Henry Forbes has “repaired” the games of more players at the Mount Gambier Golf Club than he can remember. The orthopaedic surgeon is the “go-to” man for many of those players in need of hip or knee replacements, but two weeks ago it was his own game that was in urgent need of repair when he finished in 73rd place out of the field of 75 with a demoralising 20 stableford points.
“That round was an absolute train wreck,” Forbes, who plays off a handicap of 13, said. But such are the vagaries of golf that just seven days later he was able to turn his form completely around, finishing on top of the leaderboard with an excellent 43 points.
That score came courtesy of 78 off the stick after shooting 39 on each nine. “It’s a long, long time since I have had 78 at the Mount Gambier Golf Club,” he said. “And I had two three-putts as well although I did have a few one-putts from long range.” The highlight of his round came on the tough par-four 13th where a brilliant six-iron approach left him with a “gimme” three-footer for a birdie and four points.
That made up for missing a four-footer for birdie on the parfour 12th hole. Forbes was one of the last players in on the day after it seemed almost certain Adelaide visitor Robert Bond, who played in the morning, would claim the win. Bond, a member at West Lakes, shot a superb two-over par 74 off the stick from his seven handicap to notch 41 points.
He started modestly with 18 points on the front nine after seven pars and two bogeys – on the 2nd and 9th holes. Another bogey followed on the tough par-three 10th, but fourpoint birdies on the 12th and 13th helped him compile 23 points on the inward nine, shooting an even-par 36 off the stick.
One point further back in third place was veteran Peter Buckingham who rode a hot putter to record his best score in several months. Meanwhile the field of 105 players who teed it up in Saturday’s stableford competition had no excuses with the course in great shape and the weather perfect for good golf.
And it was a player who admits he struggles in windy conditions thanks to a high ball flight who took full advantage. Playing off a 12 handicap, Jake Dempsey set the pace early with 43 points, a score none of the afternoon players could match. The total was set up by a superb front nine of 23 points thanks to eight pars and a solitary bogey on the par-four 5th.
His back nine was not quite as good, but five more pars and four bogeys-on the 10th, 13th, 14th and 17th – added another 20 points for the winning total, one clear of Graham Robinson. It was Dempsey’s first win in A Grade and saw his handicap cut to 10.7.
“I have been as low as 20 before, but I definitely want to get to single figures,” he said, Robinson, who played off 22, was helped in no small part by a purple patch between holes six through 12. He played those seven holes in one-over par to notch 21 of his 42 points.
That was easily good enough to claim top honours in C Grade, finishing four points ahead of Matthew Bueti. Dempsey had an even bigger winning margin in A Grade, club president Trent Eitzen taking second place with 38 points. And former brilliant cricketer Neil Quirk claimed victory in B Grade, the 14-handicapper notching 40 points to finish two clear of Bryan Hunt.
A stableford competition on Saturday saw seventeen women participate and the in-form Jennifer Van Rijthoven was again in the winner’s circle finishing with 38 points, one clear of Penne Saffin. Andrea Pegler was a strong winner in the women’s par competition last Wednesday which doubled as the third round of the Summer Salver.