Louise Mullard and Dale Clarke are the respective Australian Mid Amateur champions after a fascinating final day in South Australia.
Mullard, a member at Morriset Country Club on the southern outskirts of Newcastle, continued her stranglehold on the women’s title, successfully defending her 2017 crown with a runaway 22-stroke victory at the Vines Golf Club at Reynella, south of Adelaide.
But Mullard, in her last year of eligibility, while delighted with her title defence, wasn’t thrilled with her closing 81, still the day’s best score that left her well clear of Queensland’s Robyn Callaghan in second.
“I struggled around the greens on day three,” Mullard conceded.
“But I was really happy with how I played the first two days.
“Last year was the first year I played, so to win two years in a row was special.”
The men’s event was not as cut and dried with Clarke, of New Zealand’s Sherwood Park Golf Club, coming from behind to win by two strokes, despite a closing bogey.
Clarke had charged through the field with three birdies from the 13th to the 16th after a double-bogey on the 12th had threatened to ruin his otherwise fine round.
But when his blocked drive up the last cost him another stroke, local member Tony Nobbs suddenly had a chance to force a playoff if he could birdie the closing par four.
Agonisingly, though, Nobbs – despite taking an iron off the tee for safety – made a bogey on the 18th for the third consecutive day, gifting Clarke the crown after his equal tournament best one-under-par 71 that left him at two over in total.
“I hit it way right and chipped it back out to make bogey – it could have been a lot worse,” said Clarke, who has spent much time in Australia before returning full-time to NZ about 18 months ago.
“Day two was pretty horrible and I didn’t hole too many putts, because the greens were tricky out there.
“But I was pretty happy today.”