Fantastic weather and course conditions resulted in a string of superb scores and some career milestones at the Mount Gambier Golf Club. Last Thursday saw A Graders Kevin Cook and Richard Gosling shoot sub-par rounds and for the first time in their playing careers, both play bogey-free golf for the entire 18 holes.
Then on Saturday, Ben Maxwell had the stewards raising their eyebrows after he signed for an incredible 47 stableford points – which could have been even more had his putter behaved.
But even that round was almost overshadowed by club champion Darren Bilney who shot a brilliant five-under par round of 67 off the stick to come in with 39 points. Playing off plus two, he had the perfect start with birdies on the first three holes, before a lip-out putt for par on the par-four ninth moved him back to two-under on the out-ward nine.
He got back on track with birdies on the par-five 11th and 15th holes before another speed bump popped up in the form of a bogey four from the greenside bunker on the 16th. Two more birdies on holes 17 and 18 saw him finish with a 67, the best score at the Attamurra layout for several months.
Meanwhile Maxwell started his round superbly with 25 points on the front nine, helped by a four-point par on the second and a four-point birdie on the fourth. Four three-pointers to finish the front nine set the 24-handicapper up for the round of his life, but a handful of three putts (not to mention a four-putt), saw him come back to the field early on the back nine.
He regrouped with a fourpoint par on the 14th and three-pointers on the final four holes to add 22 more for a total of 47. That was easily the best of the day, but well short of what might have been had his putter worked as well as his driver and irons.
The score was six better than C Grade runner-up Charlie Finch, while 40 points from Josh Knowles was good enough to win A Grade by a single point from fellow 10-handicapper Jason Mann. Brett Shepherdson returned 43 points off his 16 handicap to win B Grade by two from Brad Von Duve who is back in good form after a recent hip operation.
Last Thursday, Cook and playing partner Bryan Hunt decided to squeeze in a round before work, teeing off as soon as daylight allowed them to see where their drives had gone.
Cook need not have worried, he birdied the par-five first hole and found the remaining fairways with most of his drives and his irons were just as good. In fact, he hit every green in regulation except the 15th, but still managed to get “up-and-down” there for a par, one of 17 he produced in the round.
Combined with his opening-hole birdie he shot 71 off the stick from his six-handicap to finish on top of the leaderboard with 43 points. “That’s the first time I have broken 72 at the course and I have certainly never had that many pars in a round,” Cook said. As good as Cook’s round was, he finished just a single point ahead of 10-handicapper Graham Greenwood who shot an excellent 76 off the stick.
Gosling was one point further back in third place, thrilled that he also managed to produce a bogey-free round of 69 off the stick. Playing off two, the 54-year-old was not as good as Cook from tee to green, needing to get “up-down” seven times to ensure no bogeys found their way onto his card. “Only having 26 putts for the round made the difference” Gosling said.
“That’s the first time I have been bogey-free for 18 holes in the 39 years I have been Playing golf.” The satisfaction did not last too long, however.
On Saturday he started with bogeys on the first three holes and a double on the fourth.