevino is playing in this tournament, which is a rarity for him these days. What a character he is, without doubt one of the all time greats. Australia's Graham Marsh is also making an infrequent appearance this week but it is hard to see him finishing high on the leaders board. Tom Lehman will carry my hard earned in the Toshiba. There is no tournament this week in the Nationwide Tour, the next tournament will be the Peurto Rico Open in a fortnight at the Trump International golf club in Rio Grande. So far this year Matt Goggin is number two and his mate Alistair Presnell is number five on the Nationwide money list.
TITANIC THOMPSON
I have just finished ready a new book about the True Story of Titanic Thompson. I had read tit bits about Titanic Thompson's exploits in a number of golf books in life stories about golfers such as Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. Titanic Thompson was a notorius con man in he 20's through to the 50's. His "con's" included cards, dominoes and basically any game you could think of but it was his golfing stories that attracted my attention. Titanic was a scratch marker left hander but was nearly as good right handed. He would drive all over America seeking out his prey at the rich country clubs. Usually he would have an accomplice, mostly of which would be tournament players of the calibre and including the great Ben Hogan. He would seek out the richest members of the clubs and play them right handed for incredible sums of money. A 10,000 wager was not an uncommon starting point. Titanic would always win by one stroke and then say to his opponent " I recken you're such a bad golfer I could even beat you left handed". Another match would be set, either the same day or next. Naurally Titanic would win by one stroke again and then say something like " I reckon even my caddy could beat you". Up steps Ben Hogan who was unknown at this time or Ky Lafoon or Lee Elder and shoot the lights out. They would then move on to the next town to find more "suckers". Thompson never turned professional because the leading money winner on the tour was pocketing $6,000 to $7,000 a year at that time which Thompson made on one hole most times he played. During his story he either conned or teamed up with Al Capone, Harry Houdini, Minnestota Fats, Damon Runyon and of course Ben Hogan. It really is a fascinating read.
 
2/3/11
COOMEALLA STABLEFORD SHOOTOUT THIS SUNDAYCoomealla Golf Club will conduct its 5th annual Stableford Shootout on Sunday. The ladies will only be playing 9 holes with Tracey Hywood hitting her straps just at the right time after 44 points today at Coomealla. In the mens marathon event Steve Spooner has come back from a form wilderness to be one of the favourites. Others who should make it through for the majority of the eight hour shootout include Ron Hunt, Ross Robertson and David Gardiner. The concept is that 19 players hit off at 8am with one player dropping out on each hole. The first three holes usually take up to 90 minutes so concentration is an absolute must.
CAMERON STEWART FIRES 68 AT COOMEALLA
Cameron Stewart looks set for a bir year after shooting a 68 at Coomealla on Saturday. The score lowered his handicap to scratch which is a great achievement for any golfer. Cameron is yet to win a club championship but here's hoping 2011 will be his year following on from brother Andrews win in the Mildura championship last year.
KARRIE WEBB CONFIRMS "LEGEND STATUS"
There has long been an argument about who is Australia's greatest ever golfer. Some suggest Peter Thomson with his five British Open wins hands down. Others and perhaps the majority of people believe that Greg Norman is our best ever. The other nomination has been Karrie Webb who won again in Singapore on Sunday in the HSBS Champions tournament. Karrie played beatifully, particularly on the weekend when she came from behind. Karrie has not be as dominant in recent years but if she continues with last weeks form, then a return to the number one in the world for the ladies is certainly not beyond her.
DONALD BREAKS HIS DUCK
The Accenture World Matchplay Championship was fantastic again this year. Luke Donadl won with precision iron play and laser like putting. Condition were as cold as a mother in law's kiss with snow and hail falling before and during the tournament. Donald is not your outlandish over the top golf professional, like some of his compatriots tend to be. You could say he lets his clubs do the talking. It was somewhat of a surprise when Colin Montgomerie left him out of Europes Ryder Cup team last year but Sundays win more than makes up for that. Martin Kaymer was runner up and is fast becoming the second best German golf er ever behind Bernhardt Langer. Kaymer is quiet but effictive and has now risen to be the world number one. There were some outstanding performances in this event but the one that stood out was Migel Angel Jimenez. At 47 the Spainard played blokes half his age and really more than held his own, most entertaing to watch. Our guys couldn't cut the mustard this year, with the exception of Jason Day who really looks to be blossoming into a top 10 player. It was only three years ago that I did a story on him attaining a +5 handicap in his mid teens.
GOGGIN WINS IN PANAMA ON THE NATIONWIDE TOUR
Matthew goggin had a somewhat fall from grace, golfing wise, on the US PGA Tour last year. Last Thursday he teed it up in the "2's" which is the United States secondary tour known as the Nationwide Tour. This is a long way from playing in the last group in the British Open three years ago with Tom Watson. Goggin could quite easily have won that tournament and his life would have been much different. Anyway, back to the weekend and Goggin began the last round two shots behind his Australian mate Alistair Presnell in the Panama Claro Championship. A quick 68 was enough to clinch the title with Presnell who has earlier rcorded 65-64 the previous two days limping in with a 73. Fifteen Aussies teed it up in Panama including Peter Lonard and Adam Bland.
APPLEBY RETURNS TO THE HONA CLASSIC
Stuart Appleby will play the first two rounds of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Florida with his good friend Adam Scott. The Honda Classic was Appleby's first ever win on the US PGA Tour so he should be ready to perform well. Eight other Aussies will join Appleby and Scott so hopefully one will hoist the trophy on Sunday. Interesting to read that Aaron Baddeley's Aussie coach had $1000 each way on Baddeley at 100-1 when he won a fortnight ago. Nice little collect. Apparently Steven Bann had a few sheckels on as well.
 
25/2/11
OGILVY AIMS AT THIRD MATCHPLAY TITLE
Geoff Ogilvy will have to overcome long hitting left hander Bubba Watson if he is to make the quarter finals of the 2011 Accenture World Matchplay. Ogilvy seems to love the greens at Dove Mountain as he makes 20 footers look easy. Jason Day was just brilliant in his second round match but he will have to keep that form going if he is to get past another long hitter in JB Holmes. Holmes ha averaged over 370 yards (340 metres) off the tee in the first two rounds with his best drive measured at 400 yards (360metres). Seventeen year old Italian Matteo Manasserto looks at home amongst the men and his next match against Luke Donald should be a beauty. Nick Watney is the real sleeper this year, he could go all the way to the final as he should beat Ryan Moore in his next match. Another good contest will be between Hunter Mahan and world number two Martin Kaymer who recently received a pep talk from his German compatriot Bernhardt Langer. Langer was the first official world number one when the rankings first began in 1986.
KARRIE READY TO POUNCE
The HSBC Women's Champions tournament in Singapore has attracted all the big names in ladies golf. Chie Arimura is one shot cleat at -4 after the first round but world number one Yani Tseng who has won her three tournaments is only two shots behind. Karrie Webb is also well placed at -2 with Lindsey Wright even par and Katherine Hull 2 over. Defending champion Ai Miyazato is 2 0ver and two behind her younger sister Mika.
MARK HENSBY LEADS IN MEXICO
Mark Hensby is co leader of the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico on the US PGA Tour. Hensby has won the tour before but this would be a great boost to his ranking if he could get up on Sunday. Cameron Percy at -3 is only two shots of the pace and has found form just at the right time. Other Australians in with a chance are Jarrod Lyle at -2 and Rod Pampling at -1.
 
23/2/11
SUNRAYSIA'S BIG WET
Sunraysia's golf courses are starting to dry out after the torrential downpours over the last few months. Mildura golf club has probably recovered the quickest but the biggest problem for the courses has been the humidity. The dry heat that we have become so used to year after year has been replaced by the Queensland like humidity. This has created problems for our greenkeepers as fungus and other diseases have appeared on some greens. Fortunately the technology available theses days gives the greenkeepers a better chance of keeping on top of the problem. Fingers crossed though, that we don't get any more rain any time soon, not only for the golf courses but even more importantly for the grape harvests which will defintely be later this year.
TRI-STATE MASTERS
Entries have been coming in from all around Australia for the 19th annual Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters. Almost everyone that we have spoken to are more than delighted that they won't have to journey over to South Australia this year. Both Red Cliffs and Riverside golf clubs are eagerly looking forward to being involved in the tournament this year. Everyone on our data base should have their entries by now, so it's all systems go.
BADDELEY WINS BACK THE TRUST
Aaron Baddeley won the Northern Trust Open at Riviera golf club in Los Angeles on Sunday after going head to head with American crwd favourite Fred Couples. Baddeley has has an ordinary couple of years in the US but seems to have turned everything around by going back to a trusted coach and friend in Dale Lynch. Baddeley started working with Lynch as a 13 year old and won two Australian Opens by the time he turned 21. Lynch was with him all the way. For seven years in the States he went back and forth with other US coaches until tewo years ago when he made the decision to go back to Lynch. At that level of golf it is important that you can hit all types of shots, fades, draws, high and low shots, and have the confidence to be able to go for it. It will be interesting to see how he goes for the rest of the year because one of his main focuses is to win a spot in the International Presidents Cup tea. Greg Norman seems keen for him to be on the team which will play the United States at Royal Melbourne but he needs to keeps winning or at least finishing high. Eight out of 14 Aussies made the cut at Riviera with Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby finishing up the leaderboard.
LARS HOLDEN - FROM NZ TO MILDURA TO VIETNAM
Lars Holden is a name that many local people know. Lars won the 1993 Sunraysia Matchplay Championship at Mildura then went on to become a professional after doing his time at Medway Golf Club under John Dickson. Lars came back to Mildura for 12 months to take over the club professional at Coomealla Golf Club. From Mildura he went to Indonesia to work as a teaching professional. During this time he received an approach from a golf club in Vietnam which he accepted. Since then he married a local Hanoi girl and has two little girls aged 6 and 2. Lars is now the Titleist/Cobra/Puma agent for Vietnam and after taking on the agency 12 months ago he reports that business is booming. Lars has two brothers, Troy who lives in Mildura and Zarn who lives in Melbourne and we are all looking forward to catching up with him when he comes to Mildura for Christmas with his family.
ACCENTURE WORLD MATCHPLAY
The Accenture World Matchplay Championship is being played this week at Dove Mountain in the US. This place is surrounded by thistles, thorns, rocks and rattlesnakes. The countryside reminds me of when we used to watch Toombstone Territory on the TV in the 60's. Geoff Ogilvy is our best chance but the Europeans might be the big winners. Last year two pommies fought it out for the title with Ian Poulter knovking off Paul Casey. I like Rory McIlroy or Martin Kaymer but naturally Ogilvy is the one we want to win, it would be his third win in this event.
