Port Macquarie’s David Bagust has survived a thrilling four-player, four-hole playoff against Robert Payne, John Fearnley and Cowra’s Peter Kirwan to win the Men’s Senior Amateur, while Wyong’s Louis Mullard has all but streeted the field to win by ten shots in the women’s division at the historic Duntryleague Golf Club in Orange.
It was the dramatic playoff which captured everyone’s attention. In the end, it was Bagust, who hit a sizzling approach to about 3 metres, then stepped up to drain the ensuing putt for the win.
Earlier in the day the Men’s Division looked like it was going to be a battle between Bagust and his playing partner in the final group, overnight leader Peter Kirwan of Cowra.
Despite a jittery start from the pair, the pair were still battling for the lead with Kogarah’s Michael Musgrave (playing in the group in front) as the final group turned for home.
Playing several groups in front, local legend Payne and Dunheved’s Fearnely had other ideas. The pair, who started at five and six shots back respectively, made up ground on the leaders with solid golf. The pair closed with rounds of 70 and 69 to finish the 54 hole tournament at nine over.
As the afternoon wore on, the winner looked like he could come from anywhere. Musgrave looked like he was going to be the man of the hour; however, a disastrous back nine saw him fade away.
Kirwan looked the most likely winner late in the day. For most of the back nine he was thereabouts, and with just two holes to play, he had managed to regain a two-shot buffer which looked like it might be enough.
Bagust, who hadn’t made much all day, suddenly found a birdie on the 17th to cut Kirwan’s lead to one. The last hole was always going to be a nervous affair, and when Kirwan couldn’t get up and down from the back edge, and when Bagust made par, four players were headed for sudden death.
Sadly for Kirwan, who had led for much of the tournament, the playoff was a short-lived affair. When he and Fearnley couldn’t match the fours of Bagust and Payne, on the first hole, the playoff was down to two.
Moving to the second, and with the light dropping, both players had a chance for a knockout blow. Payne’s putt coming up close, while Bagust could only watch in shock as his near-perfect putt for the championship viciously horseshoed out of the hole.
After Parson the third playoff hole, the pair headed back to the first, where it was Bagust who finally dealt the knockout blow.
After Payne knocked his tee shot in the trees, and could only chip out, Bagust ripped a long iron shot onto the green to about 4 metres. Payne’s approach came up short, allowing Bagust to break the deadlock, which he did with a putt for birdie which never left the centre of the hole.
Bagust was a relieved man after the win.
“I kept missing this green, This was the first time I hit,” he smiled.
“I played a bit nervy today, I hit three greens in regulation, but in the playoff, I hit three of the four.
“I chipped and putted like I was born with a 60m degree wedge in my hands.”
The NSW Senior Amateur is the first State Championship for the Port Macquarie golfer. Sadly there wasn’t much room for a celebration. The IT Consultant was due back at work first thing in the morning.
“I’ve got to be back at work tomorrow to pay the wages,” he grinned.
Mullard Does it Easy
Wyong’s Louise Mullard has saved the best for last, cruising to a ten-shot win in the women’s NSW Senior Amateur Championship.
Mullard’s final-round one-under-par 71 was the low round of the tournament, setting up her first major title win in the over 55’s ranks.
In second place was the 2019 champ, Jacqui Morgan, while Shelly Beach’s Kim Burke was another shot back in third. Orange local Susan Fenwick finished in fourth at 23 over.
Mullard however, was the women of the moment. Her impressive final round containing two birdies and three bogeys. The highlight however, was undoubtedly her eagle on the par-five ninth.
” I worked really hard on my game for the last month,” Mullard said post-round.
“I’ve worked hard at it, and everything seemed to come together well.
“My short game is usually pretty good, I have made some swing changes which are gradually coming together.
Mullard wasn’t planning on spending too much on the victory celebrations, preferring a bit of quiet enjoyment of the moment with family.
“My son’s at Lithgow, I’ll being going to have some tea with him on the way home,” she smiled.