Tight finish at golf water wonderland weekend

WONDERFUL WONDERLAND: VIsitng golfers Peter Tilden (left), from Forster/Tuncurry, and Terry Griffiths, from Forbes, get ready to tee off.
WONDERFUL WONDERLAND: VIsitng golfers Peter Tilden (left), from Forster/Tuncurry, and Terry Griffiths, from Forbes, get ready to tee off.

Nelson Bay Golf Club hosted another successful water wonderland tournament over the June long weekend, attracting approximately 140 players representing 25 visiting clubs, in addition to the strong Bay club presence.

And after two fabulous days of golf the top three clubs could only be separated by a single point, with Branxton emerging on top with a score of 257, from Woolooware on 256 and Dunheved on 255.

"Yes it was that close," said tournament organiser Ross Skinner reflecting on the nail-biting finish.

Individual winners, however, were a little more clear cut with Lucas Noumovski from Kogarah taking out A grade, Liverpool member Leo Vasaladias prevailing in B grade while the C grade winner was Neil Carpenter from Penrith.

Mr Skinner said that despite the threat of rain earlier in the week, the Nelson Bay course was a picture over the two days (Saturday and Sunday) for the decades-old tournament.

"Since we lost a lot of records in the club fire [of 2015] I am uncertain as to how long exactly the water wonderland has been held but I am pretty certain that it commenced in the late 1960s," he said.

"Originally it was a 'Vardon' event which means it was contested by the leading players from around the state vying for the Vardon trophy with their scores, together with those from similar events used throughout the year. In the early days it was subject to a ballot with the lowest handicapped players eligible.

"Over a period of time other courses obtained Vardon events and we found that players opted to go elsewhere to play easier courses and accordingly producing a lower score for their Vardon total.

"When we opened the extra nine holes to 27 at Nelson Bay we had the opportunity to reconfigure the event so that the field played one course on Saturday and a different layout on Sunday with the combined scores determining the winner."

Mr Skinner said that many visiting players had been attending the tournament for a considerable time with a regular group. "We have one group of 16 from Woolooware who have been playing in this tournament for 28 consecutive years."

In 2006 the Inter Club Challenge was created with each visiting club allocated a team of up to six players contributing to their team score over the two days.

"The trophy has been won by a range of clubs including Branxton, The Coast, Ryde Parramatta, Woolooware, Stonecutters Ridge, Liverpool and Dunheved.

"The actual team members remain a mystery known only to the officials until presentation. The trophy is now called the 'BOC' Trophy in memory of Brian O'Connell, who played in every water wonderland tournament prior to his death in 2007 and was either a member of Branxton or Nelson Bay."