Cream rises to the top

ALL SMILES: Enjoying his day was par winner Ross McMahon getting a lift from Vic Smith.

EXPERIENCE came to the fore in Saturday’s par round at the Blue Lake Golf Club, with the top five prize winners all eligible to play veterans golf.

Leading the way was the evergreen Ross McMahon who turned back the clock, taking the win with +5 off his 26 handicap.

In favourable conditions and hitting off before the weather broke, McMahon was on the board early with three plusses on his card over the first five holes.

Unfortunately he also had a couple of wipes to go with that, but he added another two plusses to turn with +3.

A rough start to his inward nine was soon righted, with no more red ink on the card after the 11th hole to finish with his total of +5, a welcome return after recently selling his cart and vowing to give the game away.

Russell Lingham was catching McMahon and with a plus on the 17th hole, had him well within sight but then let him off the hook with a minus on the last costing him the outright win.

It was still great golf from the rules guru who had no less than nine plusses through his round, including an impressive birdie on the 15th hole.

Rounding out the seniors was John Kamp and Doug McPherson finishing tied on +3.

Kamp scored all of his +3 over the back nine which was always going to hard to beat in a count-back and was good enough to prevail over the unlucky McPherson.

It was still good to see the club life member back in the winner’s circle after his return to golf.

A Grade players always need to bring their best game to the course in par competition where there is often no reward for birdies or better.

Playing off three means Marc Dalton needs to par all-but three holes to just play to his handicap, so any time he walks off with +2 he can be pleased.

Dalton’s opening nine was a case of all or nothing, his three plusses negated by an equal amount of wipes and he turned square with his handicap.

Birdies on the 11th and 15th holes returned two plusses and that is what he finished with to take the grade win.

Michael Watts was unlucky to be counted out of the grade win after also finishing on +2, highlighted by a superb eagle on the third hole.

An even-with-the-card 35 resulted in +3 which was wiped out with a rough middle part of his inward nine, giving one of those back for a +2 finish.

Tim Smith finished third and had tough opening nine that saw him turn with -1, but pars on the 10th, 13th and 18th holes all resulted in plusses for an overall +1.

Kamp’s +3 was good enough to take out the win in B Grade, with Stephen Harvey making a return from Adelaide showing he has not lost any of his ability with +2.

Fortunately for Harvey he scored all that on the inward nine which saw him take the second in a count-back with Ben Wilson who had equal splits of +1.

Rounding out the placings in C Grade after Lingham and McPherson was early-morning starter Frank Pinneri who turned square but came home in a rush with plusses on the 15th and 18th holes for a +2 total.

Tied with Pinneri was Brian Dunn who played much better than his score of +2 indicated, getting no better reward than just a single plus for his birdies on the first and 11th holes.

Even the joy of having two birdies on the day paled into insignificance after becoming a new grandfather the night before.

He heads the list of ball winners which also included Trevor Little, Colin Rex, Trevor Gartside +1, Robert Lindner, Gavin Sparrow, Michael Dedonatis, David Dowie, Michael Egan and John Millhouse all square with their handicap.

In a remarkable feat there were three eagles on the day – Dedonatis on the 10th hole, Bob White on the 17th and Watts on the third, who also picked up the pro shot on the fifth.

Smith picked up four balls for his pro shot on the 16th, while nearest to pins went to Millhouse, David McKenzie and Colin Stratford in their respective grades.