After missing out on the major prize by the barest of margins last week, Tim Smith went one better in Saturday’s Stableford competition at the Blue Lake Golf Club. Smith, finally reaching the holy grail of single figure handicap (9), had a regulation 19 points on the outward nine with his only highlight being a birdie on the fifth.
He soon switched it up a gear, building on that solid foundation, to par the first six holes on the back nine before his only bogey on the 16th. He soon corrected that by birdying the 17th to give him a perfect 35 and 23 stableford points.
It was good enough to hold off Zac Walker who took Smith’s place in the hard luck story of the week. Walker (19) had to settle for the B Grade win after turning with 22 points and a first-hole birdie. He still had an impressive 20 points on the inward nine despite three double bogeys.
Veteran Kevin Howell took out third overall with his 40 points. Starting par, birdie, par Howell was eyeing off a good finish, but tree trouble on the eighth saw him walk off with a costly seven. Long term member David Dowie claimed his rewards with a win in A Grade.
Dowie (9) came home strongly with 17 points over the last six holes thanks mainly to a birdie on the 17th. The good finish worked wonders in the count-back against Michael Watts (10) who also finished on 39 points.
Watts hit two birdies to collect 20 points at the half-way mark, but he also found tree trouble on the dogleg 15th which resulted in his only wipe for the day. Third-place finisher Mike Dedonatis (5) would like to play the innocuous 12th hole again.
A double bogey cost him dearly after having 21 points on the front nine. Following B Grade winner Walker and runner-up Howell was expectant father Conway Johnson. Johnson had a good round early with 21 points, but could only manage another 16 points.
In C Grade Gavin Sparrow had an easy win until the last four holes where he almost threw it away. With a chasing flock, Sparrow (28) can thank his handicap advantage for hanging on, just edging out Brenton Speck (21) and Victor Smith (26) who almost caught him.
Cherryl Hill has threatened to take out an overall win in the women’s competition and did just that on Saturday. Playing off a handicap of 22, Hill quickly had 22 points on the board and recovered from a shaky start on the back to collect another 17. Elegant right-hander Lesley McPherson was two points behind in second.
She has been working hard at her golf with her par on the 12th evidence. Jo Ashby (19) took a while to get going, but once into her groove she showed her ability. A disappointing wipe on the 13th took some gloss off, but her graceful swing earned her pars on three of the last five holes for 36 points.