 
16/2/11
SUNRAYSIA GOLFERS LEARN TO PLAY WET WEATHER GOLF
One of the disadvantages our Country Week players face every year is when it rains in Melbourne during Country Week. Most other regions accept it as just another day at the golf course. Most of our players pull out of golf that day if they wake up in Mildura and it is raining. Well, after the last three months a lot of our local golfers have learnt to play wet weather golf or the alternative has been no golf at all. It really hasn't affected the scoring as much as one would have thought. Indeed, the golf courses have really responded beautifully to the extra "drink". February's Round of the Month so far would have to be Coomealla's Jacob Slimmon who cruised around Coomealla on the weekend in a slick 66. This young man can really play and tossed up about whether to enter the PGA qualifying school. Maybe with another 12 months of really good solid golf behind him, and a few titles, he might reconsider next year.
THE SANDS TORQUAY SENIORS CHAMPIONSHIP
On Monday John Keogh, Ross Bowen and I teed it up in the Sands Torquay Seniors Championship. This Stuart Appleby designed course is an absolute ripper. I loved it, as did the other boys and we really enjoyed the course and the tournament in general. Mind you, none of us greeted the judge on this occasion, but as they say, where there is life there is hope. Ross Percy won the event with 77-70 eclipsing his total of 79-71 last year. This followed on from winning the Tasmanian Seniors Championship at Mowbray Golf Club the week before. He won this State title after holing his second shot on the last hole to win by one shot. The Seniors tournaments are really good to play in and the list of events can be found on the Victorian Golf Association web site.
QUIROS KING IN DUBAI CLASSIC
Spain's Alvaro Quiros overcame all the big names to win the Omega Dubai Classic at the Emirates Golf Club. Ireland's Rory McIlroy led after 36 holes and looked to be doing it easy but he fell away in the last two rounds. Sergio Garcia popped up in the third round and everyone was saying "Ole" but he dropped off and then was drawn with his nemisis Tiger Woods in the last round. Not much chit chat in that group on Sunday. World number one and two Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer didn't really fire a shot, so it came down to the longest hitter on the European Tour Alvaro Quiros. This bloke is so long I'd rather wait. This week the tour moves to New Delhi where Aussie Andrew Dodt won his first tournament last year. In the Race to Dubai the top five players so far are : 1 Alvaro Quiros - SPAIN 2 Charl Schwartzel - RSA 3 Martin Kaymer - Germany 4 Thomas Bjorn - DENMARK 5 Paul Casey - England.
NORTHERN TRUST AT RIVIERA
This week the Northern Trust tournament will be conducted at Riviera Golf Club in San Francisco. I love this golf course where Ben Hogan really dominated in his era. Thankfully it will be back to golf this week as last week the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was very hard to watch unless you are American. I don't particularly enjoy the rubbish that overshadows the actual golf being played by the professionals. Anyway, this week at Riviera Bubba Watso and Dustin Johnson might put on a long driving clinic or maybe fabulous Phil might perform a few of party tricks with his wedges. I hope one of the 13 Aussies playing can salute the judge. A Marc Leihman or a Jarrod Lyle. The commentry by Nick Faldo is excellent and David Feherty is quite funny but the rest are left for dead by the European commentry team.
 
9/2/11
RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
Sunraysia had it's average twelve months rainfall in twenty four hours on Friday and Saturday. It is the second big downpour following the December storm. All local golf courses were closed on Saturday and Riverside and Red Cliffs are still closed and very wet. Short term it makes golf difficult for greenkeepers and golfers alike, long term it will do wonders for our golf courses. More rain is predicted for Friday and Saturday.
TRI-STATE MASTERS ENTRY FORMS
The Tri-State Masters entry forms can now be downloaded from the TOURNAMENTS section of the web site. We will be posting them to everyone on our data base next week. Entrants in the tournament this year have the choice of playing all five days from May 15-20 with the three competition days at Red Cliffs, Riverside and Coomealla golf clubs on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday. An optional 4BBB stableford is available on Tuesday May 17 and an Ambrose in 4's is also available on Thursday May 19 at Coomealla. In addition to the Cocktail Party on Sunday May 15 and the Presentation Dinner on Friday May 20 (both at the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club) optional evening social functions include : Wine Tasting and Dinner at Trentham Estate Winery on Monday May 16, Putting Championship at the Sunraysia Golf Range on Tuesday May 17, Golf Dinner after golf at Riverside Golf Club on Wednesday May 18, Dinner Dance on the PS Mundoo Paddleboat on Thursday May 19. Our accommodation sponsors this year are the Coomealla Resort Motel and Caravan Park, Mildura & Deakin Holiday Park, Quest Apartments and the Sunraysia Resort.
BIG TOURNAMENTS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE SEA
This week the Omega Dubai Derert Classic hits off at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai. The world's top three ranked players will tee it up together on Thursday and Friday. Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods will all be striving to win the tournament and take the world number one ranking. Woods had a mortage on the number one spot for the last five years but not any more. Kaymer has never played with Woods, even though they are two and three in the world. It is sure to increase the interest in golf all over the world. In the US, the focus is usually on the Pebble Beach Pro Am where all the movie stars and business moguls team up with the worlds top golf professionals. Probably though, for the first time ever, this tournament is secondary to the Dubai Desert Classic. Mind you, the Yanks wouldn't see it that way! Dustin Johnson seems to be the King at Pebble Beach, he won it last year and led from go to almost whoa in the US Open there last year. Our Aussies haven't featured much at Pebble Beach or in Dubai in recent times. Maybe Ogilvy might start appearing on the top of the leader boards more often this year. Allenby has been really consistent over the last couple of seasons without winning.
WOMEN'S AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Really enjoyed the coverage of the ladies Aussie Open. There is such variety of different styles of golfers and nationalities amongst the top lady golfers these days. The Asian influence is much greater in ladies golf, they are terrific. Melissa Reid from England played really well and is one to watch this year. Our Katherine Hull seems to be right on the brink of breaking through in America. Karrie Webb still hits it great but her putter seems to have turned on her. If she turns that around she could be right up there again this year. We have four or five girls in America this year that should be contenders. Let's hope so.
 
2/2/11
TRI-STATE MASTERS MAGIC MOMENTS
The entry forms for the 2011 Sunraysia Golf Tours 19th Annual Tri-State Masters have just been finished and will be posted out on Tuesday next week. It is a hectic time for Kym and I but we look forward to it every year. With almost 1100 different people from over 200 clubs having played in the tournament since 1993 there are so many memories that we relive each year as we sit together putting the entry forms in envelopes. On Monday we received a call from Dennis and Beth Watson who live in Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley telling us that they will be coming back for the tournament this year. The Watsons have been on two golf tours with us to New Zealand (1998) and Scotland/Ireland (2000) as well as playing in 9 Tri-State Masters. We haven't seen them for a couple of years, so will it be great to catch up with them again in May and welcome them to the 10 year club. Our motto of "it's always nice to meet nice people and that memories live longer than dreams", might sound a bit corny, but year after year we share more and more examples of it proving that it is so true. We have been very lucky to have the support of so many people who have made the trek to Mildura. Our major sponsors including Trentham Estate Winery, the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club and Prime Television have enabled us to maintain the standard of the tournament even though our numbers have dropped in the last three years. Relatively new sponsors such as the House of Golf Sunraysia Golf Range and Burrows Showcase Jewellers have also been terrific with great trophies. Again this year all players in the Tri-State Masters will be made temporary members of the Sunraysia Golf Range which will allow them to practice at the range with half price range balls. This year we welcome Quest Apartments as our newest accommodation sponsor. Quest Apartments have only been in Mildura 10 months and are situated right in the middle of the town next to the Mildura Workingman's Club. Quest join the Coomealla Club motel and holiday park, Sunraysia Resort and the Mildura and Deakin Caravan Park as our preferred accommodation options. Our golf courses are looking fantastic, which is a bit different to how they look in most February's and we've got more rain coming in the next week. Usually our greenkeepers are pulling their hair out as they can't get enough water, but not this year.
JUNIORS UP AND ABOUT
I had the pleasure of playing with two of Sunraysia's brightest junior stars on Saturday at Coomealla. Tyler Verbeek is set for his best ever year in local golf. I can remember when he started off at Merbein when he was knee hight to a grasshopper and marvelled then at how keen he was to improve. At 16 he has reduced his handicap to two and scrath is not far off if he keeps working hard and improving. He has his sights on making golf a career and I'm betting that he will achieve it. Tom Holmes is only 15 and plays off 8. What a talent this kid is. Only problem is that he represents the district in both hockey and cricket and golf comes in third. I have no doubt that he would be in our top three juniors within six months if he committed to golf over hockey as he hits it great but just needs a bit more control with his short irons. I will be following his progress with interest throughout the year.
SCOTLAND/IRELAND GOLF TOUR
On Monday we released the completed itinerary for our second Scotland/Ireland golf tour in September. It has been received extremely well. The golf courses we will be playing are first class, Gleneagles and Troon in Scotland. Over to Ireland and we begin with Templepatrick which is a nice course to begin the Irish experience, then we move on to the famous links of Lahinch, Druids Glen, Old Head and Mount Juliet. We will visit my favourite golf course in the world Royal County Down and spend a few hours at the home of golf St Andrews. We have been planning this tour for 11 years since we last toured there in 2000.
WOMEN'S AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Commonwealth golf club will host the women's Australian Open tomorrow and most Aussies will be hoping for Karrie Webb or Katherine Hull to take home the title. It is very open this year with Jiyai Shin and Yani Tseng starting favourites. England's blond bombshell Melissa Reid will start favourite though, with most of the male patrons in the galleries. She has the looks of movie star and her golf is edging closer to a big win on the tour. Commonwealth is fairly tight and the big hitters will have to be careful. Other ladies to look out for are the bubbly Christina Kim and another English rose called Laura Davies who just keeps on keeping on.
