Apr 20

Newcastle golfers miss Country titles


NEWCASTLE failed to send a team to the NSW Country Championships in Parkes on the weekend for the first time due to a lack of player availability.

Newcastle District Golf Association’s match committee had originally named Charlestown duo Blake Windred and Brayden Petersen, but they both were forced to withdraw due to a Golf NSW elite training camp in Sydney.

The Waratah Club Championships, which held its second round on Saturday, further diminished the talent pool, leaving selectors with a second or third-string side.

Last week the NDGA match committee opted to forgo the championships altogether.

‘‘As we were going down the list asking people to play, most people had reasons they couldn’t play,’’ NDGA vice president David Hartney said.

Port Macquarie’s Andrew Kirkman was crowned NSW Country champion by two shots after shooting rounds of 72 and 68 to finish with 140, two under par. Scone’s two-time Country champion Nathan Waters was eighth six strokes behind Kirkman.

■ Aaron Townsend opened the new NSW/ACT Pro-Am season in style on Sunday by dominating Morisset.

A seven-under 65 on Saturday in hot and windy conditions gave the Charlestown touring professional a four-shot lead, which he never relinquished.

A final-round 69 on Sunday then completed the four-shot victory at 10 under par.

The victory was a financial boost for Townsend before he flies to the US to begin preparations for stage two of the web老域名出售 Tour’s qualifying school from November 11 at Craig Ranch in Texas.

■ Newcastle’s Mark Gilson is gearing up for his fourth crack at the Australian PGA Championships next month after earning a berth last Thursday at the PGA Professionals Championship at Hamilton Island.

Gilson tied for second with Victorian Michael Faraone at 219, six over par, forcing the pair into a play-off where the Newcastle club pro was successful on the second hole.

The top two at Hamilton Island qualified for the $1million Australian PGA Championships at Royal Pines from December 11.

Murrumbidgee’s Matthew Docking won by 10 strokes with a course record 209, four under par.

Gilson played in the championships in 2004, 2005 and 2008, but has yet to make the cut.

‘‘It’s an expensive weekend if you don’t make the cut, so that’s always the goal,’’ Gilson said.

■ At the age of 52, John Sullivan lowered his handicap to minus one for the first time in his long amateur career on Saturday.

It followed yet another victory in the Muree Club Championships. Going into the fourth round, Sullivan held a 15-shot lead over Shayne Mullarvey and he extended that to 19 with a two-over 73.

It left Sullivan on 287, three over par, for the tournament.

■ Charlestown’s Greg Kent is making a promising start at the NSW Veterans Matchplay Championships on Monday at Belmont defeating Morisset’s Stan Tworeck 2 and 1.

Kent looms as the leading local hope at the four-day tournament which stops at Waratah on Tuesday, Newcastle on Thursday and ends at Charlestown on Friday.

Kent won the matchplay in 2011 in Illawarra and in April completed back-to-back victories at the NSW Veteran Golfers Strokeplay Championships in western Sydney.

Hawks Nest’s Warren Gorton is another hopeful in the over-55 tournament after he defeated Waratah’s Ian Gunn.