31 Aug 2020 | Amateur golf |

Local stars seize NT Classic titles

by Martin Blake

NT Classic image
Golf NT president Allen Fanning with champions Alex Brennan and Kate Buckland on Sunday.

Alex Brennan and Kate Buckland are the Northern Territory Classic winners for the first time, triumphing at their home club, Alice Springs on Sunday.

Brennan, a 43-year-old Alice Springs senior sergeant of police, cleared away in the second round and cruised home to win the men’s open title by five shots with rounds of 70-68-77.

But 40-year-old Buckland’s victory in the women’s open section was even more emphatic; she was 15 shots ahead of the field through two rounds and ultimately won by 19 with her scores of 77-74-81.

Buckland, a communications manager with a local Aboriginal health foundation, is having a second coming to the game. As a teenager in central New South Wales she was part of a state schools’ team and played under the auspices of the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation before giving up golf when she studied at university.

Moving to Alice Springs three years ago she took up the game again and the golf bug returned. “I’m definitely a bit better this time around,” she said. “It might be the equipment. Maybe it’s that you can’t put an old head on young shoulders! I don’t know.’’

Buckland was able to meander along on the final day and take the title. “It’s relaxing to go in with such a lead, but you don’t worry about what other people are doing. I tried to keep it steady, didn’t want to blow out. I had a struggle with the putter, but I was hitting the ball well. I was pleased not to let the pressure get to me too much.’’

The same could be said for plus-two handicapper Brennan, but to a lesser extent. Ahead by six shots through two rounds, he saw that buffer sliced down to two shots through eight holes on the final day.

A longtime golfer who has represented the Territory three times at Interstate Series, won multiple club championships around the state as well as the 2018 Australian Police title, he holed out for eagle at the short par-four ninth hole to regain control. Then he birdied the 10th to take the pressure off himself and secure what he regards as his biggest title.

“I didn’t play well,” he said of his Sunday round. “The nerves were there. Normally I can shake them after a few holes, but they just lingered.”

More than 140 players took part in the NT Classic.


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