FORMER champion footballer Barry Brook would be the first to admit when it comes to golf, putting is not his strength.
But after years of spending regular time practicing on the putting green, maybe he has finally unlocked the secret, because twice in his past four rounds at the Mount Gambier Golf Club, Brook has finished on top of the leaderboard.
After taking out the Thursday stableford competition two weeks ago with 40 points, he followed up in Saturday’s par round at the Attamurra layout, shooting a remarkable +7, two better than anyone else in the 108-strong field.
“That was a really satisfying win,” the 78-year-old, a member of the all-conquering North Gambier side that captured the inaugural Western Border Football League premiership back in 1964, said.
“The putter hasn’t been co-operative for a long time, but I’m really enjoying my golf at the moment.”
Saturday’s victory was built on an incredible front nine, making the turn at +7 thanks to seven pars and two bogeys for a two-over par 38 off the stick.
Not content with that, the 16-handicapper proceeded to pick up two more shots thanks to pars on the 11th and 12th, moving to an almost-unbeatable +9.
Unfortunately he found the greenside bunker on 13, leading to his first lost hole of the day and dropped back to +6 after repeating that on the 14th and 15th.
“I thought that was a bit more realistic,” Brook said, although two more halves and a final plus for the day on the tough par-four 17th saw him get back to +7.
That was enough to take out B Grade from Brad Von Duve who played in the morning and must have thought his +5 had a good chance of holding up.
In A Grade it was Tim Kenny who took the honours, posting a +4 from his eight handicap to finish one clear of Archy Arch.
Kenny struggled on the opening nine with -2, but a one-under par 35 on the inward nine saw him pick up six shots, almost identical to Arch who opened with -3 before also having +6 on the second nine.
It was a tough day for the C Graders, Jack Peacock winning with a +1, three better than runner-up Peter Baker who finished down in 44th place overall.
Meanwhile on Thursday it was Gordon Bignell who broke back into the winner’s list with a 43-point haul, two better than runner-up Kym Sutherland.
Bignell raised more than a few eyebrows back in early December when he shot a staggering 48 points, the start of a hot run that saw his handicap slashed from 15 to nine in the matter of a few weeks.
After those rounds dropped off his handicap scores he drifted back out to 12 but he made light work of that on Thursday.
A superb first nine saw him shoot a two-under par 34 which earned him 26 points.
After opening with a one-point bogey, he picked up four-point birdies on the second, fourth, seventh and ninth holes, all coming after excellent approach shots and one-putt greens.
At that stage he was eyeing off another 48-point haul but had to be content with just 43 after adding only 17 more on a back nine that included four one-point holes.
Sutherland had his best round for some time, shooting 41/40 for 41 points, one ahead of Peter Edwards on 40.