Over the weekend of Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th October the first two rounds of the Men’s Club Championships were decided in fine but cool conditions.

MORGAN STANLEY continued their sponsorship of the Championships and once again appreciation is extended to Mark Palmer and Stuart Beattie for their support.

CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP

On Sunday the top four seeded players each had wins to progress to next Sunday’s semi-finals.

The Pascoe Cup Winner, Tristan Geerlings outplayed Gary Hing and the number 2 seed, Ben Cullinan had a convincing win over Scott van Heurck.

Gary and Scott are to be congratulated on their achievement in making the top 8 for the first time which will look good on their respective CVs of golfing highlights. They now go through to the Minor Championship and could meet in the final. Who knows one of them could join “yours truly” on the Honour Board.

Callum White, the number 3 seed, overcame a tenacious effort from John Venner to advance to the semi finals.

Aidan Cooper, the number 4 seed, and Riley Gott faced off in the remaining quarter-final and Aidan did his level best to lose. Aidan was three up with four holes to play and it looked like it was all over. Riley fought back and with a Birdie on the final hole he sent the match into overtime. Both players hit the green on the 19th hole and Riley’s first putt was strong and not a “Gimmee”. Aidan coolly stepped up to his 4-metre putt and holed it for birdie. A win at the 19th and progression to his second semi-final against Tristan Geerlings in two years was his reward.

So, three of last year’s semi-finalists move into next Sunday’s semi-finals – Tristan, Ben and Aidan.

So, the semi-finals next Sunday are-

11.00am     Tristan Geerlings vs Aidan Cooper

11.07am     Ben Cullinan vs Callum White.

MINOR CHAMPIONSHIP

The four quarter-final losers from the Club Championship progress through to the Minor Championship with all four players attempting to win their first Minor Championship.

 

So, the semi-finals next Sunday are-

11.14am     Gary Hing vs Riley Gott

11.21am     Scott van Heurck vs John Venner.

“A” GRADE CHAMPIONSHIP

With the “A” Grade Championship reverting back to 16 qualifiers, the assembled sixteen all looked like winners!! After the first round on Saturday  3 of the top 4 qualifiers had victories and moved through to the Quarter Finals.

The defending Champion, Grant Evans made it through to the quarter-finals and was up against the number 2 qualifier Tony Slee. In a seesawing encounter Grant overcame his opponent at the 19th hole and will now be up against Gavin Furness who had 2 convincing wins (6/4 and 6/5).- enough said. This will be a very interesting clash with Grant having to give his opponent two shots.

After a first round win over the number one qualifier Rob Pluske, the captain Stewart Wharton lowered his colours to John Samuels in a close-run affair with John ultimately winning at the eighteenth.

Paul Coni also progressed to the semi-finals with impressive wins against Gus Elliot and the number 4 qualifier, David Rees. Paul will play John Samuels in the semis and will receive two shots.

So, the semi-finals next Sunday are-

11.28am     John Samuels vs Paul Coni

11.35am     Grant Evans vs Gavin Furness

“B” GRADE CHAMPIONSHIP

Like the “A” Grade Championship the “B” Grade Championship reverted back to 16 qualifiers. After the first round on Saturday 2 of the top 4 qualifiers moved through to the Quarter Finals.

The number one qualifier, Ian MacDonald, overcame a spirited effort from new member Zach Neilsen whilst the number two qualifier Wilfred Ong, had a good win against Matt Craig.

Bruce Palmer had a convincing win against the 2020 Runner Up Ako Futaesaku.

Ray Badnall, John Sheridan (the runner up in the 2020 “C” Grade Championship) and Ian Mumford also progressed to the quarter finals.

In the quarter-finals John Sheridan had a handy lead against Wilfred Ong only to let things slip over the final 9 holes, ultimately losing at the 16th.

After a good win against, “the forgetful”, Ron Parkin on Saturday (ask Ron about the forgetful tag), Ian Mumford overcame fellow “Gallery” member Brian Stuart also at the 16th.

Ray Badnall was 2 up on Bruce Palmer with 4 holes to play. Unfortunately, injury forced him to concede the final 4 holes.

And finally, after winning against Andrew Roberts on Saturday, Greg Polla played the number one qualifier, Ian MacDonald in the quarters.

On the eleventh Ian was very chirpy and was looking to adjourn to the bar within the next couple of holes. A three putt on the 11th by Ian signalled a comeback by Greg and they reached the final hole with Ian holding a one hole advantage.

Ian was in the right-hand greenside bunker and all he had to do was get the ball onto the green and two putt as Greg was over the back. Whist the lie was not perfect, Ian “Bladed” the ball over Melvista Avenue narrowly missing a new Mercedes travelling down the hill. There was much mirth coming from a rather raucous crowd assembled on the balcony – and from Greg Polla.

Somehow the ball bounced back into play and Ian got the ball on the green and two putted for 7.

So now Greg being on the green approximately 5 metres from the hole in four needed to two putt to send the match into overtime. His first putt was about 2 feet to the left and then despair as somehow he managed to miss it – game over – Ian Macdonald wins a match that will long be spoken about by “The Gallery” and there is little doubt Greg and Ian will be the worthy recipients of awards at their end of year Prizegiving.

So, the semi-finals next Sunday are-

11.42am     Ian MacDonald vs Bruce Palmer

11.49am     Wilfred Ong vs Ian Mumford

NOTE – for those who are unaware, “The Gallery” is a group of members who can be seen and heard on the balcony after Saturday morning’s golf. Most of them, apart from being good Red Wine consumers, can also play golf and this year 3 out of the 4 semi-finalists are members of this group – Bruce A Palmer, being the odd one out, can expect a rather large “Gallery” of spectators.

“C” GRADE CHAMPIONSHIP

A great deal of interest centred around the winner of the CG Dudley, Paul Orchard, to see if he could win this Championship. But first to progress he had to overcome the number eight seed Tim Song who had been in good form over the last week or so. Paul asserted his authority early and was never headed and continued on his merry way into the semi-finals.

Similarly, the number four seed, Jack Morris was never headed in what turned out to be a one-sided match against Wayne Ovens.

The defending Champion, Tony Sarson, did not have things all his way against the number two qualifier, Jim Purves. Going to the 18th Tony held a one hole lead and was in the greenside bunker for 4. Failure to extricate the ball on more than one occasion saw him concede the hole and go to the 19th. The 19th was halved and, on the 20th, Tony holed a 3 metre putt to continue his quest for back to back victories.

In a titanic battle between the 2020 semi-finalist John Clarkson and Angus Johnson it came down to the last hole with John overcoming Angus winning 2 up.

So, the semi-finals next Sunday are-

11.56am     Paul Orchard vs Jack Morris

12.03pm     Tony Sarson vs John Clarkson        A rematch from 2020 semi-final

Finally, congratulations to all qualifiers and best of luck to all semi-finalists next Sunday.

From – Greg Fitzhardinge