 
 
26/1/11
RHODES WINS RIVERSIDE SUMMER OPEN
Greg Rhodes is the most prolific winner of open tournaments in Sunraysia and Riverside has been his happiest hunting ground. So it was again at the weekend when he won the 2011 Riverside Summer Open. It was no surprise that he won but a surprise to some that he played. For some reason Greg has been a notorious late entry in open tournaments in Sunraysia for twenty plus years. Naturally he is always accepted in any local tournament right up to the deathknock because every local club wants our best player in the field. On Saturday he had a ho hum day for him shooting a one under par 71. Surprise second on the leader board was Darren "Oscar" Mannix who plays off nine at Riverside and parred the course. Mannix played really well in the first three rounds of the club championship last year and is a player of the future. District number two Ashley Whitehouse was below his best and came in with a 73. Up and coming junior Dom Vartulli was next on 74. On Sunday Mannix was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs as he was seeded into the leading group. A three over par 39 was followed by an even par 36 which was a great effort for the districts most notable "rookie". Whitehouse wasn't able to match Rhodes and had a 73 to be runner up. Rhodes was at his dominant best shooting a three under 69. The most impressive part of his game was his putting where he hardly missed a putt inside ten feet. Putting is the part of Greg's game that quite often lets him down. Mind you, playing off +2 means that he can putt but it isn't normally up to the standard of the other departments in his game. All players were most appreciative of the condition of the golf course and the organisation of the club after having to postpone the tournament from the weekend before. From all reports it appears that several other clubs are planning Summer Opens next summer.
WENTWORTH ON A SHAW THING
The name Shaw has been constantly coming up in the trophy winners circle at Wentworth golf club over the last couple of months. Bryn and Aaron Shaw have been dominating club competitions with stableford scores in the high 40's not uncommon. Both men only started playing competition last year but they have worked really hard on their golf with practise at the Sunraysia Driving Range every week. Bryn is particularly dedicated and I wouldn't be surprise to see him contend on a regular basis at some of the open tournaments this year, firstly in C grade then most definitely in B grade.
TIGER HITS OFF THIS WEEK
Tiger Woods returns to the PGA Tour this week in California playing with Rocco Mediate and Anthony Kim. Torrey Pines is one of his favourite golf courses and was where he last won the US Open in a playoff with Mediate. Funny how he comes to be drawn with Rocco when it is supposed to be a random draw out of a computer. But who worries about that? It is just the way the Yanks like to stageshow their tournaments. Don't worry it happens on all of the tours, even in Australia in the meagre few significant tournaments we conduct. Dustin Johnson is drawn with Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson which will be the main group. I just feel this year is going to be one of Tiger's very best. Sure, he blotted his copybook off the golf course but if he plays anywhere near his best, he wins, simple as that. It is sure going to be compelling viewing!
 
19/1/11
RIVERSIDE SUMMER OPEN THIS WEEKEND
Riverside Golf Club will conduct their third annual Summer Open tournament this weekend after having to postpone the event last weekend. Several holes resembled minature lakes last Saturday and the course would not have been able to handle a full field adequately. The course looks a treat now with the growth almost rising up as you pass by. This is the opposite to what Sunraysia's greenkeepers face nearly every other summer. Over the last ten years in particular, district greenkeepers have faced the dilemma of balancing how much water to put on the greens as to not cook or burn them or starve them. Additionally, during this period water has been either unavailable and or very expensive. Whilst the huge down pours have been destructive to our economy in so many industries, the golf courses have really benifitted from such a big drink. Favourites for the tournament are Mildura's Ashley Whitehouse and Coomealla's Sue Laird. Whitehouse is the standout player in the men's section and it is difficult to see him being beaten if he plays to anywhere near his capacity. 2010 club champion Chris Thomas will be Whitehouse's biggest threat. Thomas played excepionally well to win his first club championship late last year and there is no doubt that he sees 2011 as the year that he intends to put his hand up for district selectors to take notice of. Sue Laird has played little golf through the summer months but she is a classy golfer and should win if she can play to her usual standard. Riverside's Marg Lampard has been a steady improver over the last few years and is best placed to bring home a Riverside victory.
SUNRAYSIA JUNIOR CONTEST STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sunraysia's top three juniors have been busy contesting State junior tournaments in Victoria, South Australia and next week in Tasmania. Red Cliffs junior Tim Walker, Coomealla's Ryan Laird and Tyler Verbeek have really worked hard on their golf over the summer break so far. All three contested the Victorian Junior Masters at Waverly golf club recently with Tim and Ryan both averaging 79 for the four rounds, one shot better than Tyler. All three boys attested that the greens were like grease lightening, particularly in the last round where the greens were the fastest they had ever played on. Ryan played the South Australian Junior Masters at The Vines golf club in Reynella and shot 77-80 to finish well ahead of former Mildura golfer Jake Laubsch who is obviously taking time to adjust in his new State. This week Tim is playing in the South Australian Junior Open at Kooyonga and next week Ryan is playing two tournaments in Tasmania including the Tasmanian Junior Masters.
SUNRAYSIA DISTRICT GOLF ASSOCIATION PENNANT
The first round of the SDGA pennant season is not due for another five months and some quick thinking needs to happen between now and then if division one pennant is to continue as the districts number one inter club competition. At present only Coomealla, Mildura and to a lesser extent, Broken Hill, look to be able to field competitive teams. Red Cliffs have indicated that with the probable retirement of club champion and district captain Justin McPhee that they will be unable to field a div one team. Riverside have not indicated their intentions yet but unless they are to produce some good players out of a hat, then they will struggle to match the top two. This is of course, if, Tim Walker and Tyler Verbeek go to Mildura or Coomealla. The one suggestion that I have heard that makes sense is that a junior elite team is included in division one pennant. This team would include Walker, Laird and Verbeek and the next group of up and coming juniors. Yes, they wouldn't ne strong at four and five, but, neither would any of the other teams. Robinvale, Merbein and Wentworth are unable to submit a competitive div one team so the junior alternative could be the saviour of the top division. How about it SDGA?
BARNBOUGLE DUNES AND LOST FARM
Our son Garth and three other Coomealla mates Gary Cotter, Aaron Blake and Gavin Hocking have just returned from a golfing sojourn down to Tasmania where they played Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm. I was interested to hear about the courses as we are taking our third Sunraysia Golf Tour to Tassie in March. Garth said that the two course were terrific. Barnbougle plays extremely hard if the wind is blowing, which is typical of a links golf course. Lost Farm on the other hand is a much more player friendly test where the fairways are much, much wider. Sufficient to say that Barnbougle has 900 sprinklers and Lost Farm 1500, even though the golf courses are of a similar length. At Barnbougle sand buckets are not taken but all players are asked to replace their divots. If you land in an unfilled divot you can drop at neareset point with no penalty. Several interesting local rules are enforced that you wouldn't see anywhere else. The rough is deemed "a Hazard" and so you can drop at point of entry when you go into the scrub with only a one shot penalty but no going back to the tee. This no doubt is enforced to quicken up the time taken to play and eliminate the possiblilty of snake bites in the heather! You can also place at nearest point in a bunker if your ball finishes in a footprint. English cricketers including Paul Collingwood and past captains Ian Botham and Nasser Hussien were there playing the courses at the same time as our Coomealla contingent. Gary Cotter who plays off 17 at Coomealla parred the front nine at Lost Farm and had the time of his life picking up the booty for the three days from the other three. All four players agreed that Lost Farm had the best views and was the most picturesque course thay had ever played. After hearing their stories we can't wait to see it when we finish our tour and stay there in early April.
Contact me with your golfing stories and information or simply your opinion on email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
12/1/11
RAIN TO STOP SUNRAYSIA TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
The enormous amount of rain expected on Thursday and Friday is almost certain to curtail the plans of Coomealla and Eiverside golf clubs this week. Coomealla have their annual junior tournament listed for Thursday and Friday and are expecting a number of entries from outside the district. Nominal favourite is Red Cliffs junior Tim Walker but with 80mm of rain predicted on Thursday, play is unlikely. The Riverside Summer Open tournament is set down for Saturday and Sunday but again, if that amount of rain comes, some holes will be flooded. This occurred at Riverside several weeks back and the course had to be closed for two days until the water dissipated. Riverside has really gone forward in the last twelve months and were expecting a great turn out for the open. It is now in the lap of the Gods.
ROUND TO REMEMBER FOR LOCAL GOLF TEACHING PROFESSIONAL
Garth Doherty is the owner and teaching professional at the Sunraysia Golf Range in Mildura. At Coomealla golf club today he recorded his best ever score of 66 which included six birdies, twelve pars and no bogeys. It is the first time in his golf career that he has recorded a bogey free round. Prior to attaining professional status with the Australian Golf Teaching Association, Garth had won two Riverside club chamionships, one Merbein golf club championships and a Riverside open championship. This great round of 66 followed on from a 70 at Coomealla ten days ago. Garth attributes his good form to being able to practice his skills at the Sunraysia Golf Range and naturally encourages anyone who wants to improve to have a lesson and then practice what they are taught.
BYRD FLIES EARLY IN HAWAI
The Tournament of Champions did not prove to be the happy hunting ground for our Aussies this year. Geoff Ogilvy had to withdraw after cutting his finger on coral, Stuart Appleby had his putter stolen at the airport and never gave a yelp. Adam Scott and Jason Day threatened to contend early in the peace but finished well short of the mark. A playoff saw Johnaton Byrd win against Robert Garrigus at the second playoff hole. Byrd became famous late last year when he won a three man playoff in Las Vegas with a hole in one. Australia's Cameron Percy was one of the other players in the playoff. Byrd now looks to be a seious contender this year and has won a two year exemption to the US Tour courtesy of the win. This week the US Tour stays in Hawai with the Sony Open where thirteen Aussies will tee it up.
Contact me with any golf information on Email golf@sunrausiagolftours.co.au
Good golfing to all.
 
5/1/11
SCORING RED HOT ON SUNRAYSIA'S GOLF COURSES
The weather has been really mild for Mildura over the Christmas/New Year period but some of the scores being returned at district golf courses has been red hot. Out at Wentworth golf club Bryn Shaw had a mammoth 48 points that included 28 on the back nine. Bryn has only taken up golf seriously in the last six months and he has been working really hard, practising his skills at the Sunraysia Golf Range up to three times a week. The day after his 48 points he booked in for a lesson with the Sunraysia Golf Range teaching professional Garth Doherty. Now that's what I call dedication to improve. Bryn's brother Aaron was a bit stiff on the same day coming in second behind Bryn with 47 points! Aaron's score would win most single events any time and would probable sneak a four ball victory at some courses. At Red Cliffs golf club Greg Young and Neil Wilkie both recorded 45 points equalling Greg Chandler at Riverside golf club. At Coomealla golf club Greg Rhodes had a brilliant 67 off the stick with Garth Doherty also going low with a 70 a week later. With all of the local courses in great condition it only follows that good scores will become more prevalent. Most people are struggling with the new handicapping system with scores of ten or more under handicap only losing one shot. Whilst the overall sytem is probably fairer in the long run, in the short term it is hard to accept someone only being clipped one shot after recording a net 59!
