The opening round was held as Federal Golf Course which, due to the dry weather, have had to allow their fairways go dry to focus on greens and tees. Despite the colour of the fairways, rarely did anyone get a bad lie but did get lots of roll. Distances that drives were going made many seniors feel young again.
Federal vs Yowani
On home turf, even if it was a bit dry, Federal went in favourites against Yowani.
Federal jumped out of the gates with Tim Brunton (Federal) giving Graham Wells of Yowani a lesson in playing on cooch winning 6 and 5. That canny campaigner Wally Gregory of Federal made it two from two for Federal defeating an injured Gerry Dempsey, 5 and 3.
When Federal’s Robert Moten won 2 and 1 over Yowani’s Stuart McKell, Yowani were on wood but were not giving up. Peter Wightman gave Yowani their first win over Federal’s Steve Audsley 1 up.
In something of a shock, Yowani’s Michael Riches defeated Federal’s Stephen Dunn who had been showing great form on the driving range.
So it came down to the top pairing of Federal’s Steve Wyatt against Yowani’s Chris Winslade. Chris had been burning up the Yowani layout on Wednesday but as he himself said before he started, golf is a day to day experience. And so it turned out. Steve won 3 and 2.
Royal vs Murrumbidgee
The 2017 champions, Royal Canberra, lined up against a strong Murrumbidgee side.
In the lead pairing, Stewart Jones from Murrumbidgee was against the District senior benchmark, Darryl Whitehead from Royal.
The match started with both players squaring the first two holes with birdies. Up steps Stewart on the downhill par 3 third and nails it straight at the flag. The ball runs up to the pin and disappears. Stewart’s first hole in one? Sadly no. The ball was hiding behind the pin. But Stewart goes one up and eventually defeats Darryl 2 and 1.
In the other big encounter, Royal’s John Mihaljevic led Murrumbidgee’s Rod Drayton for most of the day. On the short dogleg par 4 15th, Rod spots his chance to catch up as John sprays his drive to the right and has a forest in front of him. He has no line to the pin which is on the front tier. John pulls out a short iron and puts it onto the top tier. But for those who know this green, the slope from top to bottom is severe. Rod can do nothing as he watches John’s shot roll down the slope and into the hole – for eagle. That’s done him. John wins on the next hole 3 and 2.
Royal went onto win the encounter 4 and 2 with Wayne Hennock (Murrumbidgee) defeating Ross Rees (Royal) 2 and 1; Jeff Le Fevre (Royal) over Ross Oakman (Murrumbidgee) 1 up; Darryl Stuckey (Royal) in a runaway against Ross Lee (Murrumbidgee) 6 and 5; and Russell Morgans (Royal) over Ray MaCavoy (Murrumbidgee) 2 up.
Gungahlin Lakes vs Queanbeyan
In the Gungahlin Lakes vs Queanbeyan encounter, the top two Queanbeyan players had their Gungahlin Lakes counterparts covered. Colin Lamb (Queanbeyan) defeated the usually tenacious Les Molloy (GLGC) 4 and 3 and Queanbeyan’s favourite ‘son’ John Bull defeated Ivan Majdandzic (GLGC) 5 and 4.
But Gungahlin Captain Simon Dunstone kept his side in the match with an impressive 5 and 3 win over Queanbeyan stalwart Leigh Blyton. Leigh described Simon’s play as “sizzling”. He was long off the tee although perhaps not as straight as usual. It was Simon’s miraculous and repeated recoveries that were eventually too much for Leigh.
Yours truely managed to stay just ahead of Queanbeyan’s Russell Kirkpatrick eventually winning 2 up. With Ken Wark from Gungahlin falling to Queanbeyan’s Jerry Smith, who was metronomic off the tee, 4 and 3, it was up to Gungahlin’s Tony Murcutt. Tony was one up after nine against George Christou. Four birdies in a row from George, however, put paid to any chance Gungahlin may have had.
Queanbeyan ran out winners 4 to 2.