Greenkeeper claims coveted title

TITLE WINNERS: Blue Lake Golf Club greenkeeper Daniel Christian claimed the coveted Wayne Scutter Invitational title after a playoff with club manager Bill Burley.

THE Wayne Scutter Invitational is one of the marquee events for not only the Blue Lake Golf Club but also features prominently on the calendar of golfers throughout the state.

Named in honour of one of the founders of the BLGC, this year’s event attracted golfers from Victor Harbour, Millicent, Penola, Naracoorte and Attamurra, as well as a host of local members.

Even allowing for missing golfers from across the border due to Covid-19 restrictions, the event still attracted just under 150 entrants.

In an appropriately thrilling climax to the event a play-off was needed to decide the outright winner after BLGC manager Bill Burley and BLGC head greenskeeper Daniel Christian finished tied on 72 off the stick.

With both players off the same handicap of two they went down the 10th hole for the first play-off.

Despite Burley having a short putt for the win, he could not capitalise so they headed down the 18th.

Christian prevailed after a great recovery shot and while both players were deserved of the title, there could only be the one winner and Christian was announced as the the champion for 2021.

Christian, in superb form after recent weekly wins and also taking out the club handicap A Grade championship, made short work of the fourth hole, the hardest on the course, then added another birdie on the 10th.

With two bogies on each nine he had to settle for a pair of 36’s and then watch Burley play the 18th with shots up his sleeve for the win.

Burley was coming off a birdie on the 17th and needed just a par to take the honours, but walked off with a double-bogey and into the play-off.

The Invitational normally allows scratch and low handicap players the arena to showcase their game and often fill the top placings.

This year only two A Grade golfers, Jayden Eldridge and Mike Dedonatis, managed to play under their handicap.

However, plenty of B and C Grade players took advantage of the benign conditions and favourable handicaps to fill the placings.

Finishing first overall and winning the award for best nett was BLGC member Michael Millhouse. Millhouse often saves his best for the big events and will attract the eye of the handicapper with his round of 89-26-63.

With no easy tee or pin placements Millhouse had his struggles early with a couple of double-bogeys but a par on the fifth hole had his round back on track.

Turning with 46 he was still under his handicap but a par on the 11th soon had him thinking of higher honours and that came to fruition with an inward 43 thanks to another par on the 16th.

But the day is all about who is best off the stick.

The big names like Darren Bilney (+1) and Anthony Williams (scratch), both had their struggles.

Bilney started strongly with birdies on the third and the fourth holes to go along with the pars but found out-of-bounds trouble on the eighth to partially derail his round.

Turning with 36 he was still in with a shot after a birdie on the 10th but two bogeys and a double-bogey on the last cast him back in the placings.

Williams had equal splits of 37, unable to convert any of his birdie putts and had to wait until the 17th before finding one.

By that time he was out of the running.

Other scores of note belonged to Mike Dedonatis who bounced back from a double-bogey start to close within two of the winner after birdies on the second, 13th and 16th holes.

Jayden Eldridge battled through his round, finally finding a birdie on the 12th hole, to finish second-best nett overall with his score of 75-10-65.

Darren Coxon, Hayden Cook and Chris Hill were also expected to battle for the win but a double-bogey on the third hole had Coxon out of contention early, Hill doing likewise on the same hole and Cook finding the same fate on the 13th.

In B Grade the best off-the-stick belonged to Kevin Howell with his score of 84-16-68 which could have been even better except for finishing with three double-bogeys over his last four holes.

His 68 was good enough to also take out the best nett score in the grade.

John Kamp (87-18-69) took second place and Brett Williams third with his 86-16-70.

Millhouse scooped the pool in C Grade, with the best gross and nett scores, followed by Richard Dean (92-27-65) and Steve Dwyer (92-26-66) in third.

David Dowie was the best of the veterans with his round of 81-11-70.

Nearest to pins went to Eldridge on the second hole, Brenton Speck on the fifth, Williams the 14th and Paul Harmer on the 16th.

Long drives on the fourth hole went to Bilney, Dyllan Lane and James Parker and on the 18th to Brad Talbot, Adam Dunn and Ken Milsop in their respective grades.

Ball run-down winners were Stephen Coote, Trevor McLean, Bryce Smith, Brad Talbot, Marc Dalton, Bobby White, Cameron Adams, Tyson Ploenges, Michael Cutting, David Dowie, Craig Foster, Keith Ransom while Dedonatis was the best with the putter.

Club Championship semi final results – A Grade: Anthony Williams d Josh Ransom 5/4; Trevor Little d Daniel Christian 2/1; B Grade: Scott Sawyer d Gavin Coon 4/3; Wayne Dunford d David Adkins 2-up; C Grade: Brian Vawser d Cory Davis 5/4; Russell Lingham d Ken Milksop 8/7.