Hunter River District Golf Association –

2015 Ladies Inaugural Two Day District Tournament

The inaugural two-day Hunter River District Golf Association Ladies Championships was held last week at Cypress Lakes and the Hunter Valley Golf and Country Club.

The fledgling women’s association, which broke away from the Newcastle Hunter District Golf Association last year, was played in cold and often windy conditions.

Day one at the testing Cypress Lakes Golf Club saw Magenta Shores’ scratch marker, Kim Burke take out the Open scratch event with a hard fought 82.

“I loved the course, it was fantastic and the greens were really quick and it was stunning as every hole is different,” she said.

“I played fairly well, I had one horrible four-putt and a few three putts but apart from that I played quite well. When you don’t know the course that well I found myself in the wrong spot a few times, so it made it difficult around the greens.”

Liz White from the Vintage finished runner up, but took out the Closed Championship, which is open to only HRDGA players, with a round of 88.

“It was a very testing day, cold at the start, with some lightning greens and very tricky pin positions,” she said.

In division two, it was a delighted Helen Wheatley who took the prize with a round of 105.

“I really didn’t think I played that well, so I was really surprised to see I had won,” the Aberdeen player said.

“It just goes to show how hard the course was for everyone. I have been playing for about 27 years and this is the biggest singles event I have ever won.”

Even more impressed with her victory was the Division three winner, Tanya Carrigan, from Merriwa Golf Club.

“I think the golfing gods were on my side today,” she said.

“Things were finally going right that haven’t been going right for the last three months.

“I thought the greens were fantastic, I mastered them today and for me that is really good because they are normally not my forte.”

Royalie Sciani from the Vintage was the overall nett champion with a score of 77, one of only a handful of scores in the 70’s.

Day two at the Hunter Valley Golf and Country Club saw locals Dale Hamilton and Jenny Chambers take home the Foursomes Championship by three strokes.

The pair have been foursomes partners for over twelve years and said this was one of the key reasons for their success.

“We pretty well know one another’s game, we sort of give each other encouragement, if one of us has a bit of a hiccup the other one tries and pulls them back, so I think that’s always a plus for us,” Mrs Hamilton said.

Mrs Chambers was quite surprised by the victory.

“We thought there was a lot better players out there than us, but on the day you never know,” she said.

“We were quite surprised that we finished the day with the ball that we started with, because we don’t normally do that.”

The division two winners were Aberdeen’s Julie Berwick and Vicky Shankley with a 101 round.

The nett champions with a score of 73.5, were Maree Gledhill and Kristine McMahon from the Vintage.

“We had some crazy things happen out there,” Mrs McMahon said.

“All of a sudden you can’t chip and you can’t putt because you are trying too hard but we had some good holes out there and our playing partners made it a great day.”

The HRDGA Ladies captain, Melita Watson, was pleased the inaugural two-day event was so well supported with over ten clubs from outside the district competing in the event.

“It was great to draw not only so many players from inside the district but also from outside,” she said.

“I was told a two-day event would not work, the men in the HRDGA really didn’t want us to try it, but don’t put a challenge up against women,” she laughed.

“I have already had some ladies from the Everglades commit to the event next year, so it is a positive sign that we can grow this tournament.

“It has also been good for the Valley in general with so many people booking accommodation for the two day event.”

The Ladies HRDGA comprises around twelve clubs, that ranges in distance from Stonebridge in Cessnock right through the Valley to Stroud up north. A further 2 clubs have indicated they may also leave the Newcastle Hunter District to join up with the HRDGA in 2016.

“The Ladies Newcastle Hunter District Golf Association had 33 clubs, far too many for anyone to handle and be able to do justice to every club,” Mrs Watson said.

“Now we are a much smaller organisation and it has allowed us to become a bit more personalised and as a result we have clubs competing that have never competed in Golf NSW events before, like Patterson.

“That can only be good for golf in general as well as helping keep the smaller women’s golfing clubs, like Stroud and Patterson, alive.”

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Article Written by: Liz White (The Vintage Golf Club)