April 17, 2024

Tharle, Mullard Take Senior By Storm at Tamworth

The weather gods didn’t play nice, but the Golf NSW Senior Amateur finally wrapped up at Tamworth Golf Club after a lengthy storm delay.

When play finally ended in the early evening, defending Champion Andrew Tharle in the men’s and runaway leader Louise Mullard in the women’s emerged triumphant.

Tharle, who started five back of the overnight leaders, put together a well-crafted 69 on his way to a two-shot win over Shelly Beach’s James Swanson, the first-round leader, with Ian Frost and overnight leader David Armstrong finishing in third place.

Mullard, who took an incredible eight-shot margin into the final round, was never really challenged on the final day. Her. closing round of one-over 73 was enough to cruise to a nine-shot win over her nearest opponent, Victorian Sue Wooster, who finished at five over. Last year’s champion, Nadene Gole, finished in third one back of Wooster at plus six.

With the 90-minute delay coming just as the leading groups reached the middle of the back nine, the men’s title was still well and truly up for grabs. Tharle, playing in the next-to-last group, fared best when play resumed. After making birdies on 13 and 14 to grab a one-shot lead, Tharle was left with just three holes to play when the forced break hit.

“The delay was OK for me,” Tharle said. “You know it has to be done.”

“I had a two-foot putt sitting on the 16th, and all I could do during the delay was think about how I could miss it. I didn’t”, though,” he laughed.

In the final group of the day, Swanson loomed as Tharle’s biggest challenger. With just a hole to play, the tournament was headed for a playoff. Sadly for the Shelly Beach representative, an ill-timed bogey on the last cruelled his chances and gifted the Royal Canberran his second crown in as many attempts.

Tharle admitted he didn’t think going back-to-back was realistic, especially after his opening round; thankfully, he said, some form with the putter returned when he needed it most.

“I hit 17 greens on the first day with 38 putts. I just couldn’t get the pace right.

“I played solidly at Longyard, though, and then holed a few in the final round.

“I could’ve made a few more, but you get that in golf.”

As for a winners’ celebration, Tharle admitted it was little more than a Golden Arches-inspired feast on the drive back to the capital Territory.

Tharle’s victory celebration was muted.

“A Quarter-Pounder, small fires, and a shake. It was a long drive home,” he smiled.

With an eight-shot lead in the women’s, Mullard’s victory was all but a formality; however, she admitted to having some doubts as she began her final round.

“I didn’t quite know what to expect when I teed off,” she explained. “The lead played on my mind a bit, and I blocked a few shots early on.”

“I realised I needed to commit to each shot, which worked fine.”

Like Tharle, Mullard’s victory celebration was a quiet one.

“We finished so late, so we just hung around the club and had a lovely dinner. It was late, but it was a nice way to end the day.”

The win capped off a successful month for the Wyong gun, first a Victory with the Australian Team in the Trans Tasman matches against New Zealand and then her second NSW Senior Amateur Crown.

“It’s been a nice month, first the Trans-Tasman, and now this,” she smiled.

Final Scores Men: https://www.golfnsw.org.au/news/leaderboards/2024/03/05/67113/2024-golf-nsw-senior-amateur-men-leaderboard/

Final Scores Women: https://www.golfnsw.org.au/news/leaderboards/2024/03/05/67103/2024-golf-nsw-senior-amateur-women-leaderboard/

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