Around that came “out of the blue” has justified David Anderson’s decision last year to put his bowls away and dust off his golf clubs.
The 70-year-old turned in the best score of the day at Attamurra on Saturday, signing for a +3 in the par round in the field of 106 players.
Anderson first joined the Mount Gambier Golf Club back in 1973 after moving from Clare and was good enough to get his handicap down as low as nine.
These days he’s off about 22, a result largely due to playing very little golf over the past couple of decades.
“Work and family took over in the 90s, which meant golf took second place,” the former ETSA worker-turned vegetable seed grower said.
“I ended up playing bowls for about 10 years, but then last winter I had a knee replacement and when it got better I decided to see if I could still swing a golf club.” His form in recent weeks had been improving and on Saturday it finally came together.
“The difference was I hit some fairways and got close enough to the greens to get up and down a few times,” Anderson said.
“I had not been hitting many fairways until Saturday …
I’m usually off to the right.” He hit the ball so well from the start of his round he raced to +3 after the first five holes, helped by pars on the 1st, 4th and 5th.
Unfortunately he undid that good early work, falling back to square after wiping the 8th, 9th and 10th.
Luckily he stopped the rot just in time, managing halves on the 11th and 12th before picking up shots on the 13th and 14th.
He gave one of those back by wiping the par-five 15th, but came home with two more pluses to finish at +3.
That saw him top the leaderboard, one clear of a group of five players, including three-time club champion Darren Bilney.
Playing off a handicap of +2, Bilney shot 68 off the stick after birdies on the 4th, 7th, 9th, 15th and 16th.
His only blemish was a bogey on the par-four 5th hole, although he also picked up a minus on the 18th hole despite making a par four and only halved the 15th despite making a birdie.
Even that fantastic effort was not quite good enough to snare a top-two finish in A Grade, however, with Jason Millhouse edging out Bryan Walsh and Bilney on a countback.
The B Grade winner was Moryn Sullivan who finished with +1 to beat David McPherson by a shot.
Anderson’s +3 in C Grade saw him beat Mitchell Broome, also by a single shot.
While Saturday’s weather left players with no excuses, Thursday’s field was decimated by heavy rain and strong wind in the morning which reduced the field to just 60.
In the end a countback was needed to separate Peter Dempsey and Tim MacLean after both carded 40 stableford points.
Dempsey got the nod thanks to his better back nine, manag- ing 21 points – despite a four putt (if you count one from just off the green) on the 17th for one point – to go with 19 on the front.
MacLean on the other hand did his best work on the front nine, despite teeing off mid-morning.
Playing off a 13 handicap, he shot an excellent two-over par 38 off the stick to notch 23 points and was on track for a real day out after reaching the 16th tee with 37 points.
Unfortunately he stumbled at just the wrong time, a wipe on the par-three 16th ultimately costing him victory.
Sunday saw the second of four short course events scheduled for 2021, with David Boyce scoring 40 stableford points to beat men’s club captain Peter Waters on a countback.