Date: August 10, 2015
Author: C.Puccini, Golf SA

Port Augusta Classic an outstanding success


The 2015 Elders Insurance Golf Classic in Port Augusta held between the 3rd and 9th of August achieved excellent levels of nominations to compete in the outstandingly successful event with well over 1100 rounds of golf being played for the week.  

The event again proved to be a showcase of everything positive that the Port Augusta Golf Course and the City of Port Augusta has to offer to visitors and locals alike. The Port Augusta Golf Club is very proud to have been able to consistently stage an event of this calibre, and promote our golf club and the city of Port Augusta in the process.

Visitor numbers were brilliant, with in the vicinity of 200 visitors travelling to play in the Classic from 45 golf clubs, including several interstate clubs, with the Esperance club from Western Australia again being particularly well represented.  Event organisers were pleased to see a healthy number of new visitors, and many returning ones amongst the Classic competitors.  The 2015 Golf Classic clearly delivered an excellent result for both the Port Augusta Golf Club and the city of Port Augusta. Golf Week Committee Chairperson Ian Cocks was and Club President John Marsh both emphasised the appreciation the club has for the visiting golfers to the Classic, along with an undertaking to do all it can to maintain and improve the standard of the event presentation

The golf course itself is the most important element in the event’s success, and the course was  presented for the week in excellent condition, with fast but fair greens, that are now becoming receptive to well struck approach shots. The fantastic course presentation is due to the hard work and preparation of the course maintenance team led by Corey Keanen, Jason Dickinson, and Greg Kelly, supported by a hardworking band of volunteers. The weather for the event was mostly a little on the cold side, but the wind stayed largely absent, before giving way to moderate to strong winds on the final two days of the event. 

The most prestigious events of the week were the Coles 54 Hole Championship events held on the Wednesday to Friday of the week. The Classic attracted an excellent number of low figure handicap golfers and as predicted, this made for some spectacular golf. The highlight was in the A Grade Men’s Division where a band of about eight golfers on handicaps between scratch and 4 fought for the Champion’s Title.

Local Mick Warren, defending champion, played solid golf for the whole three days and led from wire to wire to secure back to back A Grade Men’s Championships, with a 3 round total of 221. Mick Warren began the final round a mere shot ahead of Nick May from Highercombe and Clint Agett from Whyalla but they both dropped back in challenging final day conditions to see Scott Benbow, from Port Augusta, make up some ground in the final round to emerge as runner up 3 shots back from Mick.  Scott earnt himself the distinction of lowering his handicap to scratch during the week, the first Port Augusta golfer to achieve that feat.

The Ladies Division One 54 Hole Championship was as expected a contest between our local twenty time Champion Ceri Nicholson, and Elysia Yap of Glenelg. Elysia played excellent golf over all three rounds to post a solid win with a three round total of 232 with Ceri Nicholson finishing 8 strokes adrift.

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In other grades of the Coles 54 Hole events, Paul Harris of Port Augusta played consistent excellent golf for his total of 244 to secure the B Grade Men’s Championship, with Stu Tearle of CTA finishing second on 255. Local youngster Josh Berry also played very steadily to secure the C Grade Men’s Championship (269) from another (less junior) local, Phil Harrison runner up (272).

The Ladies Division Two 54 Hole Championship was won by Marilyn Wildy of West Lakes on 301 over local  Glennis Warrior just a few shots back. Trudi McNamara from Grange and local Carmella McMahon took out the Ladies Stableford Division 1 and 2 events respectively.

Local golfer Mark Benbow, who only took up the sport this year, had a special piece of luck on the difficult No. 10 during the week when he scored a Hole-in-One, to match brother Scott’s ace on No. 3 earlier in the year.

The presentation and operation of the event and the course was frequently praised by visitors at the daily trophy presentations, as was the generosity and support of the many Sponsors for the week long Classic. The Quiz Night held on the Wednesday was again a successful inclusion in the event. The daily event newsletter “In the Rough” kept players informed of the event’s progress and highlights as usual, and the golfer’s breakfast on Sunday morning prior to the final day’s Ambrose competition was also very well supported and appreciated.

The Port Augusta Golf Club would like to take this opportunity to thank the principal sponsor, Elders Insurance, and all other sponsors for the 2015 Classic, for their fantastic support again this year.  The Club also extends a sincere thanks to local club members and friends who provide a multitude of contributions that all help to maintain the status of the Elders Insurance Classic as a leading regional sporting event.