SUNRAYSIA JUNIOR GOLFERS - TO THE FORE
Sunraysia's top junior golfers are all off playing in tournaments in Melbourne and Adelaide this week. Our top junior over the last two years and current Sunraysia District Golf Association champion Jake Laubsch has defected to South Australia in recent weeks. Jake is a super talent but his scores of late have been very poor. Local people are hoping he can recapture his mid year 2010 form when he performed brilliantly in the district championship which he then repeated at Melbourne Country Week in October. It was at this tournament that he really grabbed the attention of the South Australians and they invited his to come and live in Adelaide and bolster their junior stocks. Of the other top juniors Tim Walker, Tyler Verbeek and Ryan Laird are playing in the Junior Masters at Waverly golf club in Melbourne. Tim Walker appears to be the "heir apparrent" to Laubsch's throne but Verbeek and Laird will push him all the way.
TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
The Hyandai Tournament of Champions in Hawai hits off on Friday morning - our time, and hopefully it will be another Aussie who raises the flaf on Monday morning - our time. Stuart Appleby won this event three years in a row and Geoff Ogilvy won it last year. It is a vey windy course which doesn't seem to faze our blokes as much as the yanks. This year there is a really good spread of international players with 2010 Major winners McDowell,Oosthuizen and a host of other foreign players in the 34 man field. I am really looking forward to following the golf overseas this year.
SCOTLAND/IRELAND GOLF TOUR
We have been pleasantly surprised with the number of enquiries we have had regarding our September 2011 Scotland/Ireland golf tour. Final dates are currently being confirmed with several golf courses and we will be able to release the full itinerary by January 12 when all of the the golfing and accommodation facilities will have been booked. Ireland is a country really reaching out for tourists and visiting golfers so there has never been a better time to visit. Out last golf tour to Scotland/Ireland was in 2000 and we loved Edinburgh and Dublin and all of the smaller towns and villages along the way. Let us know if you would like an itinerary forwarded to you.
Contact me on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
28/12/10
CHRISTMAS IN MILDURA
The Christmas season brings all sorts of life experiences through the door, some really rewarding, others good and the occasional forget about it. We had a lovely Christmas day this year with our son Garth and his family. Our two daughters Carmen and Monica and their families celebrated Christmas in Melbourne. Next year all of our family will be in Mildura which is something Kym and I are really looking forward to. At Christmas it is always great to catch up with people that I haven't seen for years that now play golf and come back to Mildura to see family. Golf is such a fantastic game that you can play until you are in your 80's. I am finding that more and more people are taking up golf in their 50's and 60's. There aren't many sports that you can do that and still be quite good at it. Golfing wise, the golf courses in the Sunraysia district have all been reporting excellent fields and green fee players. With our usual yearly rainfall falling in about six weeks, green- keepers are struggling to keep the growth down. After 32 years as a member of Coomealla golf club I can't remember seeing the golf course as lush as it is at the moment. Usually at this time of year the sprinklers are being overworked but this year it is the opposite with most courses still "drying out". Red Cliffs golf club will host their annual Open Ambrose on New Years Day which always attracts a big field. This year the scoring is sure to be red hot as lots of local golfers have seen their handicaps get bigger by the month. This seems to be more prevalent with the mid to higher handicappers. Saturday will be our hottest day since last summer which will test a few and probably mean a good day for the club in the way of cleansing refreshments.
TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
The first tournament on the US PGA Tour will be the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Maui, Hawai from January 6. The tournament can only be played by the players who had won on the US tour in 2010, subsequently 35 players are eligible. Last year (2010) Geoff Ogilvy won after Stuart Appleby had just about made the event his own a couple of years ago. This year we will have four players going around including Ogilvy, Appleby, Adam Scott and Jason Day. Jim Furyk is always a big threat in this tournament as he lives in Hawai and knows the golf course back to front.
PRESIDENTS CUP/AUSTRALIAN OPEN/ AUSTRALIAN MASTERS
It is interesting to see the goings on with the Australian PGA. They are about as switched on as the Australian cricket selectors. It would seem that both of these bodies are highly prejudicial towards anything or anyone Victorian. Surely the correct decision would be to have a lead up event in Melbourne the week before the Presidents Cup. Who cares if it is the Australian Open or the Australian Masters. I agree that the interests of Australian golf far outweigh the interests of IMG but surely the tournament before the Cup should be just around the corner from Royal Melbourne - not in Sydney. If the PGA was fair dinkum then they would have scheduled the Aussie Open in Melbourne as the lead in event. I am interested to get your opinion, respond at golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
 
21/12/10
2011 TRI-STATE MASTERS
The response to the decision of dropping the South Australian leg of the Tri-State Masters has been quite astounding. A lot of people have contacted us to say that they are looking forward to playing in the tournament next year as they won't have to travel to the Riverland. Whilst it was always a long haul for everyone on the Wednesday of the week, we didn't really feel concerned that it was so much of a big deal. Many people though, since the announcement have contacted us to say that they will be coming back to play the Tri-State Masters because of the location of the three legs being in close proximity. The three golf courses that we have chosen are all different and three of our favourites in the Sunraysia district. Coomealla is just a standout golf course on the Murray River. I have been a member there for 31 years and it is in the best condition that it has ever been. The rain that fell in October/November was terrible timing for our wheat farmers and a lot of our grape vineyards but it has been a godsend for our golf courses. After so many years of drought and not being able to find sufficient water to maintain courses, it has been incredible to see the transformation, particularly at Riverside and Red Cliffs. We are delighted to be conducting the first two legs of the Tri-State Masters at Red Cliffs and Riverside Golf Clubs as they have both really emraced the tournament and are very keen and supportive of the event. This will be most refreshing and I am sure our patrons will be very impressed with their welcome and hospitality. Entry forms will be sent to past players and golf clubs at the end of January. All enquiries should be directed to Shane and Kym on 03 50 346799 or Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
2011 TASMANIAN GOLF TOUR
We are really looking forward to our third Tssie golf tour in March 2011. Our previous two golf tours to Tassie were terrific and we have assembled another really nice group of travelers to accompany us. The golf courses we will be playing are quite superb and the cruises and social outings will be great fun in between hits. The finale to the tour will be at Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm and personally, I can't wait. We still have several seats on the tour open so give us a call soon if you would like to experience golf in Tasmania with us.
2010 IN WORLD GOLF
The last 12 months have provided some great highlights in world golf. I am not sure if it is because I am getting older and appreciate the finer things in life and golf or because it is that age and/or experience thing that my attention to detail is becoming more acute. Whatever it is, 2010 has been wonderful for the golf tragic's, like me. The Ryder Cup never fails to fascinate me, it is even more appealing when the Europeans win. The Tiger Woods fiasco has been good and bad for the sport, depending on how you see it. Most people thought, as I did, that Tiger Woods was about as clean and reputable as anyone in world sport. What we learnt was that he wasn't. His golf suffered this year but if it hadn't, he would have been even more unbelievable than before the furore. From a golfing perspective, he is still the best golfer in the world, whether he can climb back on to the pedestal that he previously occupied is yet to be seen. If he does, well good on him. Personally I would love to see an Australian win the US Masters and the British Open, wouldn't that be great? Most of the top Aussies seem like really nice people, based on that, I'm hoping for a John Senden, Adam Scott or Jason Day to come through next year. We will have about 30 players in the US so here's hoping!
To everyone that follows our news, please have a happy Christmas and safe and prosperous New Year and never forget that " Its always nice to meet nice people and that memories live longer than dreams".
Contact me on golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au.
Good golfing to all.

 
14/12/10
NOTHING FINER THAN MERBEIN IN THE SUMMERTIME
Merbein Golf Club recorded a resounding 4/1 win in the final of the Sunraysia District Golf Association Summer Pennant final over Robinvale at Mildura Golf Club Resort on Sunday. Merbein's decision not to alter their line up that had seen them go through the season undefeated, ultimately proved to be correct. Merbein and Robinvale are the association's smallest clubs and it is a credit to both clubs to reach the final and perform so well. Merbein skipper Rodney Poole, though disappointed to lose his match, had a great contest against Richard Bertram, finally finishing at the 20th hole. Undefeated Roger Walder wouldn't give up against a much younger opponent in Cameron McKay, eventually hoisting his fist in relief after the 21st hole. next in line was Aaron Blake who extended stiff opposition to Andrew Horne who succumbed on the 16th. Merbein's "go to man" Smasher McGaffin proved too strong for Vern Morrish in a real whitewash of the veteran 6/5 and Phil Matotek reversed his first round result to defeat David Peniongo 2/1. The Merbein pennant players and committee place much emphasis on their club representation in both winter and summer pennant and that dedication has resulted in pennants in both seasons. On Sunday the team celebrated in no uncertain manner, as anyone would when a plan comes together. The Sunraysia District Golf Association now must build on the excellent pennant response from all clubs this year from Broken Hill to Robinvale. It will be interesting to see how many of the new summer pennant players from all clubs put their hands up to play winter pennant in May next year.
PETER SENIOR TWENTY ONE YEARS ON
Peter Senior first won the Australian PGA Championship in 1989. On Monday he collected his third champions trophy after beating Australian Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy in a play off. Senior has been competing on the rich Seniors circuit in the US this year and has played superby over the last two months. At 51 he is playing better than ever. Former US PGA champion Wayne Grady knows Senior very well and said on television on Sunday that "they make money flat, so that it is easy to stack" and suggested that the mint had Senior in mind when doing this as he has so much of it! Having met Peter several times and interviewed him on the Sunraysia Golf Show it is easy to see why he is so popular. Such an unasuming gentleman who is about as humble a person as you would find anywhere. A really good story to end the golfing year.
AROUND THE CLUBS
Jacob Slimmon, Jake Laubsch and Tim Walker entered the Port Phillip amateur last week at Kingston Heath and Commonwealth Golf Clubs. This event also serves as a pre-qualifying for the Victorian Amateur Championship with the top 32 players after 72 holes going into matchplay for the State's number one amateur title. Slimmon shot 82-78 to make the 36 hole cut by one shot but Laubsch and Walker both struggled with the severe weather conditions. First round leader Deyen Lawson really struggled on the second day, following up a 68 with an 89 to make the cut by four shots.
Former Murray Valley Champion Brendan Rowse is through to the second year of his professional traineeship at Rossdale Golf Club next year. The traineeship is a three year course.
Mildura Golf Club Resort have appointed a host of new key personnel in the last month. New general manager Gordon Gower comes with a wealth of experience having manged golf clubs in several New South Wales regions including Concord Golf Club, Kogarah Golf Club and more recently Bayview Golf Club. Incoming course superintendant is Scott Bremner who was second in charge at Murray Downs for the last eight years. New captain Robert Briggs is a well traveled campaigner who has held several positions on the sub-district association and SDGA as well holding committee position from Ouyen to Riverside and Wentworth. Maurice Warn has been club President for several years and has had the pleasant task of introducing all of the new faces to many of the old faces.
