Date: June 12, 2017
Author: Dave Tease

Open champ awarded OAM

Two-time Australian Open and five-time NSW Open champion Frank Phillips has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queens Birthday Honours List for his significant service to NSW Southern Highlands and Australian Golf.

The Moss Vale resident who won more than 45 tournaments around the globe, including 17 on the Australian tour, said he never expected to receive an OAM.

“It was a surprise and a very pleasant surprise at that," Phillips told the Highlands Post newspaper.

Philips was a household name in Australian golf throughout the 1950s, '60s and '70s, travelling and playing many of the world's professional tours until the early 1990s.

He won the Australian Open twice (at Kingston Heath in ’57 and Victoria in ’61), the NSW Open five times, and a further 45 tournaments across the globe.

“The second (Australian Open) win in 1961 was the highlight of my career,” Phillips said.

“I led from start to finish in that tournament so it was pretty special.”

Mr Phillips doesn't get out on the golf course much these days but he still has strong ties to Mt Broughton Golf and Country Club, which he co-designed in the 1990s.

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He was made patron of the club in 1994 and although the clubs aren't in his hands as often as they used to be, he's still a regular around the course.

“I’m there every second day, I like to see everyone, but I don’t play as much any more,” he said.

Phillips’ love of golf started when he was just eight years old.

“I used to muck around in the paddocks with some mates and then I joined Moss Vale Golf Club and I started getting quite good,” he said.

When he was 18, Phillips moved to Sydney and turned professional.

In 1995 he returned to Moss Vale to look after his father and has been there ever since.

“It’s a lovely little part of the world,” he said.

Phillips' lengthy resume also includes membership of the Australian Professional Golfers’ Association (since 1953), he is also the Ryde-Parramatta Golf Club patron (since 2015) and was also head professional at Oatlands Golf Club.