21 Jan 2024 | Long drive |
Cobram crowns new Long Drive Series leader
by Tony Webeck
The Australian Long Drive Series Order of Merit has a new leader after Kiwi Chris Charlton was victorious in Round 2 at Cobram Barooga Golf Club on Saturday.
Eight finalists took to the 6th hole at Cobram Barooga’s Old Course at the completion of Round 3 of the Webex Players Series Murray River.
With the raucous support of those in the corporate marquee behind the 18th green, qualifiers unleashed their ferocious swings in pursuit of the long bomb that would result in victory.
Runner-up in the first event held in conjunction with the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship in November last year, Charlton’s longest drive in qualifying measured 350.4 metres.
He launched one 362.5 metres to defeat Thomas Holz in the first knockout round, exacted some revenge on Royal Queensland winner Paul Mews in the semi-final and then defeated local hope Jordan Bovalina with a 340-metre bomb in the final.
Charlton now moves ahead of Mews in the Golf Australia Long Drive Order of Merit with two events to come at Rosebud Country Club (Webex Players Series Victoria) and Castle Hill Country Club (Webex Players Series Sydney).
Immediately upon the completion of the event at Castle Hill, the top four on the Order of Merit will meet in the final, the winner to earn a spot in the World Long Drive Final in the US.
A relative newcomer to Long Drive having only taken it up six months ago, Charlton is loving the atmosphere that the Australian Long Drive events are generating in conjunction with Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia tournaments.
"It's awesome to tee off on the back of some of these Aussie PGA events. It gives the crowds something slightly different which they seem to enjoy,” said Charlton.
"It's just awesome to see people out enjoying it and what we train for. Royal Queensland was a very noisy crowd, it was a lot of fun, here was also an awesome event.
“It was a little bit quieter here but still equally as fun and just awesome to get out on the grid and hit some balls.
"It definitely gets the nerves rattling and the adrenaline pumping.”
Working in the fitness industry in Hamilton, New Zealand, Charlton has transitioned into Long Drive with the help of Craig Parker at Indooroopilly Golf Club in Brisbane and Director of Golf at St Peters Golf Academy, Simon Thomas.
Having played golf for the past 20 years, he admitted that the change in swing remains a work in progress.
"It's more of a body movement as opposed to just hands and hinging. It's definitely been an adjustment,” said Charlton.
“For a couple of months it was getting used to the longer driver and now it's around getting the body right and trying to move the body before the club.
"It's definitely been a learning experience and one that I've really enjoyed. Working with Craig over the last couple of months has been wicked.
“Looking forward to seeing what this year holds. Hopefully get overseas to a few events and try and compete as much as possible.”
The third leg of the Australian Long Drive Series will take place at the close of play at Rosebud Country Club this Saturday with the final to be held at Castle Hill Country Club on February 10.
For more information on the Australian Long Drive Series click here
Photo: Candice High
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