SUNRAYSIA'S BEST IN 2010
Golfer of the Year - Greg Rhodes in a photo from Jake Laubsch
Junior Golfer of the Year - Jake Laubsch from Tim Walker
Club of the Year - Riverside Golf Club from Red Cliffs Golf Club
Greenkeeper of the Year - Brendan Marr from Simon Newy
Personality of the Year - Outgoing SDGA President - Greg McCubbin
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE - ROUND OF THE WEEK
More rain equals less golf in Sunraysia but that didn't stop a lot of our intrepid golfers last week. At Mildura Golf Club Resort Fred Pelda was seven up, as was Sara Wrate at Riverside. At Wentworth Aaron Shaw had a couple of bad holes but still came in six better than his mark only to lose out to Fred Campbell who was six up. The stand out Round of the Week however, was from Peter Jon Wellington who had eight better than his handicap at Coomealla. Peter Jon wins one dozen Callaway Big Bertha's from the Sunraysia Golf Range which must be collected by Friday at 347 Ontario Ave Mildura.
Contact me with any golf information, stories or opinions on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Have a happy Christmas and a safe New Year.
Good golfing to all.
 
7/12/10
MERBEIN VERSUS ROBINVALE IN SUMMER PENNANT FINAL
Merbein golf club will start favourites against Robinvale golf club this Sunday in the final of the Sunraysia District Golf Association's Summer Pennant. Merbein were untroubled in overcoming Wentworth in the semi final last Sunday at Riverside winning 4/1. "Smasher" McGaffin was the only Merbein player to lose after a titanic battle with Wentworth's Nathan Gard that went right to the last hole. McGaffin has been Merbein best performer all year in winter and summer pennant and Sundays loss was his first blemish on a white wash year. In the other semi final. Robinvale were too good for the previously undefeated Coomealla with three matches going trough to the last hole. All three finished in favour of the red and whites who ultimately won 4/1. David Peniongo and Vern Morrish have been outstanding all season and if they can win one other match out of the remaining three, it could be an eagles pennant in 2010. The summer pennant match of the year would be between Vern Morrish and Roger Walder, if the numbers fell that way. Both players are renowned for their fighting qualities and it would be an encounter worth going to see. If this match up were to occur, it would no doubt determine which team wins. I am tipping an upset Robinvale victory.
NEW TRI-STATE MASTERS FORMAT FOR 2011
The 19th Sunraysia Golf Tours Tri-State Masters will be conducted from Sunday May 15 to Friday May 20 2011. This year for the first time, the tournament will be played entirely within the Sunraysia/Mildura precinct. The first round will be played at Red Cliffs golf club on Monday May 16, followed by the second round at Riverside golf club on Wednesday May 18 and finally the third round at Coomealla golf club on Friday May 20. Social games will include a 4BBB stableford at Riverside on Tuesday May 17 which will give players an opportunity to see the course before the following day's second round. An ambrose in fours at Coomealla Thursday May 19 will also be ideal for a preview of Coomealla's layout before Friday's final leg of the tournament. Both Red Cliffs and Riverside have returned to their best condition after retrieving their water entitlements and additionally the excessive rain over the last six months. A decision to skip the South Australian leg of the tournament came following complaints from many long time patrons of the tournament who felt that the 220 kilometre round trip on the Wednesday to the Riverland was excessive after travelling all the way to Mildura from distant regions. Whilst the original concept of three rounds in three different States worked well, circumstances change and event organisers have to be prepared to listen to the people who play in the event, because without them, there is no event. Hopefully many of those people who have dropped out in recent years because of the additional travel will return in 2011 or 2012.
OGILVY AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHAMPION - AT LAST
Victoria's Geoff Ogilvy finally escaped the "best current Australian player" not to win the Australian Open tag at The Lakes on Sunday. Ogilvy has long been regarded as one of our best four players which included, Robert Allenby, Adam Scott and Stuart Appleby who have all won our Open previously. The next tier of previous winners based on recent form would include John Senden, Aaron Baddeley, Peter Lonard and Craig Parry. Other recipients of the Stonehaven trophy include Stephen Allan, Greg Chalmers and Peter Senior who is now a senior player on the over 50's circuit. Ogilvy though, is the only one amongst this group to win a "Major" when he won the 2006 US Open. Since 2006 he hasn't gone on with the job that most people expected from him, at 33 he is still in the prime of his career and next year could be his biggest ever. Last week he equalled Jack Nicklaus and Mark Calcavecchia as the second lowest winning 72 hole score in the Australian Open, only Gary Player has bettered Ogilvy's the 19 under total. This week at Coolum the Australian PGA will be contested with all of our top players in attendance. Robert Allenby won it last year as well as in 2005. Adam Scott looks a good bet as he should be nice and relaxed and a bit fresher than Allenby who had to fly back from South Africa where he unsuccessfully defended his crown in the Nedbank Challenge. John Senden was second at Coolum last year so he might be Scott's biggest. That is unless of course, Geoff Ogilvy doesn't keep the ball rolling for two wins in two weeks.
WESTWOOD TOO GOOD IN SOUTH AFRICA
England's Lee Westwood streeted the field in the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa on Sunday. Westwood's win made certain that he would retain the world number one status at least until February. From day one Westwood appeared a class above the other competitors and won with a leg in the air. The Gary Player golf course throws up many sights you would never see anywhere else in the world. The national park next door to the course has elephants, baboons, zebras and all sorts of jungle animals just meandering around. The bird life is amazing and the televises of the event include lots of vision of the animals and birds every night during the coverage. This year was the 30th anniversary of the first event when American Johnny Miller beat Spain's Seve Ballesteros in a play off.
McDOWELL TAMES THE TIGER
Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell capped off his greatest year as a golfer so far when he won the Chevron World Challenge in California on Sunday. McDowell won in a playoff with Tiger Woods after coming from four shots behind on the final day. Woods had never lost when he has been three shots or more in front before. The Irishman knocked in two nerve-racking twenty foot plus putts on the 18th hole to get into the playoff and then win it. What a year he has had, victories in the US Open at Pebble Beach, Wales Open, Andalucia Valderrama Masters, Chevron World Challenge and being the European player who sunk the winning putt to defeat the US in the Ryder Cup. All the talk surrounded Woods and his return to form over the first three days of the tournament but to lose after being four shots in front is unTigerish, more Normanish. Next year looks like being better than ever and most people expect Woods to return to his best after an uncomfortable year in 2010.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The rain kept many local golfers away from our Sunraysia courses over the past week but there were still plenty of good scores to choose from for the Sunraysia Golf Range - Round of the Week. At Mildura Golf Club Resort Joe Cifti came in seven better than handicap as did Vince Dichiera at Coomealla on Saturday, then again on Sunday. Peter Loiacano had a super 64 net at Merbein and was unlucky to lose on the toss of a coin. The winner of one dozen Srixon AD333 golf balls was Riverside's Kevin Eastwood who had 44 stableford points. Kevin can pick up the Srixons by Friday from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave.
Contact me with your golfing information, stories or opinion at Email golf@sunraysiadaily.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
30/11/10
MERBEIN AND COOMEALLA SUMMER PENNANT FAVOURITES
Merbein and Coomealla both finished undefeated in their respective divisions of the 2010 Sunraysia District Golf Associations Summer Pennant. Merbein will now face Wentworth in the first semi final at Riverside on Sunday in what will be a cracker of a contest. Merbein have higher handicappers compared to Wentworth who have three low markers in Alan Lilla, Phil Lawn and Nathan Gard. Lawn had a hole in one on the 12th at Red Cliffs on Sunday but still went down to Riverside's "jumping Jack" Thomas. Merbein's "Smasher" McGaffin took all before him in winter pennant and has carried on this summer. Throw in Roger Walder, Aaron Blake, Des Foreman and Rodney Poole and it is a very competitive unit. It could all come down to the last match between Merbein's Phil Matotek and Wentworth's Alan Lilla who will have to concede six shots. In the other semi, Coomealla have looked the goods so far but Robinvale have three men who could advance their team to the final. David Peniongo has played great matchplay golf and will get enormous support from Vern Morrish and Richard Bertram. The final will be played at Mildura on December 11 and even though both matches look as though a toss of the coin could decide both, I'm tipping a Merbein - Robinvale final. Summer pennant has been terrific this year with all clubs represented and great spirit displayed by all players and clubs.
GREG McCUBBIN
Greg McCubbin stepped down from the presidency of the Sunraysia District Golf Association having served in the position for four years. McCubbin first came to Mildura from Ballarat in 1993 where he played at Mt Xavier golf club. Soon after he was elected as vice captain at Coomealla for two years before he moved his home club status to Riverside in 1997. At Riverside he had two stints as captain as well as being on the committee for over ten years. In December 2007 he took over from Brendan O'Brien and has worked hard to resurrect district golf during a difficult time. The drought effected all golf clubs and subsequently a lot of golfers stopped playing regularly. It has also been a time when many golfers have changed clubs for varying reasons including, course condition, subscription costs and club personnel changes. Yesterday he spoke of his time as the districts peak officer "It has been a interesting and difficult time in district golf. The popularity of golf in the 90's dropped off, mainly due to the drought through this decade but interest is returning and there seems to be a bit of a resurgence at some clubs. I am really pleased with how we have been able to involve all clubs including Robinvale and Wentworth back into our pennant structure. Another important factor has been the inclusion of Broken Hill into our association". New association president is Coomealla's Brian Tyers, Mildura's Steven Henshall is vice president and Coomealla's Sue Laird remains secretary. The association is desperately seeking a junior development officer as currently we have one of our best group of juniors for quite some time. Contact Brian on 0427 274 155 if you feel you can help.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN
The 2010 Australian Open will be played at The Lakes golf club this week. Greg Norman won the first of his five Australian Opens at The Lakes 30 years ago but is not considered a realistic chance this year. Nor is American Fred Couples, his compatriot John Daly or Australian Senior Open winner Peter Senior. Only younger men usually win this event with Peter Thomson at age 43 being the oldest ever winner at Kooyonga in 1972. Last years winner Adam Scott is back in top form after winning his third Singapore Open a fortnight ago. Stuart Appleby is hoping to win his second Aussie Open and is our most recent local winner at the Australian Masters at Victoria golf club. One player to watch is Chinese Wen-Chong Liang who shot a course record 64 at Whistling Straits in this this years US PGA. Another chance could be one of Australia's oldies in Peter O'Malley who won the NSW Open last week and is a member at the Lakes. Coverage on channel 10 begins on Thursday.
