Practice continues to pay off for relative newcomer David Millard, who took up golf last year after retiring and won his third competition in the past three months at the Mount Gambier Golf Club on Saturday.
Two sessions on the practice fairways each week have helped him straighten out his long game and despite some difficulties on the greens managed to come in with 42 points to lead all-comers in the Stableford event.
Plagued by sliced drives early on, Millard now hits his long and often straight, combined with much-improved irons and fairway woods to give himself every chance to notch up more winning scores until the handicapper catches up with him.
While his 42 points on Saturday was the best score of the day, it could have been so much more had his putter been more co-operative and had he not got the wobbles on the final few holes.
Playing off a 29 handicap, he had 45 off the stick on the front nine for 23 points despite three-putting the 4th and 5th holes after hitting both greens in regulation and having relatively straight-forward putts of around 15 feet for birdie.
He picked up two more three-pointers on the 10th and 11th before three-putting the 12th and a four-putt green on the 13th.
He regained his composure to pick up three-pointers on the 14th and 15th, but was lucky to pick up one point each on the 16th and 17th before adding two more on the 18th for a total of 19 on the inward nine.
He admitted it was not the first time he had struggled to finish off a good round – something he is clearly capable of – adding he had been disappointed with his putting.
“I have actually been putting quite well, but clearly that was not the case on Saturday,” he said.
His score led him to the C Grade victory by two points from Thomas Miles who cost himself the chance of shooting an even better score by wiping the 3rd and 11th holes.
In A Grade it was the in-form Kent Comley who claimed the top prize after signing for 39 points.
Playing off an eight handicap, Comley picked up 19 points on the front nine after a two-over par 38 off the stick.
Things got even better on the back nine, with birdies on the 11th and 13th getting him back to even par with just five holes to play.
Unfortunately, he could only manage two points in the next three holes with a double bogey on 14, a bogey on 15 and a wipe on the 16th.
In the end a birdie on the 18th for three points was good enough to give him a three-point buffer over runner-up Nick Black.
In B Grade Leigh McManus showed the benefit of a four-week break from the game by returning 40 points to finish five clear of runner-up Simon Browning.
While Millard topped the leaderboard on Saturday despite some poor putting, in Thursday’s Stableford competition it was Terry Janeway who won thanks to some excellent work on the greens.
The 12-handicapper had eight one-putt greens on his way to 40 points, highlighted by a three-over par 39 on the outward nine.
One-pointers on the 16th and 17th threatened to derail his bid for victory, but he was able to hang on and finish two points clear of runner-up Peter Emetlis.