Form reversed for surprise win

Peter Gardiner was the first to admit no-one was more surprised than himself when he produced a major form reversal to win Thursday’s Mount Gambier Golf Club stableford competition.

The previous Thursday he had managed just 26 points to finish 69th in the 82-man field, then two days later his 27 points left him in 88th place out of 107 starters in the Saturday stableford competition.

But that meant nothing when the 78-year-old stepped onto the 1st tee to start what would be his best round for many a long day.

Playing off a 23 handicap, he picked up three points for a par on the opening hole before adding four more thanks to a par on the difficult par-four 2nd hole.

Neither were regulation pars, Gardiner putting onto the green from well off both times before sinking the shot.

“I cannot chip to save myself so I nearly always putt on if I can,” he said.

The rest of the front nine was solid, picking up two more three-pointers after parring the 5th and 8th to make the turn with an impressive 22 points.

Playing in the afternoon, three-pointers on the 10th and 14th had him in a good position to overtake morning leader Peter Emetlis, but many a good round has been derailed on the final few holes, so Gardiner was not taking anything for granted.

Unfortunately, that threatened to be the case again and a lost ball on the par-five 15th hole gave him his first wiped hole of the day.

But the setback proved temporary, with another three-pointer on the par-three 16th, thanks again to a putt from well short of the green that ran up to the hole for an easy par, getting things back on track.

Two more three-pointers on the final two holes was enough to see him sign for 41 points, one clear of Emetlis who had to settle for the runners-up prize for the second Thursday in succession.

The question would be, could Gardiner repeat that form in Saturday’s par competition, or would the struggles of the previous rounds come back to haunt him?

As it turned out, he shot -9 to finish 102nd in the large field, saying “I could not hit it out of my shadow”.

But he was not the only one – Emetlis finished 106th after shooting -10, proving one more time that golf is indeed “a very funny game”.

One person who did not struggle on Saturday however, was Henry Haywood, the Blue Lake visitor shooting +4 to finish on top of the leaderboard to give him a two-shot victory over Jordan Millard in C Grade.

In A Grade it was Sam Letizia who claimed the top prize, edging out Adrian Ballantyne and Lachlan Rees after the trio all finished on +3.

It was a deserved result for Letizia who was one good drive away from winning the Monthly Medal earlier this month.

In B Grade a birdie on the 18th hole was enough to give Simon Tulak victory over Port MacDonnell visitor Jacob Reed on a count back.

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