KAYMER EUROPE'S NUMBER ONE
Germany's Martin Kaymer starved off all threats to pick up Europe's number one player accolade and accompanying booty bonus at Dubai on the weekend, even though he finished well down the list. Swede Robert Karlsson won the Dubai World Championship on the second hole of a play off with England's Ian Poulter. Poulter was penalised one stroke for moving his marker on the green after he had accidentally dropped his ball on it. Most people including the television commentators didn't know that this unfortunate action results in a penalty. Poulter who had won the Hong Kong Open the previous week played sensational golf but was just pipped. Karlsson played well in the first
round for a 65 only to slip up with a 75 in the second round then storm home. The first tournament for 2011 on the European Tour will be played in South Africa this week.
TIGER'S LAST CHANCE
Tiger Woods will be hoping for a change of luck and form when he tees it up in his own tournament in California this week. The Chevron World Challenge is a select 18 man field that includes most of the US superstars of golf and a few from Europe including Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey and Luke Donald who won this event in 2005. Tiger has won the tournament four times since it's inception in 1990. So far this year he is winless for the first time since he broke onto the PGA Tour in 1996. Jim Furyk won last year but Dustin Johnson has had an exceptional year where bad luck probably cost him two majors. Tiger though, is still the man to beat!
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Even though there was lots of rain over the last week there were still a few "Crisp" rounds to fight out the Sunraysia Golf Range - Round of the week. Those to better their handicaps by six shots included Coomealla's David King and Josh McAskill, Wentworth's Bill Murray and Merbein's Clive Knudsen. At Mildura, bluebagger Eric Jenner had 44 points to be runner up to Riverside's Anthony De Amicis who had +9. Anthony can collect his prize of one dozen Srixon AD333 from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Avenue by Friday.
Contact me with any golf information, stories or opinions at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
23/11/10
GOLF VICTORIA - VGA AND WGV AMALGAMATE
On Monday the Victorian Golf Association and Women's Golf Victoria officially amalgamated and became Golf Victoria. Initially an interim board with four representatives from each association will administer the organization until the election of a nine person board in April. Both of the headquarters of each organization will be sold with new headquarters planned to be built on a golf course where education and training facilities can be built to further educate Victoria'S up and coming juniors and representative teams. This move is seen as the best alternative for all golf clubs and golfers in Victoria. The spin doctors are saying that "It is an opportunity to better position the game for the future". As well as that little gem it is also suggested that two into one adds up to a more efficient organization which eliminates duplication and allows a higher standard of governance and decision making. The next 12 months will certainly be an interesting time as the two bodies jostle for position, hopefully for the betterment of the game. I think you and I both know, that, at the end of the day "she who must be obeyed" might be the stronger party, or will she? Am I being a bit cynical or wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall at the first few board meetings?
2010 SDGA SUMMER PENNANT
The 2010 Sunraysia District Golf Association summer pennant season has been well supported by all district golf clubs this year. Eight clubs submitted teams including Wentworth, Robinvale and sub district club Ouyen who are the first club entered every summer. This year the clubs were split into two divisions with three matches played at Robinvale, Merbein and Red Cliffs. After the three rounds the top sides in each division will play the second team in the other division at Riverside on December 5, the two winners then clash in the final at Mildura on December 12. Summer pennant provides an ideal opportunity for clubs to introduce new players to the inter club matchplay format and reacquaint other members who haven't played pennant for a while. Vern Morrish is one such player who has represented both Sunraysia and Kara Kara at Melbourne Country Week in the past and is back playing for Robinvale. Vern hasn't lost that fighting spirit winning both of his matches so far. Anyone who beats him will have really earned it as he is one fierce competitor. Round one was played at Robinvale, some players hadn't played the course before and were more than impressed with the lay out. Robinvale has long been regarded as one of our districts best tests of golfing skill. On a per capita basis, Robinvale has probably produced more top players than any other golf club in the district. With Vern at the teams helm, Robinvale are headed for the finals this year. Merbein hosted round two and are the team to beat, as usual. No club takes summer pennant more seriously than Merbein. Roger Walder is another man with his fair share of competitiveness and his drive will ensure that the pies are in the finals again this year. In the other side of the draw Coomealla and Riverside look best placed to make the finals. The last round will be played at Red Cliffs this week with the key matches between Mildura who must beat Merbein to have a chance of playing in the semi finals and Wentworth who play Riverside to fight out for the other semi final spot. The SDGA Annual General Meeting will be conducted at Red Cliffs Golf Club this Sunday at 4pm. Any district golf club member is welcome to attend.
SENIOR WINS AUSSIE SENIORS TITLE IN PERTH
Peter Senior won the 2010 Australian Senior Golf Championship from former US Masters winner Sandy Lyle at Royal Perth on Sunday. Senior shot rounds of 65-70-72 to win by three strokes from Lyle who shot 73-68-69. Senior had recently completed his first year on the rich US Senior Tour and was cherry ripe to win after just missing out on a play off last year against eventual winner Mike Harwood. The Senior Tours (over 50) are becoming really popular and although Australia is well behind the US and Europe, this years championship was well supported. Major winners past included Ian Baker Finch who recently turned 50, Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam and Wayne Grady. As time moves on Seniors golf around the world is getting bigger every year. Riverside hosted three Senior Pro Am's from 2000-2002 which were very popular. Maybe it is time that an enterprising club look to re introduce a Senior pro am. At that time there weren't a lot of senior professionals playing the circuit but that situation has improved and there is scope for a great event.
THE RACE TO DUBAI
England's Ian Poulter won the Hong Kong Open at the weekend with a masterful performance by one stroke from fellow countryman Simon Dyson and Italian Matteo Manassero. Several years ago Poulter put his foot into his mouth by saying "If everyone played their very best it would come down to Tiger and me" At the time he was universally scoffed at by everyone including Tiger Woods. Since then he has really become a force in world golf, both in tournament play and even more so in the last couple of Ryder Cups, where he has undoubtedly been the most dominant player. On Friday he shot a 10 under par 60 playing with Irelands Rory McILroy who shot 66. The Fanling golf course where they play the tournament in Hong Kong is fantastic, they set it up for good scoring, providing great exciting golf for the galleries and television viewers. During the tournament there were 12 scores of 63 or better. Australia's Marcus Fraser finished 10th at 16 under par to trail Poulter 67-60-64-67-258 by six shots. This week the 48th tournament of the year covering 27 destinations on the European Tour marks the final of the Race to Dubai. Germany's Martin Kaymer is in first place ahead of Ireland's Graeme McDowell, both have had great years with McDowell winning the US Open and Kaymer winning the US PGA. If either win on Sunday they will pick up a bonus cheque for 1,092418 euros as the Race to Dubai winner. All up $7,500,000 will be divided between the top 60. So far this year 17 year old Manassero has won 846,705 euros, which not bad for a teenager. Last years winner Lee Westwood who has since become world number one is in third place but cannot overtake the top two. The Dubai World Championship is being touted as the "Greatest Show on Earth" which is a play on words as the event will be played on the Greg Norman designed Earth course in Dubai. World golf has been totally dominated and controlled by the Americans for the last 70 years up until last year when the Race to Dubai challenged the pull of the US FEDEX Cup. Now all of the top Europeans have returned to play the major European events. Interestingly, of the four majors only the US Masters was won by an American ( Phil Mickelson) with Louis Oosthuizen, Kaymer and McDowell winning the British Open, US Open and the US PGA. The Race to Dubai begins tomorrow.
AROUND THE CLUBS
The big event this week is the annual "Concert on the Course" at Red Cliffs golf club on Friday night. Dubbed the "Here Comes Christmas" concert this year, it should be a great night. Families are encouraged to go with only $55 per family or $25 per single. A two course meal and lots of dancing, socialising and good fun in a most hospitable atmosphere. The invitation says "just rock up" so why not pop out to the Cliffs for a great night out.
Great to see Mildura and Riverside have resurrected their two club challenge. Reading their notes, it reports that the Riverside ladies knocked off the Mallee Root Challenge and the Riverside men were the Inter Course champions this year. It's great to see the two Mildura based clubs who, have both had their ups and downs over the years, back working together both on and off the course.
Wentworth golf club are conducting their annual "Curator's Day" which is a 4 person ambrose. Only $10 per player, sausage sizzle at 12-30, shot gun start at 1pm. This year the curators have promised to put some of the pins in easy to get at places, yeah right! And we believe that too. It is always a great fun day and the Wentworth course is looking a treat.
Most clubs are in the middle of AGM's and new committee appointments, more news on that front next week.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE - ROUND OF THE WEEK
Great weather, great courses, equals great scores in the Sunraysia Golf Range - Round of the Week. Marg Hammence was eight better than her mark at Red Cliffs as was Simon Guthrie at Coomealla and Wayne Dahmes at Mildura. The top two rounds of the week were Max Turvey's 62 net in the Monthly Medal at Merbein and Ian Burrows +10 at Coomealla. Being a Monthly Medal Max gets the nod by a nose and can pick up one doxen Srixon AD333 from the Sunraysia Golf Range 347 Ontario Ave Mildura by Friday.
Contact me with any golf information, stories or opinions at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
16/11/10
APPLEBY WINS AUSTRALIAN MASTERS
Stuart Appleby was a surprise winner of the JB Were Australian Masters on Sunday when he came from the clouds to win from nowhere. On Sunday he drained some crucial putts on 16 and 17 which set up his victory. Last week he played poorly in the HSBC tournament in Shanghai China finishing 11 over par, which included a closing 80 to for equal 69th out of a field of 80. It just goes to show yet again, the man who putts well is usually the man who wins. Tiger Woods found his putter on the last nine but he had left his run just a little bit late, whereas Adam Bland just kept burning the side of the hole. Appleby came to Melbourne with low expectations, even though Victoria golf club is a course he has played at many times over the years, particularly when he was a teenage amateur up the road at Yarra Yarra golf club. In the late 80's and early 90's when this tournament was played at Huntingdale, Appleby who was still an amateur, was always on the practice putting green in front of the club house practising his putting for hours during the tournament. It would be of no surprise if at some stage in the future if he were to admit that the Australian Masters in Melbourne was the tournament that he had always most wanted to win. You could see back then that this kid was destined to be a professional golfer of substance. Appleby played in Mildura as a junior for the Northern District Golf Association and knows Mildura quite well. Several years later I was fortunate to play 36 holes with him in the pre qualifying for the 1991 Victorian Amateur championship. He went on to win that championship and turned professional in 1992. Since turning pro he has won 15 tournaments including 9 on the US Tour, the Australian Open and now the Masters. This surely must put him in Australia's top 10 golfers of all time. I have met him several times since, as well as interviewing him on three occasions on the local Sunday morning Sunraysia Golf Show. After the last interview in 2004 he agreed to do a promo for a serial that we had put together at 3MA called The Ifonly's. The serial was done on a shoe string budget and was never destined to become a golfing version of Blue Hills but it had 10 episodes, after each episode Stuart would be heard to sign off saying "make sure listen to 3MA for the Ifonly's". We made some CD's of the 10 episodes but I decided (on advice) not to send him a copy, in case, after hearing it, he would say "If only I had listened to it first".
