Maybe nine holes once a month.
That’s how little golf Jason Barby had been playing leading into the North Coast Amateur Open, but it didn’t stop him from taking out back-to-back titles and a third win in four years at the Coffs Harbour Golf Club.
“I’m at Uni this year, so I’ve been studying pretty seriously, and that has been my focus,” Barby explained.
Barby started the final round with a three-stroke lead after carding a 69 on Saturday.
That lead had been whittled back to one by Dave Newick as the final group finished the front nine.
The pressure eased somewhat when Newick pushed his drive right on the 10th and then lost a ball to record a triple-bogey.
Barby maintained his two-stroke lead As the rain began to fall heavily late in the round before Newick fought back with a birdie on the par-5 17th to ensure a tense finish.
The pair pulled their tee shots left on the last, and after recovering short of the green for two, neither were able to get up and down, ensuring Barby held on for a one-shot victory.
There was little joy from the winner, and it was only after the round that Barby revealed why.
“I wasn’t quite sure what the situation was coming up the last. It’s a bit of relief really,” he said.
“I like to know what the scores are so I can force myself to make birdies but just wasn’t aware of the few holes.”
The reigning champ had a plan that he thought would lead him to the trophy.
“I was trying to make pars. I figured no-one was going to birdie coming in so I just tried to make as many pars as I could.
“My clubs were pretty good until about the 17th. They started getting a bit wet so that it made it tough.”
Barby, who has been a regular feature at the club for many years working behind the bar, will soon be leaving the area. A move to Adelaide in January is on the cards so he can continue his chiropractic studies.
“If the timetable suits definitely but if I’m in class I won’t be able to, unfortunately.”
Catherine was great in Ladies Classic
IT went down to the wire, and if a putt on the last green didn’t lip out, the Coffs Coast Ladies Classic would’ve headed to a playoff.
Catherine Reynolds led by three strokes over Beck Goldsmith and 14-year-old Hollie Fuller with one hole to play and was on the fairway after her final drive.
That’s when an error in judgement almost cost the Bonville member the Ladies Classic title.
Shooting her approach shot way over the back of the green Reynolds admitted her error after the round.
“I didn’t need that extra club did I?”
The shot ended up in a garden bed and forced to take a drop for an unplayable; she ended up making a triple bogey, opening the way for the challengers.
Fuller was unable to make par, but Goldsmith had a two-metre uphill putt to tie the scores.
The lip-out was the final dramatic moment.
“I thought she’d hole it because she’s a great putter then we would’ve had a sudden-death playoff which would’ve been even more exciting,” Reynolds said.
The weekend tournament was the first time Reynolds played in the Ladies Classic after moving to Coffs Harbour from Sydney’s Northern Beaches about a year ago.
“I came up here playing the Bonville Women’s Classic for years and our family has moved up here now.
“I played this course (Coffs Harbour) a little bit, but I’m not that familiar with it,” he said.
With the tournament coming down to a battle between the winner and Goldsmith, Reynolds explained it was a step back in time for the pair as they’ve known each other since they were kids.
“Between the ages of eight and 12 we used to go to those camps at Narrabeen so as golfers we’ve known each other our whole lives,” she said.
“We were at Long Reef together; we used to win the foursomes championships down there in our 20s and 30s.
“She moved home, and now I’m here. So it was actually quite extraordinary for us to play together again.”
144 Jason Barby (69, 75)
145 Dave Newick (72, 73); Logan Toms (73, 72)
146 Harry McMillan (73, 73)
148 Tyler Corfe (76, 72); Aaron Hart (75, 73)
149 Aden Louez (72, 77); Mark Beales (73, 76); Anthony Rapley (74, 75)
165 Catherine Reynolds (78, 87)
166 Beck Goldsmith (83, 83)
167 Trish Nance (85, 82)
168 Hollie Furler (82, 86)
174 Keryn Little (86, 88)