Forbes golfer Steve Betland joined his brother John as the only brothers to record victories in the SCT Logistics Parkes Open Golf Tournament last Sunday.
The tournament lost some of its luste as rain curtailed the championship event to an 18 hole endurance test as players battled soggy fairways and consistent rain and a cold northerly breeze.
Parkes Golf Club tournament director Paul Thomas made the much awaited decision when he changed the Championship event from its programmed 27 hole back to a less enduring 18 holes much to the praise of the players.
He also changed the hit off times back one hour due to heavy rain that at times flooded the greens as well as the fairways but typical of the weather just as it was thought that the event would be called off the rain eased allowing the greens to become playable.
In recording his first SCT Parkes Open victory the easy going Betland fired a great 2 under Par round of 69 to record a one shot victory over Mudgee’s Mark Hale as visitors dominated.
Betland, in accepting the spoils of victory from SCT Logistics Bill Wakim, congratulated the sponsors as well as the Parkes club for the conduct of the event.
He also congratulated the players who challenged the tough conditions which at times became daunting, thus joining his much acclaimed brother John as the only brothers to take the title, with John taking the title back in 2011 in the prestigious championship event.
In the handicap section Duntryleague’s James Conran playing off a +1 handicap fired a great par round of 71 for a 72 nett to finish 1 shot ahead of Lee Grierson of Forbes.
Meanwhile the best of the local contingent in the championship Scratch event was Justin Sutton with a solid 3 over par 74, 1 shot ahead of Mitch McGlashan, while multiple winner Duntryleagues returned a 76, John Betland had a 75 and Mudgee Champion Andrew Best recorded a solid 74 as did the Australian’s James Brownlow.
In the Harvey Norman B Grade Neil McMillan of Forbes finished 12 over Par after a 83 to edge out John Murphy and local Phil Bishop by one shot, with Bishop being relegated to third on a countback.
McMillan stated he was lucky to get a start as he relied on a scratching to gain a birth in the 160 capacity field that had nominated for the event. McMillan also congratulated the sponsors as well as his fellow golfers.
Despite losing the runner up position in the scratch Bishop with his 74 nett proved too good in the Handicap to edge out Richard Hutchison, also of Parkes, by one shot, surviving golf’s dreaded countback system.
In the Network Video C Grade of the SCT Open Golf Tournament, the coast’s Dominic Romeo blitzed the field for a comfortable 8 shot victory as he fired a superb 14 over par round of 85.
Runner Up to Romeo was former Parkes resident Mick O’Malley who hails from the Federal Golf Club in Canberra, while Ron Hetherington of Parkes returned an excellent 71 nett to be 4 shots ahead of another local in Greg Powter as they made it a quinella for the Parkes club in the handicap section.
Prior to announcing the winner of the John “Gidgie” Leister Memorial Trophy Tournament organiser, Paul Thomas praised the legendary Leister for the work and input he had on the tournament before handing over to Leister’s son-in-law Anthony Ruzgas who said it was a privilege and honour to represent the family.
The Keith Clark Memorial Trophy for the best Scratch score of the day in the Veterans Section, sponsored by the Asquith Golf Club, went to Robert Payne, while Phil Bishop with a 74 nett took home the Ken Keith OAM Veterans handicap award.
Saturday’s prelude event the Atlas Copco Australia Open 4BBB Stableford Scratch & Handicap saw a field of 180 players contest the event.
Along with excellent conditions came some great scoring, emphasised by scratch victors John and Steve Betland who returned a great 7 under Par round of 64 for 43 Stableford points, recording a solid and convincing 4 shot win over the highly fancied Robert Payne and Robert Parfett from Orange. They survived a countback over the local pairing of Justin Sutton and Joey Van Opynen.
Former local junior and now member of the Woolooware Golf Club in Sydney Kyle Bell teamed with local Parkes member Jake Hodge in recording a magnificent 47 points in the Handicap section to claim the major award from the local pairing of Andrew Huntly & Richard Hutchison who finished equally impressive on 46 points while the Sydney pairing of Paul Fabian & Rolf Schufft of the Pennant Hills Golf Club claimed the Bradmans trophy.
In the Parkes Mensland Long Drive Championship saw Duntryleagues Tyson Lane win with a drive that finished some 265 metres from the teeing ground.