by Steve Doorey The skies were sullen, a stiff breeze was blowing from the north-west, and the Bureau of Meteorology s forecast of showers and afternoon thunderstorms with the possibility of large hail bordered on the dire; but that failed to discourage the 57 competitors who faced the starter at this year s Australian Hickory Championship held on 30 November. The Carnarvon layout was presented in near-perfect condition, and luckily the afternoon turned into one of those close, sticky, steamy Sydney days out of which you can wring the humidity . . . . . conditions which probably offered some encouragement to the Queensland contingent. Somers Successfully Defends His Title At the serious end of the field, three players Steve Jacobsen, Alan Grieve and Peter Monks parred the first to start their rounds in fine style. By the time their second holes were completed, they shared the lead with the 2010 Champion, Perry Somers. Steve Jacobsen birdied the par three third to establish a two stroke lead, and held on in front until he bogied the par four ninth. A par by Derrin Morgan on the same hole saw both players turn on 38. Perry Somers was a stroke behind, from Clarke Gibbons on 41 and Alan Grieve on 43. Derrin then assumed the ascendancy, holding a lead of one or two strokes over Steve and/or Perry until the thirteenth hole. And then it happened. It wasn t quite Gene Sarazen s shot heard round the world at the 1935 Masters, but to appropriately paraphrase a comment made at that time – Mr. Perry done made a two on 14! This fine eagle put Perry and Derrin level on 60, and parity remained after they both parred the 15th. The par 3 16th saw Perry make a fine three, while Derrin had a disastrous triple bogey. Perry s birdie, par finish against Derrin s par, bogey saw Perry s 75 win by five strokes, with Steve Jacobsen recording an 82 to finish in third. Barry Meares Finishes in Front In the handicap section of the competition, the effective lead of the event was shared at one time or another by five players Barry Meares, Clarke Gibbons, Nino Santone, Alan Grieve and Peter Monks. Peter held sway early and led after four holes, but then the form that got Alan Grieve over the line in the U.S. Championship kicked in, and he led until the seventh. A par at the eighth against Alan s triple saw Barry take the lead, which he held to the turn. Clarke parred the 10th to head the field, and then he and Barry swapped the lead on each hole until the 16th, with Nino briefly sharing the lead on the 15th. Both Barry and Clarke scored a 6 on the 17th, but Barry s bogey 5 on the last against Clarke s double bogey saw his net 77 take the prize. While all this was going on, Gerry Bush was playing steady golf and his net score of 78 managed to snare runner-up on a countback from Nino and Clarke. This could probably be attributed to the birdie 2 Gerry scored on the 16th the only under par figure on the hole for the day. Jane s Back to Back Wins The ladies competition with the number of starters reaching double figures for the first time – was also hotly contested. In the scratch competition, there were never more than three strokes between Liz Buckley, Jane Buckley and Margaret Naylor over the first nine holes. At the turn, both Liz and Jane had recorded 48 strokes, while Margaret was closed behind on 51. On the second nine, Margaret gradually dropped out of the picture while the tussle between Liz and Jane see-sawed until they both stood on the 18th tee having had 92 shots. Jane s score of 5 on the last hole saw her beat Liz by two shots, while Carolyn Bloch recorded the best back nine of 48 to come in third a further 4 shots in arrears. Like Perry, Jane s win was also a repeat of last year s result. Off handicap, it was more of the same. Carolyn Bloch, Jan Bush, Liz Buckley and Margaret Naylor were never more than two shots apart over the first nine, but Carolyn s solid scoring over the last six holes saw her pull away to win by 7 from Jan Bush, with Margaret Naylor a shot behind in third. In Case You Were Wondering . . .
- The toughest holes on the course were the par fours 15th and the 18th both 1.68 average over par, and five pars on each.
- The easiest hole appears to have been the par 4 13th a mere 0.87 average over par, with 2 birdies and 18 pars.
- In all, players recorded 1 eagle, 10 birdies and 183 pars.