School is out and golf is in and talented youngsters Joel Bryant and Blake Schroder have cashed in.
Sixteen-year-old Bryant kicked things off by taking out Thursday’s stableford competition at the Mount Gambier Golf Club with 39 points and Schroder followed up by winning on Saturday with 44 points.
The 11-year-old has ticked off a number of milestones this year, including breaking 100 for the first time when he won the Saturday competition back in April.
That day he scored 41 points playing off a 31 handicap and just two weeks later recorded an emphatic victory in the D Grade division of the club championship.
In last Thursday’s comp the youngster finished in ninth place behind Bryant with 35 points, but ruined his chance of winning by wiping the 1st, 7th and 13th holes.
Backing up on Saturday he produced a much more consistent round, scoring on every hole and notching an impressive 22 points on each nine.
Not only that, he also lowered his best score for 18 holes by several shots with a 92 off the stick.
In the process, Schroder, whose father Hayden won this year’s club championship, reduced his handicap to 24.6.
Like the temperature on Saturday morning, Blake took a little while to warm up.
He managed just eight points in the first five holes, but caught fire after that, adding 14 more in just four holes with a par on the 6th, bogey on the par-five 7th, birdie on the par-three 8th and another par on the 9th.
His birdie almost produced another mile-stone, missing a hole-in-one by a mere 18cm.
While he did not repeat that finishing stretch on the back nine, he had just a single one-point hole, a double-bogey seven on the par-five 15th.
While scores above 40 have been hard to come by since winter arrived, that was not the case on Saturday.
Not only did Schroder produce 44 points and win C Grade by two from Michael Morton, three other players also signed for numbers in the 40s.
High school student Mitch Handford was among them, the seven handicapper finishing with 42 points to win A Grade by four shots from Darren Harding.
Handford shot a super-impressive 73 off the stick, needing just 35 shots to negotiate the front nine.
That included eight pars and a birdie on the par-four 3rd hole.
He also produced two more birdies on the back nine – on the 11th and 15th – but a double-bogey six on the par-four 14th cost him the chance of a sub-par round.
The scores were not so hot in B Grade, Leigh McManus managing 38 points to beat Sam Mainwaring on 36.
Like Schroder, Bryant’s improvement in 2021 has been significant.
The teenager took out a Saturday par competition in February with a +7 score playing off a 26 handicap.
Then in the April school holidays he saluted again, compiling 44 stableford points off a 21 handicap to win a Thursday competition.
And after winning again last Thursday, his handicap has now come down to 16.8.
His round did not start too well, managing just four points in the first four holes.
But his game warmed up with the weather, pars on the 7th and 9th holes and a birdie from 2m on the par-three 8th saw him reach 18 points after the front nine.
He was more consistent on the back nine, having nothing worse than a bogey to add 21 points for his total of 39.
That was good enough to beat Max Clifford on a count-back, his shot at victory not helped by a wipe on the 8th hole.
The best round of the day came from two-handicapper Setio Prajogo-Shanahan who shot 73 off the stick to finish third on 37 points.