Tricky conditions at Wollongong and The Links Shell Cove have made life tough for players in the opening round of the NSW Senior Amateur.
In a sign of the difficulty of the challenge faced by the 240-plus field, only four players managed to break par at both venues: Newcastle’s Ken Brewer and Bayview’s Paul Clark, the only players in red figures in the men’s Championship, while the women fared slightly better at Wollongong Golf Club, with Nadene Gole and Wyong’s Louis Mullard tied for the lead at two under par.
Victorian Gole, the world senior women’s amateur number one, played solidly all day. After a quiet front nine where she could only manage a lone birdie against a single bogey, she converted birdie chances on the 13th and 18th to ensure her opening 69 was one of the day’s best rounds.
Mullard, the 2021 NSW Senior Amateur champ and playing a couple of groups behind Gole, was a model of consistency. After 12 straight pars, the Wyong gun finally converted her first birdie of the day on the par-five 13th before going on a tear with two more birdies on the 14th and 16th to get to three under par.
The lead would have been her’s alone at the end of the day, except for an ill-timed bogey on the last, her first error for the day which saw her drop back into a share of the lead alongside Gole.
New South Wales Golf Club’s Gemma Dooley, the current NSW Mid-Amateur Champ, is five shots back of the leading pair while defending champ Sue Wooster is another shot back in fourth.
The men’s division saw the lead change several times throughout a challenging day.
When the dust settled, the consistent Novocastrian Ken Brewer and Bayview’s Paul Clark sat on top of the leaderboard after carding matching one -under par 70s.
Royal Canberra’s John Mihaljevic, playing in the early half of the draw, carded an even-par 70 to sit in third place alongside David McLelland of Wyong and Andrew Tharle of Royal Canberra. The latter two completed their opening rounds at Wollongong Golf Club.
Kiama’s Jane Wall is the best of the locals in the Women’s Championship after carding an opening eight over 79, while in the Men’s Championships, The Links Shell Cove’s Craig Farnham took advantage of his home course knowledge and is in a seven-way tie for 6th at plus one.