Date: August 14, 2017
Author: Christian Puccini

Ceri Nicholson wins her 21st title at Port Augusta Golf Week

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Event summary supplied by Port Augusta Golf Club:

The Elders Insurance Golf Classic in Port held between the 7th and 13th of August has once again been a tremendously successful event with over 900 rounds of golf played for the week. The tournament showcased a very positive demonstration of what the Port Augusta Golf Course and the City of Port Augusta has to offer to both visitors and locals. The Port Augusta Golf Club is immensely proud to be able to promote our golf club and the city of Port Augusta through staging this consistently successful event. Visitor numbers were again very pleasing, with visitors travelling to play in the Classic from 53 different golf clubs, including from the Esperance club in Western Australia, and Alice Springs. Golf Week Committee Chairperson Ian Cocks and Club President Judy Burt both emphasised appreciation for the visiting golfers to the Classic, and for the many event sponsors, along with a commitment to work hard to maintain the standard.

The golf course itself is the central element in the event’s success, and the course was  presented for the week in excellent condition, with challenging but fair greens that were a great examination of the golfer’s skill and patience. Mother Nature added to that challenge on Wednesday with very strong winds, with Thursday’s winds also significantly strong. For the rest of the week the weather was very pleasurable for playing golf. The fantastic course presentation is due to the hard work and preparation of the course maintenance team recently taken over by Don Wenmouth, under the guidance of the Course Committee Chairman Michael Dunemann.    

The most prestigious events of the week were the 54 Hole Championship events held on the Wednesday to Friday of the week. A good number of low figure handicap golfers participated in the event and as predicted this made for some exciting golf. The A Grade Men’s Division saw a tight tussle as expected, culminating in an unfortunate climax from the point of view of Nick May of Highercombe, who took a 3 shot lead going into the start of the final round over local Mick Warren. Nick surrendered his lead with a disastrous 17th hole, suffering penalties from an unplayable lie and an out of bounds. This allowed both Richard Nairn from Tanunda and local Mick Warren to slip to the lead, tying on a score of 223 for the 54 holes, but with a better final round, Richard Nairn won on countback to secure his maiden Classic victory. 

Also in the A Grade Men’s division, expatriate Ian McHugh had an excellent week, winning the A Grade Men’s Handicap title for the second year in a row, with Ray Morris from Tailem Bend runner up.

The Ladies A Grade 54 Hole Championship was expected to be a contest between our local prolific winner Ceri Nicholson, and young gun Shakira Kuys, and thus it eventuated. Ceri had a strong start and whilst Shakira made up ground in the final round Ceri was untroubled in cruising to her 21st A Grade Ladies 54 Hole Champion Title, with a three round total of 238, with Shakira runner up.

In other grades of the 54 Hole events, John Reynolds of Grange played solid golf for his total of 257 to secure the B Grade Men’s Championships, by two shots from local Phil Littlewood. David Harding a regular visitor from Tea Tree Gully played consistently steady golf to win the C Grade Men’s Championship with a three round gross total of 276, ahead of runner up Shaun Brine of Port Augusta.

The Ladies B Grade 54 Hole Championship was won by Jean Bates from the Esperance club in Western Australia (299) from Yvonne Shirley of Mt. Gambier. Another visitor from Esperance, June Pope took out the C Grade Ladies Championship ahead of runner up Elaine Grigg from the Highercombe club in Adelaide. Other 54 Hole event winners were Rod Fotiou in the 54 Hole B Grade Men’s Handicap, and Phil Harrison in the C Grade Handicap, both locals. Local youngster Jess Smith won the Ladies A Grade 54 Hole Stableford event, Marilyn Wildy from West Lakes the B Grade Ladies and Caroline McGelligott won the C Grade Ladies 54 Hole Stableford title for the second year in a row.

Graham Hewitson of Highercombe had an extra slice of luck augmented by pure skill resulting in a Hole in One for Graham the 10th hole on the Wednesday of the week.

The course presentation, operation of the event and sponsor support was frequently commended by participants at the daily trophy presentations. The Bingo Night held on the Wednesday was a successful, as was the live music on the Saturday night. The daily event newsletter “In the Rough” again kept players informed of the progress and highlights of the Classic, along with the club Facebook page. The golfer’s breakfast on Sunday morning prior to the final day Ambrose competition was also again very well supported and appreciated.

The Port Augusta Golf Club would like to take this opportunity to thank the principal sponsors, Elders Insurance and Bentley’s Cabin Park and all other sponsors of the 2017 Classic, for their fantastic support again this year.  The Club also extends a sincere thanks to club members and friends who provide the many contributions that all help to maintain the welcoming family environment that the Port Augusta Golf Classic enjoys.