Date: May 15, 2017
Author: Dave Tease

Betland bags NSW Open start

Forbes Golf Club’s John Betland has bagged a place in the 2017 NSW Open at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club after a thrilling playoff win in the Forbes Open.

Betland, who also plays Major Pennant for Moore Park in Sydney, needed every bit of his local knowledge to get the better of his fellow Moore Park teammate, Maitland’s Hayden Gulliver after both players posted two under par rounds 70.

The play-off had the drama of a major tournament with fellow golfers and spectators clearing the clubhouse to witness the action late Sunday afternoon.

After a matching pair of bogeys on the first hole the play-off, the couple moved to the 160-metre Par-three 18th hole. With a big crowd watching, both players hit the Green. Gulliver, first to putt, sadly, left his birdie attempt short, allowing Betland to seize the win by calmly holing a 20-foot putt for the title and with it, a coveted place in this year’s NSW Open.

Earlier, it appeared Hayden had the title in his grasp; he was four under par after six holes recording birdies on the 2nd and 5th holes followed by an eagle at the 6th.

A bogey at the 7th however, followed by a disastrous five at the 9th meant that the 19-year-old Gulliver had to settle for a one under 35 on the front nine. A lone birdie on the back nine at the 17th hole meant the visitor from Maitland had to settle for a 2-under par 70.

In contrast, Betland was methodical, turning for home in three under par 33. However, a three bogeys matched by birdies at the 15th and 17th hole on his homeward nine saw the local eventually sign for a 2-under par 70.

Betland was thrilled with his win and the support he received from his Forbes club mates.

“It feels pretty good. There were a few fans out there watching the playoff,

Although this year's Championship will be Betland’s first-ever start, he has experienced a few NSW Open first tee “nerves” before – he was the first reserve for the Championship at the Vintage Golf Club back in 2012.

“I sat around near the first tee all day waiting for someone to pull out, but no one did,” he smiled.

Gulliver was full of praise for the condition of the course and greens describing the whole weekend as amazing.

“I've had a great time, and the course is really good and a challenge. Good luck to Big JB, a good win,” he said.

Despite rain early on Sunday morning which resulted in several late scratchings, a field of 119 teed off. More than half were players hoping to secure a place in the NSW Open.

For More information on the NSW Open Regional Qualifying Series, or to enter an upcoming Qualifier, please click HERE

The NSW Open Golf Championship is proudly supported by the NSW Government and Destination NSW, and will form a key part of the 2017 Australian Summer of Golf.