BLANDY YOU BEAUTY
Adam Bland represents South Australia these days but many of his extended family still live in Sunraysia. Adam's dad Ian had two brothers Graham (Tommy), Trevor and a sister Noelene. Adam went to school in Buronga before the family moved to Adelaide just over 20 years ago. As a junior he started his sporting career as a tennis player and won the under 13 S A championship in Adelaide as a right hander. At fourteen he began playing golf as a right hander (with a left handed back the front grip) using dads clubs on a nearby football ground at Flagstaff Hill. Soon after his interest in golf increased and dad bought him a left handed set of clubs. His golfing career began at Thaxted Park then he moved to Royal Adelaide and finally back to Flagstaff Hill. From there he was spotted by the Australian Institute of Sport and he moved to Melbourne to continue his development under their guidance with other golfers such as James Nitties, Aaron Price and Craig Scott. Since then it has not been easy for the left hander as he has played on tours all over the world in the last six years. This year he has made less than $100,000 on the secondary US Nationwide Tour hardly covered expenses after doing much better in 2009 when he made $185,000. There are a number of Aussies on the Nationwide tour including Alastair Presnell, Steve Bowditch, Scott Gardiner, Andrew Buckle and Nick Flanagan who all stick together and share motel and travel costs. Last year two of Adam's closest mates in Cameron Percy and Michael Simm qualified for the US PGA Tour. Today he plays stage two of the qualifying school to try and win his way onto that rich US Tour. On Sunday he pocketed his biggest cheque so far with $153,000 and intends to move his girlfriend Rebecca and their daughter (due on Christmas day) to the US. Though his dad Ian swapped allegiance from Collingwood to the Crows, Adam has steadfastly stayed with the black and whites. Up until very recently Adam sported a black and white grip on his putter and talked up his love of the pies all last week. Adam and his mates watch Aussie rules on pay TV whenever they can in the US. On Monday Ian and Trevor drove back from Melbourne to Adelaide after four of the most exciting days of their lives. Uncle Trevor (who works locally for Mildura truck Centre) was gob smacked at his nephews performance saying "we are just so proud of Adam. Not only for the way he played but also how kind he was to some of the kids along the fairways. He must have autographed and signed at least 20 golf balls that he gave to the kids. By Sunday there were about 30 family and friends following him every step of the way. I was just so nervous I could hardly watch. He was so calm and relaxed, it was just unbelievable". On Sunday Ian and Trevor and the family found it hard to get near Adam as there was about 300 people following him and cheering his every move and calling out "go Blandy". Ian summed up his son's performance saying " Adam said at the start of the week that he would be happy just to make the cut, to lead for so long and get pipped by one shot was just a fantastic performance. It would have been nice for him, and us if he had won but we are all just so proud of him". Since taking on Ian Triggs as his new coach last year, Adam's game has really started to improve. Triggs most famous pupil is Karrie Webb and he has suggested that Adam has all the shots to become successful on the US PGA Tour if he can only just qualify this year or next. With a bit of luck this most recent change of form and fortune might well be the kick-start he needs to propel him onto the US Tour next year. Win lose or draw though, Ian, Trevor and most of the family will make their yearly pilgrimage up to Coolum for the Australian PGA in December to support Adam in their Bland version of Follow the Sun.
TASMANIAN GOLF TOUR - MARCH 2011
In September we took 30 people on our sixth Sunraysia Golf Tour to New Zealand. Next March we are taking our third Sunraysia Golf Tour to Tasmania, which I regard as Australia's smaller version of New Zealand. Some of the golf courses in Tassie are superb. Mowbray and Ulverstone are two of my favourites as are Tasmania and Royal Hobart. Throw in the gorgeous nine hole lay out at Port Arthur - Tasman golf club, and most people will go home happy. To finish up the tour we will be doing something really special, staying on course at Barnbougle Dunes, regarded as Australia's number one public access course and it's newest arrival, Lost Farm which is next door and part of the Barnbougle experience. Interspersed along the way will be a wilderness heritage steam train journey, two cruises and lots of fun. Out motto since we began our golf tours business is "it's always nice to meet nice people and memories live longer than dreams'. Every year we take away folk, many of whom have never been on a golf tour before, who quite often write back afterwards and endorse our motto as more fact than hearsay.
So far 16 people have decided to join us, we have only 12 spots still available. Ring Kym on 0408310532 or drop into the Sunraysia Golf Range for more information and a full itinerary.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The inclement weather last week didn't dampen the scores too much with the usual high standard to win the Sunraysia Golf Range - Round of the Week still required. 78 year old Noel Rogers had 42 points at Mildura and bettered his age by one which is well worthy of a mention, but just off the pace. Aaron Blake at Merbein, Janet Stanbrook at Mildura and John Wass at Riverside all had 43 points bettering their handicap by seven shots. The Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week was won comfortably by another veteran in Al Terrell from Riverside with 45 points. Al has probably played as many rounds of golf at Riverside in the last 20 years as anyone I know, he loves it. Al can pick up his prize of one dozen Srixon AD333 by Friday.
Contact me with your golfing information, stories or opinions at Email golf@sunraysiagolfttours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
10/11/10
GREG RHODES CONQUERS COOMEALLA
Greg Rhodes began the third round of the 2010 Coomealla golf club championship three shots clear of Cameron Stewart on Saturday. Rhodes was almost speechless before the game due to a lacerated tongue he received while chopping wood the Sunday before. Starting on the tenth hole he proceed to tear up the tough Coomealla circuit, shooting a five under par 31 for his first nine holes. This is awesome golf at any level, more particularly in a club championship under the sternest of conditions. On the second nine his driver deserted him and collapsed with a 39. No doubt, he was thinking a 64 or 65 was there for the taking, but being Greg, he would never mention it. This gave him a three round total of 72-70-70 and a ten shot lead over Cameron Stewart who had recorded a disappointing 77. Rhodes then played his worst round of the championship on Sunday for a 73 which was good enough to win by fourteen strokes from Stewart. There are few clubs around Australia where a three under par total over 72 holes wouldn't win the club championship. At 51 years of age, Rhodes is still showing the young blokes how to consistently get the job done, irrespective of the weather, bunkers full of water, medical set backs and opponent competition. Yes, he has lost a few, but over the last thirty years those losses have been few and far between. You know, walking into a golf club he is one of the last people you would think to be such a champion, but he is. He looks like he's going out for a Sunday morning nine holes with a few mates and never ever talks himself up. Doesn't have to, as his clubs and subsequent scores do that for him Long may he reign, even if it is in daggy old jeans and runners.
AUSTRALIAN MASTERS AT VICTORIA
Tiger Woods is back in Melbourne this week to defend his 2009 Australian Masters title. Circumstances have changed significantly since that memorable last day at Kingston Heath golf club for Tiger and the golfing world in general. The 2009 Aussie Masters was Tigers last win, he really hasn't been a factor this year in most tournaments he has contested. There is no doubt that wherever he plays the sizzle is almost always bigger than the sausage. This more so in recent times since his form has dropped off. Victoria golf club presents a different challenge than that of Kingston Heath. It is a much tighter golf course and subsequently many players will be leaving their drivers in the bag for most of the day. I was at Victoria in 2002 when Stephen Allan won the Australian Open. He did it by keeping his ball on the fairway and putting brilliantly. Woods is still the best player in the world when his game is on song. It really all revolves around his tee shots because after that he is dynamite. There are lots of birdie holes on offer at Victoria and the last two holes are par fives where eagles will be plentiful. It won't surprise if the winner comes in 20 under par this week. That would be great because spectators and viewers love to see eagles and birdies, not double and triple bogies. Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby or even Nathan Green could be our champion this year. Green is a beautiful driver of the ball and is in top form lately. Sergio Garcia hasn't given a yelp since Greg Norman's daughter dropped him and he has only played sparingly in the last three months. It's hard to see him as a factor this week. Carmillo Villegas is the smokey and could be the biggest challenger from the top line visitors. Make sure you watch the last couple of days as Victoria is a sensational golf course, Woods is the best ever, no doubt about it, and it might be our last opportunity to see him in Australia. He is a champion golfer and that could lift him over the line. Champions can lose their swing but they never lose their will to win and the killer instinct that is required at the top level. This week I am hoping that with a touch of brilliant play and a bit of good luck three Aussies might land the trifecta - Green, Allenby and Ogilvy. Wouldn't that be something?
GOLF PROMOTION OF SUNRAYSIA'S GOLF COURSES AND TOURNAMENTS
During the week I had a meeting with two Mildura Rural City Council councillors with the view to organising some funding for a promotion of Sunraysia's major golf tournaments and our beautiful golfing facilities. The councillors were very open to working with our golf clubs to put together a strategy to attract more golfers to Mildura. Our district has hosted some big tournaments over the last ten years but we really haven't capitalised on their success with follow up advertising and referrals. There are several reasons for this including, lack of funding, volunteers running events and tournament who are only temporary appointments and lack of understanding about such follow up. Subsequently our district is missing out on hosting many events that we could get if there was a chain of procedure that is needed to be followed. It is one thing to promote events within our own district ( which is not good either) but to reach the wider spectrum of golfers in other regions is much harder. Some events, tournaments, golf clubs and golf regions do it so much better than others. Quite frankly the promotion of Sunraysia golf outside of our region is almost non existent. For this to change the golf clubs themselves must get off their collective backsides and meet with the council and put a strategy together, otherwise our major tournaments will cease to exist within 3 to 5 years and all of our golf clubs will be relying on chook raffles to survive.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE - ROUND OF THE WEEK
This week there were some great performances on district golf courses. Coomealla's club championships produced some great performances from Greg Rhodes but as the Sunraysia Golf Range - Round of the Week is a handicap award, Greg misses out. Al Terrell at Riverside and Col Harrison at Mildura both bettered their handicaps by seven shots as did Jim Douglas at Wentworth. At Riverside Scott Connolly and Jeff Riordan both excelled with nine better than their marks which would win most weeks of the year. On Sunday at Riverside Graeme Sievewright had 46 points in the annual die hards day. To better your handicap by ten strokes is a Herculean performance and Graeme must have called on all of his resources to pull it off. As such Graeme win one dozen Srixon golf ball from the Sunraysia Golf Range which must be collected by Friday.
