Tharle by Two, Mullard, Gole deadlocked at Senior Amateur

Andrew Tharle is the outright leader in the men’s, while Louise Mullard and Nadene Gole remain deadlocked in the Women’s with just one round remaining in the NSW Senior Amateur Championship at Wollongong and the Links Shell Cove.

Tharle, from Royal Canberra, carded the round of the day in the men’s, a one under par 70 at the Links to go with his opening round 71 at Wollongong. He holds a two-shot lead over defending Champion David Bagust of Port Macquarie, alongside Wyong’s David McLelland.

Three players sit another shot back at plus two, John Mihaljevic from Royal Canberra, Victorian Mark Allen, and Andy Hugill of Mona Vale.

A former winner of the NSW and Australian Mid-Amateur, Tharle saved his best for last today at the Links Shell Cove, closing out his round with a chip-in eagle to jump into red figures.

“I hit driver, then a chunky eight-iron over the water and holed it from off the green.

“My chip didn’t look like missing to tell the truth,” Tharle said.

The move by Golf NSW to reduce the Men’s Senior Amateur age limit to 50 was positive according to the Royal Canberra member, saying it was refreshing to be competitive against those in the older ranks.

“I’ve only just turned 51, so this is my first time at the Senior Amateur. It feels good being the young pup out here, he grinned. “They are all a good bunch of blokes to play with.”

Overnight leaders Ken Brewer of Newcastle and Paul Clarke from Bayview couldn’t maintain their day one form, with Brewer only managing a five over 75 at Wollongong. At the same time, Clarke had a day to forget, carding a disastrous 81 at the city course.

The Women’s Championship is turning into a two-way battle with Victorian Nadene Gole and Wyong’s Louise Mullard unable to be separated after each carding matching two under par 69’s at the Links.

The pair sit a whopping ten shots in front of defending Champ Sue Wooster third place, while Kiama’s Jane Wall and News South Wales Golf Club’s Gemma Dooley are another seven shots back at plus 14.

All the interest, however, was in the golf played by the leading two, who were also playing together.

Gole, the senior women’s world number one, was on a tear early, rolling in an impressive five birdies while only dropping a single shot for an outward nine of just 30.

At one point early in her round today, the Victorian held a five-shot lead. The back nine, however, proved her undoing; a bogey on 14 was followed up with a messy double on the next. She righted the ship on the 16th with a birdie, but a last-hole double bogey undid most of her day’s good work.

Mullard, in contrast, has been a model of consistency in the opening two rounds, with just three bogeys in 36 holes.

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