FORMER president Trent Eitzen welcomed in the New Year with an incredible 45 stableford points to easily win the first competition of 2022 at the Mount Gambier Golf Club on Saturday.
Playing off a seven handicap, the 60-year-old shot a superb two-under par 70 off the stick, the round including a phenomenal seven birdies.
Starting his round on the front nine, Eitzen wasted no time creating his own fireworks, making birdies on his first four holes.
Needing just one putt one each of those holes, he raced to 13 points, the run coming to an end on the fifth hole when he could manage a par for two points.
He quickly made up for that with another lengthy one-putt birdie for three points on the par-three sixth hole.
With his playing partners in a state of disbelief at the round he was putting together, Eitzen picked up three more points after a regulation par on the par-five seventh hole, then missed another easy birdie opportunity on the eighth after hitting his tee shot to about six feet.
That left him on five-under par with one hole to go on the front nine, but he inexplicably made a mess of it, in the end lucky to escape with a double-bogey for one point to take his tally on the front nine to 23.
As he had done on the first nine, however, he got off to a flyer on the back nine, picking up another 13 points on the first four holes thanks to four-point birdies on the par-three 10th and par-four 13th holes, and pars on the 11th and 12th.
“I’d had six birdies in a round before, but seven was the most I’ve had so I was pretty happy about that,” Eitzen said.
“The problem was I was playing so well I started shaking like a leaf.”
That brought another poor hole out of the blue, again being lucky to salvage one point after a second double-bogey of the day on the par-four 14th thanks to a lengthy putt.
He put that behind him to par the next three holes, only a bladed second shot from the middle of the fairway on the 18th cost him a three-under par round of 69 which would have equalled his best on the Attamurra layout.
His 45 points was still the best of the day by three, and gave him victory in A Grade by five from Bryan Pink.
Jason MIllhouse posted 42 points to take out B Grade by a single point from Scott Whicker, while Tony Bolton’s 39 points was good enough to claim C Grade by two from the evergreen Max Tollner.
Eitzen’s round was not the only sub-par round to kick off the New Year at the club, Gary Wilson shooting a three-under par round of 59 to post 43 stableford points in Monday’s first short-course event for 2022.
It saw him finish three points ahead of Lachlan Rees, while Eitzen, whose heroics on Saturday saw his GA handicap drop from seven to five, shot a one-under par round of 61 to finish fifth.
Meanwhile veteran Mike Griffiths ended 2021 with a bang, signing for 43 points in Thursday’s stableford competition to finish one clear of Jeff Olafsen.
Playing off a 15 handicap, the 79-year-old fired a fantastic two-over par 38 off the stick on the front nine to pick up 24 points.
He could not quite match that on the back, but still managed to pick up another 19 points after a 42, ending with an 80 off the stick and falling just short of the rare achievement of shooting his age.
He was quite content with the result however, considering his handicap came down to 13.6, the lowest it has been in his golfing career.