Contact me with your golfing information or stories on Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
3/11/10
RHODES IN CHARGE AT COOMEALLA
Greg Rhodes took the lead after round one of the 2010 Coomealla golf club championships on Saturday recording an even par 72 in testing weather conditions. Forty players elected not to play on Saturday due to the inclement weather leaving a field of 93 but Rhodes was undeterred. The harder the conditions the bigger advantage for the best players and Rhodes always finds a way of rising to the occasion as he went out in 38 and came home in 34. In second place two shots back was the ever reliable Cameron Stewart who had 74. Stewart has been very consistent over the years but has never been able to snatch a club championship. This has been mainly due to golfers of the ilk of Rhodes and Ashley Whitehouse. Ryan Laird was a further two strokes back in third position. Defending champion Jake Laubsch was eight off the pace after a disappointing 80. On Sunday morning disaster struck for Rhodes when he was chopping wood and hit a piece of steel embedded in a log, which caused him to bite his tongue severing it severely. After spending a considerable time waiting for attention in out patients he abandoned the wait so as not to miss his tee off time, he relied on pain killers to get him through his round. They must have worked a treat as he came in with a great round of 35-35-70. Understandably his playing partners said that his usual conversational exchanges were replaced by a steely concentration and focussed strategy. Rhodes nearest rival, Cameron Stewart was also in the groove as he hit fourteen fairways and fifteen greens in regulation in posting a 37-34-71. If only a few putts had fallen, Stewart could easily have had 67 or 68. It is the best I have seen Cameron play, if he can maintain that form on Saturday he will give Rhodes a real run for his money. Unfortunately Laird shot an 81 and Laubsch's title defence crumbled after an 80. With two rounds to go this weekend only two players remain in contention. For one it will be a chance to regain that mantle of number one in the district that slipped off the mantle piece for only a few months, for the other a chance to win a first ever club championship and beat Sunraysia's best ever golfer.
JACK TYRRELL - WHISPERING JACK
On Saturday many of Sunraysia's golfing fraternity attended the funeral of Jack Tyrrell. Jack was a member of Red Cliffs for many years and had two stints as president in 179-80 and 2001-02. Jack was born with a voice that he projected with consummate ease and without ever having to meaningly raise his voice. Jack was an avid golfer after he gave up another game he had loved - cricket. As a fastish medium pacer Jack would often ask the question of the umpire if he hit the pads or got a nick. Folklore had it that on at least one occasion whilst appealing a decision whilst playing in Red Cliffs a umpire officiating in Ouyen responded "yes he's out". Jack often said that "the only reason they elected me as president at Red Cliffs golf club was that they couldn't afford a microphone". This of course was not the case as one had already been donated! One Saturday Graeme Duffy and Andrew Wood were teeing off on the 16th at Red Cliffs when they heard Jack scream out "you little Ripper". Woody thought Jack must have birdied the 11th which was about 350 metres away. After the game Woody approached Jack and said "did you birdie the 11th Jack"? To which Jack replied "no the 2nd". which is another 400 metres away! Jack achieved many things for the club during his presidency including the erection of the equipment shed and greenkeepers quarters and as such the "dad army" that assist with course maintenance every Monday have asked the committee to name the building The Jack Tyrrell Pavilion. In 2001 Jack was elected president of the Sunraysia Veteran Golfers Association and shortly after the committee decided to apply for the 2004 National Championships. Sunraysia duly won this honour and Jack approached me to be the tournament director. We had always got on well together and I was happy to accept the position in the knowledge that I had Jacks full support. The 2004 AVGA championship hosted by Sunraysia saw over 700 competitors and their wives which is still by far the biggest and most successful championship in the AVGA's history. Jack was fantastic, as were all the local vets that assisted. At the closing presentation dinner at the Setts, Jack's wife Marion and two of her friends performed an Andrews Sisters routine that nearly bought the house down. The ladies did three encores and it was a wonderful way to conclude the weeks activities. My lasting memory was that of Jack Tyrrell who couldn't take his eyes off Marion. I don't think he realised the other two ladies were in the group! To be still so in love after 50 years of marriage said a lot about Jack and also Marion. After a week of highlights that was the one moment that I enjoyed the most. Good on you Jack, we won't forget you.
GOLF EQUIPMENT
As a result of the Australian dollar becoming so strong compared to the US dollar golf equipment prices have begun to plummet. I began working in the golf industry almost 25 years ago and am amazed at some of the deals that are now available. One aspect that unfortunately has arisen in recent times however, is the counterfeiting of all brands of golf equipment. In Beijing on September 14 the US Golf Manufacturing Anti-Counterfeiting Group raided a golf equipment store in the Yashow Market which is one of several shopping centres in Beijing that are frequented by tourists and bargain hunters. The raid led to the arrest of the store owners and the seizure of 7,474 counterfeit golf products including golf clubs, balls, shoes, hats, gloves,bags, caps and other accessories. The local pricing bureau determined that the value of the seized golf products was $850,746 (USD) based on the retail price of the authentic goods. This raid was one of many that have been carried out by Anti-Counterfeiting Group which was formed in 2004 and whose members include Acushnet, Titleist - Footjoy, Callaway, Top Flite, Ben Hogan, Cleveland, Srixon, Never Compromise, Nike, Ping, Taylor Made, Adidas and Ashworth. Unfortunately there are many counterfeiters operating around the world who copy golf equipment and sell it on the internet. Be wary of any product that is unusually low in price or you may finish up with something that looks like but isn't the real thing.
SUNRAYSIA GOLF RANGE - ROUND OF THE WEEK
The Sunraysia Golf Range Round of the Week came down to a countback again this week with the weather dictating few really low scores. At Wentworth Ron Lyell had six better than his handicap as did Jim Stephen at Riverside. Over at Coomealla Richard Tankard stoned them on Wednesday with a seven under 65. On Saturday the conditions were pretty tough and for Tracey Wright to have plus 7 at Red Cliffs was enough to clinch her one dozen Srixons and the Sunraysia Golf Range - Round of the Week. Call into the Range by Friday Tracey to pick up your prize.
Contact me with your golfing information or opinion at Email golf@sunraysiagolftours.com.au
Good golfing to all.
 
27/10/10
SWANSONG FOR JAKE LAUBSCH?
Defending champion Jake Laubsch may be playing his last local major tournament when he contests the 2010 Coomealla golf club championships this weekend. The South Australian Golf Association have targeted Jake and his family over the last few months and a move to Adelaide is planned by early next year. This would be a great opportunity for Jake but it is a big move to uproot the whole family so there are some details that need to be taken care of before it happens. The SAGA has obviously been impressed with Jakes play in some of the Victorian junior tournaments and see him as a State player of the future at both junior and senior levels. Laubsch has been our number one player this year winning the Sunraysia District Golf Association's championship at Mildura in July and playing superbly at Country Week last month.
The Coomealla championship will be his first time as a defending champion and as such he will be the hunted after being the hunter last year. Greg Rhodes is his obvious main opposition and has rarely ever been touted as the number two seed in any local tournament. Rhodes took a four stroke advantage into the final 18 holes last year only to lose to Laubsch. The same result occurred in the SDGA championship in July when Rhodes again had a four stroke advantage going into the second round, only to lose to Laubsch again. Many think that Laubsch has Rhodes measure but I'm not sure if that's true. It sets up for a delicious finale to the year, particularly if Laubsch and Rhodes are neck and neck going into the last round on Sunday week. On paper it looks like a two horse race but Jacob Slimmon, Andrew or Cameron Stewart would be chances if they play at their very best, which is hard to do at Coomealla for four rounds. A big field of one hundred and thirty players will hit off on Saturday but only one will hold the cup on Sunday week, will it be Laubsch or Rhodes?
PHIL LAWN WINS RIVERTOWN'S CLASSIC
Phil Lawn was the 54 hole men's champion of the 2010 Rivertown's Classic played at Loxton, Wentworth and Mildura golf clubs at the weekend. Lawn played extremely well shooting a career best 69 off the stick for 43 stableford points at Wentworth on Saturday. Two 38 pointers at Loxton and Mildura saw him win by 11 points from Loxton's Daryl Tyler. In the ladies section Loxton's Karen Flight had a blinder averaging 44 points each day. Flights aggregate of 132 points is quite staggering to play so well on three entirely different courses, she won by 13 points from club mate Deirdre Fogden. Numbers for the event were disappointing and the organisers really have to look at promoting the event more or it will disappear before too long. All of our major events need a real re-jig and promotion both within our district and to other regions is a big must.
PERCY SECOND IN LAS VEGAS
Former Mildura South schoolboy Cameron Percy missed out on his biggest ever pay day when he was pipped on the fourth play off hole in Las Vegas on Sunday after playing opponent Johathon Byrd holed in one. Percy still pocketed $378,400 but needs to finish fourth or better to win another $250,00 next week in the Children's Miracle Network Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort tournament in Florida to retain his playing card on the US PGA Tour in 2011. The Las Vegas tournament was Percy's best finish for the year but a win would have secured his future as the winner receives a two exemption on the Tour and invitations to many other events on Tours around the world. Adding to the excitement of the day was having his mother Sandra in the gallery. It was her first ever trip to the US to see Cameron and his wife Katie and her grandsons Liam 4 and Ashton 2 who live in Raleigh North Carolina. Cameron played only tennis during his time in Mildura from 1981 to 1988. His father Ross won the Coomealla golf club championship during this time and was an excellent contributor in Sunraysia's Country Week team. It was two years later before he took up golf whilst living in Warragul. He then moved down to Melbourne in 1993 as a 19 year old and joined Southern Golf Club. At Southern he played division one pennant against Aaron Baddeley, Marcus Fraser and Geoff Ogilvy whom he defeated five and four in the Victorian Amateur Championship in 1996. Cameron turned professional and enjoyed moderate success winning the Victorian PGA Championship at Sanctuary Lakes and three Von Nida secondary tour events. Last year he gained prominence after being paired with Tiger Woods in the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath. He gained so much from that experience of playing with the world number one. Afterwards Cameron said he was amazed at the control that Woods showed during that round (Woods won the tournament). Woods and his caddy Steve Williams had prior knowledge of where the pins would be on the greens the following day and planned exactly what club to use off the tee and where to hit the ball to open up the best angle to attack each pin placement. As they walked the course and spoke between shots, Woods showed interest i