Date: October 23, 2015
Author: Tom Fee, Golf WA

Aussie Women’s Senior heads West

Gosnells Golf Club will play host to the 2015 Australian Women’s Seniors Championships from Monday the 26th of October, with a field of 95 competing in the week-long event.

It will be the fourth time that the championship has been contested on Western Australian soil, yet WA can only boast one winner through Judy Francis back in 1988.

Just over half of this year’s field will be local, with 47 interstate golfers looking to ensure that WA’s 26 year winless streak continues.

As recent past champions, Queensland pair Robyn Puckett and Josie Ryan are just two of the interstate contingent to watch out for. Puckett and Ryan met in last year’s semi finals, with Puckett winning 3&2 to knock out the defending champion, before going on to win the final 3&2 against Sylvia Donohoe of NSW.

Despite living in Queensland for a good part of the last thirty years, Josie Ryan will benefit from some home town support in her bid to win the title for a third time. Originally from Goomalling in WA, Ryan has made her state of origin a happy hunting ground, winning this year’s WA Senior Amateur at Royal Fremantle by seven shots, and taking out the Australian Seniors in 2003 when it was held at Melville Glades.

WA’s best chance to break the drought may come from a debutant, with Lake Karrinyup’s Sharon Dawson entering her first Australian Seniors after reaching what she calls “the age of wisdom” that makes her eligible for seniors status.

With an impressive resume that includes WA state representation and being a selector for Australian women's teams, Dawson has also travelled with the Australian contingent to two Queen Sirikit Cups, managing golfers like Stacey Keating and Kristie Smith.

Dawson has quickly risen to the top of the WA Women’s Seniors rankings, only last week taking out the gross component of the GolfWA Seniors Cup at Kwinana Golf Club with a round of 76.

“I love it, the girls I’ve met that are within that group are terrific,” said Dawson about playing the WA seniors circuit.

“They’ve been very welcoming and there’s a great camaraderie, so I’m looking forward to playing my first Australian senior.”

With the event featuring two qualifying rounds of strokeplay and three days of matchplay, Dawson should be in her element having proven herself in GolfWA’s pennant competition.

Dawson has been a key component of a Lake Karrinyup side that has won four of the last five pennant flags, and she went undefeated playing as high as number two in their 2015 triumph.

“We only lost six of our 42 matches played this year,” said Dawson.

“I played anywhere between second and fifth based on handicap, and I play off three so the rest of our team has been pretty strong.”

With five rounds of quality golf required to lift the trophy, Dawson feels the demanding format will lead to a deserving winner, although she doesn’t feel like she will have an advantage as one of the youngest in the field.

“I think stamina and fitness will really come into it, as well as being able to maintain your concentration for the whole week.

“I’m not unfit but I think everyone has at least as much of a chance that I do, I’m not sure exactly who is coming over from the eastern states or what their form is like, but I’m going to try and do the best that I can and play as long into the week as I can.”