04 Feb 2020 | All Abilities | Vic Open |
Pollard wins Vic inclusive title
- By Rod Morri
At 12-over through nine holes of the opening round on Monday, Cameron Pollard himself might have had doubts about his chances to claim the Victorian Inclusive Championship on the Bellarine Peninsula.
But some stern self-talk on the walk between the ninth green and 10th tee at the Barwon Heads Golf Club led to a remarkable turn-around. After touring the inward nine in even-par to sign for 82 he raced to an eight-shot victory with a brilliant second round 75 at the adjacent 13th Beach links.
Pollard, Australia’s highest ranked All Abilities player, posted an impressive five birdies on the Beach course which will this week play host to the LPGA and European Tour co-sanctioned ISPS Handa Vic Open.
“I had a few words to myself,” Pollard said of what changed between the front and back nines on day one. Asked if any of those words were suitable for publication he grinned and admitted ‘probably not!’
While pleased with his play over the two days Pollard said it was a poor showing at last year’s Australian All Abilities at the Australian Open in Sydney that kickstarted his run to this title.
“I just started to practise a lot more,” he said when asked how things had changed after he finished 26 shots off the pace at The Australian.
“That was brutal. I’ll take my five birdies from two years ago at the Lakes and not have 52 next time on the front nine.”
Victoria’s Mike Rolls finished runner-up at 13th Beach with rounds of 86-79, one ahead of fellow Victorian Arnold Bamroong.
The win is Pollard’s fourth All Abilities title to go with victories at the Macau Masters last year, the Special Olympic National Games and a win in New Zealand last year.
“He’s going from strength to strength,” said Golf Australia national inclusion manager Christian Hamilton.
Hamilton, the driving force behind the growth of All Abilities golf in Australia, said he was pleased with the progress the format was making.
“The first time we were here and at the Australian Open you could see people sort of pointing at the players and whispering among themselves, wondering what it was all about,” he said.
“But so many people have now seen our players up close that it’s become quite normal for a lot of spectators and to be honest that is exactly what we’re aiming for.
“Of course, there’s a long way to go but we are making progress and that is really pleasing. The players are doing their bit with the quality of the golf and that is probably the most important part.”
He said the attitude of many golf fans had transformed from ‘it’s nice to see them having a go’ to being genuinely impressed with the play.
“And that’s exactly where we want to be,” he said.
“Anybody who went out and watched Cameron today saw a pretty impressive display of golf. Five birdies on a golf course set up to test an elite field like this is good play no matter how you cut it.
“There might be a few pros who’d take that round later in the week.”
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