18 Oct 2021 | Amateur golf |
The Elder's Insurance Golf Classic a success once again
By Gary Rowbottom - Port Augusta Golf Classic Committee
The Elders Insurance Golf Classic staged in Port Augusta between the 12th and 16th of October has once again been a very successful event with over 800 rounds of golf played over the 5 days of the event.
The tournament created a very positive demonstration of what the Port Augusta Golf Club and the City of Port Augusta has to offer for both visitors and locals, even in the challenging Covid-19 era. The Port Augusta Golf Club is immensely proud to be able to promote our golf club and the city of Port Augusta through staging this consistently successful event. Visitor numbers were again very pleasing, with around 140 visitors travelling to play in the Classic from 38 different golf clubs across South Australia. Golf Week Committee Chairperson Ian Cocks and Club President Colleen Milne both emphasised the golf club’s appreciation of the visiting golfers to the Classic, and for the many event sponsors, along with a promise to continue to work hard to maintain the event standard.
The club took the risk this year to move the event from its traditional August time slot because of complications with Covid 19 restrictions. This presents the course in different conditions to what is traditionally the case in August. Very low rainfall this year contributed to drier, less lush conditions on the fairway and surrounds, but the greens held up extremely well and were a very fair and exacting test for all. The contributions of Course Manager Corey Keenan and his small army of volunteer workers enabled the course to be a pleasure to play on, despite the challenges of the weather.
Quirky Mother Nature decided to add significantly to that challenge on Thursday, dumping buckets of rain and hail in one mad hour. This resulted in flooded conditions on parts of the course, and the Match Committee had no option but to cancel play for the day. As some players had not completed even 9 holes at that time, the day’s competition events were cancelled, and the 3-day 54 hole events reduced to 36 hole competitions. Cool conditions and strong winds were present on most days of the event too, so the October scheduling did not result in significantly warmer or more friendly playing conditions. Having said that, organisers were pleased that no very hot weather was encountered, which would have been an even more disruptive situation.
The most prestigious events of the week were the Championship events held on the Wednesday to Friday of the week. A good number of low figure handicap golfers participated in the event and as predicted this made for some exciting golf. The A Grade Men’s Division saw Port Augusta’s Mick Warren open up with a 5 shot lead over his local rival Scott Benbow on Day one. With Day 2 cancelled, the gap was too large to overcome, though Scott played very well to match Mick Warren’s score off the stick on the final day of the Championship. Mick Warren’s two round off the stick score was 149, with Scott Benbow five adrift on 154.
The Ladies A Grade Championship was won by first time Classic visitor Eliza Baker, a young golfer from the Glenelg club in Adelaide. Playing off a four handicap, Eliza was able to secure victory with a 36 hole total of 160, comfortably ahead of Aimee Feltham from the Playford Lakes club.
Competition in B and C Grades of both men’s and ladies’ championship events were very exciting once again. In the men’s B Grade Championship, visitor Sidney Robbins of Murray Bridge emerged victorious from local Peter Walsh, whilst in C Grade Steve Reid just edged out visitor Graham Hewitson. The B Grade Ladies Championship was won by Bronwyn Wilson from the Highercombe club in Adelaide ahead of former Port Augusta club president Judy Burt now at the Futures Golf Club. The C Grade Ladies Championship event (a Stableford competition) was taken out by local Vanessa Kirkham with another local, Ros McRae, runner up.
The lure of the winning a brand new Toyota Corolla from the Hole in One prize on No. 10 on Friday proved too difficult. Tough enough at the best of times, the stiff head wind on the day made it even more challenging, although a few fine shots caused the presiding Toyota representatives some nervous moments!
This year the catering was completely undertaken by volunteering club members. The meals on Wednesday and Friday were fantastic and well supported by locals and visitors. Spinning wheels and other prizes such as daily $100 Drummond Golf vouchers gave everyone the opportunity to be a winner, even if their golf scores weren’t so great.
The Port Augusta Golf Club is very pleased that its decision to still host the event this year and maintain an unbroken 46-year run paid off. The club would like to take this opportunity to thank the principal sponsor, Elders Insurance, and all other sponsors of the 2021 Classic for their fantastic support again this year. The Club also extends a sincere thanks to club members and friends who provide the many contributions that all help to maintain the welcoming family environment that the Port Augusta Golf Classic enjoys.
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