DARREN Bilney has again shown he is one of the top golfers in the region as he claimed the prestigious Wayne Scutter Memorial Championship at the Blue Lake Golf Club.
The annual event honours the contribution of long-standing president and committeeman Wayne Scutter and due to its popularity, tee times were split between a morning or afternoon shotgun start with a capacity field of members and visitors.
Bilney has tasted plenty of success at the links course and and brought his A-game again this year.
The defending champion is one of the few golfers in the region with a positive handicap (+1) which meant he had to not only par every hole on the course, but had to birdie the par 3 fifth hole to play to his handicap.
Returning a score of 68 +1-69 he was once again a deserved winner.
Surprisingly he even had room to throw in a double bogey – on the 17th hole – but there were enough birdies on the way to counter that.
Bilney was a clear winner from the minor placegetters which included local members Trevor McLean and Brad Talbot, both finishing on 72.
The event also recognises the best handicap score and McLean (72-7-65) will now have his name etched on the trophy for the lowest handicap score after his fine round.
With the course understandably set to the hardest conditions, McLean had splits of 37 and 35, with birdies on the 10th and 15th holes for a well-deserved win.
As well as hosting the “Scutter” the club also held its regular stroke competition.
Brett Perryman survived a scare on the benign 11th hole with a double bogey to record a win in A Grade with 74-7-67.
Perryman has started to reap the rewards of his hard work, evidenced by his birdie on the 15th hole which almost got him back to square for the back nine.
There was a count-back needed to separate second and third, with Talbot and Bilney tied on 69.
Another player who is continuously analysing his game, Talbot got the decision after a better score over the last six holes.
His talent was on show early after starting par, birdie, eagle, but tree trouble on the 14th almost brought him undone.
Bilney added to his trophy collection with third place.
Scoring was also hot in B Grade with Stephen Kamphuis showing consistency goes a long way towards success in golf after his round of 83-15-68.
While he did not set his scorecard alight with spectacular golf, he also did not get into trouble and returned splits of 41 and 42 to take the win.
On the other hand, second-placed Roger Gale was the opposite, with some exquisite golf starting off with a birdie on the first hole to also find tree trouble on the 15th which almost ruined his round.
Unlike Kamphuis, Gale had splits of 38 and 48.
Brett Lewis (89-18-71) also found trouble regularly but his string of three opening pars on the back nine helped him secure third place.
Fighting hard right to the end for outright handicap honours Michael Millhouse had to settle for the C Grade win, falling just one stroke adrift of McLean.
The popular golfer showed his underlying potential with a run of pars towards the end of the front nine and he kept that momentum going with a 47 off the stick on the inward nine for a comfortable three-stroke win.
Ross McMahon would have been eyeing off a bigger prize than second after his run of pars on the opening three holes but a couple of double bogeys saw him slip back in the field.
There was a tight tussle between Mark Ferguson and Geoff Munt for best net score in C Grade after both finished on 91.
Ferguson finally got the nod after surviving one of the tightest count-backs seen in a long time.
Both players were locked together after the last nine, last six, last three and last one, with the final decision going back to hole-by-hole.
Due to the number of entries there was a larger than normal ball rundown with players scoring 72 or better claiming a prize.
Other prize winners on the day
Men’s Veteran Scratch winner – Chris Price 80; Ladies Veteran Scratch winner – Di Perryman 90; Long Drives on the fourth hole: A Grade Darren Bilney, B Grade Derek Sargeant, C Grade Michael Priestly, Ladies Fiona Punton; Long Drives 18th: A Grade Daniel Christian, B Grade Kevin Stark, C Grade Geoff Munt, Ladies Anna McGregor; NTP’s: A Grade Tony Steen, B Grade Colin Stratford, C Grade Shaun Martin, Ladies Fiona Punton; Pro Shots: Fifth hole Tim Smith; 16th Fiona Punton.