Youngster tees up finals berth

April could end up being a memorable month for McDonald Park Primary School student and promising golfer Blake Schroder. The 10-year-old has already booked his place in the final of the D Grade division of the club championships at the Mount Gambier Golf Club.

And in Saturday’s stableford competition he had a round to remember when he broke 100 for the first time to notch 41 points and top the leaderboard. The youngster, who has been playing golf competitively for about 18 months, is also a keen junior footballer and cricketer.

But golf is his favourite sport and he is nothing if not ambitious about how far he can go. While most 10-year-olds would have no idea what the PGA Tour is, Blake knows full well and is already dreaming of one day making it to that level.

Before that though he is also thinking of the day he beats his Dad, three-time Mount Gambier Golf Club champion Hayden Schroder, for the first time. That may be a way off yet, given Hayden, who plays off a one handicap, will be eyeing off a shot at a fourth title when he lines up in this weekend’s semi-finals.

But Blake showed enough on Saturday to suggest the sky could well be the limit. Playing off a 31 handicap, he picked up 12 points in his first four holes with four-point pars on the 1st and 4th, although he could only manage one point on each of the next four holes.

A bogey and three points on the 9th gave him 19 on the front nine and 51 off the stick. While he did not have any four-point holes on the back nine, he did not have any one-pointers either. The highlight was a three-point par on the par-five 15th hole, which not only helped him add 22 points to his 19 from the front nine, but also helped him shoot 47 off the stick for a total of 98.

That was one point better than runner-up David McGregor who battled through the front nine with 17 points, but caught fire on the back to shoot 37 off the stick for 23 points. And that could have been even more had he not had a double-bogey seven on the par-five 11th.

Despite that blip his 40 points was good enough to win A Grade by a single point from Craig Wirth who edged out Craig Eichler from the Aston Hills/Mt Barker Club on a countback.

B Grade was taken out by Tony McGregor who notched 37 points to beat Lachlan Rees by one. Blake Schroder was the easiest winner of the day, claiming C Grade by three points from Graham Thomas who managed 38.

The hot and windy conditions proved too much for many of the 108 players who turned out, including the previous Saturday’s winner, Gianni Giurastante, who posted just 25 points after scoring 43 a week earlier. He was not alone, however. Last Thursday’s stableford competition winner, Ross “Lofty” Anderson, could only manage 24 points after coming in with 42 just two days earlier.

Jason Shanks, runner up to Anderson with 40 points off his five handicap, had just 25 on Saturday. Anderson, who played off a 19 handicap on Thursday, kicked off his round with 21 points on the front nine, helped by three-point pars on the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 8th and 9th holes.

And he added another 21 points on the inward nine, the highlight being a four-point birdie on the 15th. He followed that with three more three-pointers to finish with 42. Shanks’ round was full of merit, shooting 73 off the stick. That included one-under par 35 on the back nine to fall just short.

Meanwhile the popular 949 competition, played each Wednesday evening over the six months of daylight saving, wrapped up last week, the winner of the $150 Pro Shop voucher was Lachlan Rees, with Jon Clayton finishing second and Jack Geddes third.

More than 170 players took part in the competition, with one of the highlights being a hole-in-one by Peter Miller on the signature 8th hole.

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