Date: November 12, 2018
Author: Martin Blake

QUALIFYING: Veteran Hensby’s stunning return

Mark Hensby is the comeback story of the week at the #AusOpenGolf.

The 47-year-old New South Wales professional, who was suspended for 12 months for missing a drug test in 2017, secured a place in the field for The Lakes this week through qualifying at Carnarvon Golf Club today.

Hensby carded a 68 with four birdies and an eagle to ensure that he gets a start on Thursday, equalling the day’s best score at Carnarvon.

The New South Welshman resumed playing recently with his suspension completed on 26 October. He bobbed up last week with a second-round 64 at the New South Wales Open before fading to finish tied-59th.

He is ranked 1918 in the world right now, but at his best (around 2005) Tamworth’s Hensby was one of the better players in the world, ranked as high as 27th. In 2005 he finished tied-fifth at the Masters, tied-third at the US Open and tied-15th in the Open Championship.

A car accident curtailed his career after that, and he was on the verge of quitting in 2017 when he missed a scheduled drug test, which is deemed as a positive test under the United States PGA Tour guidelines.

“Call me stupid, but don’t call me a cheater,’’ he said at the time, arguing that his missing the test was inadvertent.

Last week at Twin Creeks in Sydney’s west, he told AAP that he had made “an error in judgement’’ by skipping the test, adding that it “had nothing to do with taking a banned substance".

Hensby has played in the #AusOpenGolf several times in the past, notably at Moonah Links in 2005 when he had the apparent temerity to criticise Greg Norman’s contribution to the game in Australia. “Greg has never, ever gone out of his way, it seems, to help the Australian golfers,’’ he told the media that week, bringing a firestorm upon himself.

The last 10 spots in the Open field were being filled today with qualifying rounds at Carnarvon, Liverpool and Ryde-Parramatta.

Elite amateurs Jed Morgan and Charlie Dann (Queensland), Linus Yip (NSW) and Mitch Davis (USA) all found their way into the field, Dann carding a brilliant 66 at Ryde-Parramatta. Davis plays out of the University of Indiana.

At Liverpool, New South Wales professional Andrew Evans led the way with a 68. Evans is best known for almost winning the 2015 Australian Masters at Huntingdale.




 Carnarvon Golf Club (Par 72)

1.           AUS – Mark Hensby – 68

2.           AUS – Jediah Morgan (Am) – 68

3.           AUS – Linus Yip (Am) – 69 (Play off)


Liverpool Golf Club (Par 72)

1.           AUS – Andrew Evans – 68

2.           NZL – Sam An – 69

3.           AUS – Matthew Lisk – 70 (Play off)

4.           AUS – Anthony Choat 70 – (Play off)


Ryde Parramatta Golf Club (Par 71)

1.           66 – AUS – Charlie Dann – 66

2.           67 – AUS – Martin Dive – 67

3.           68 – AUS – Mitch Davis – 68 (Play off)



1.           AUS – Harrison Crow (Am)

2.           AUS – Simon Treeby

3.           NZL – Luke O’Sullivan

4.           AUS – Blake Windred (Am)

5.           AUS – Blake Collyer (Am)