Another beautiful sunny April day welcomed the challengers for this year’s Senior Amateur Championship of WA at Lakelands Country Club.
The men’s 7th group off the first tee at 7:58am was one to watch with Martin Minogue (Lakelands) at 148, Rob Milentis (Augusta) at 149, Robert Teunissen (Geraldton) who was leading the nett event at 149 gross and an outside chance with Michael Dunsmore (Hartfield) at 150. All four men were going to need to at least play to their handicap and some to have a chance. Minogue got off well with one over par 37 on the first nine with two birdies and but with three unfortunate bogeys. Milentis didn’t start as well with only one birdie and too many bogeys, finishing the first nine with a 39. Teunissen however was too far behind after his first nine of 42, with four bogeys and a double bogey. This might also see him losing the nett event. Dunsmore also suffered from a slow start with a double bogey on the first and two other bogeys to have a first nine of 40.
The men’s 8th group off the first tee at 8:04m held our leader and three hungry contenders; Nigel Barnes (Wanneroo) at 146, Rick Mckenna (Mount Lawley) at 147, Ken Brewer (Newcastle Golf Club) at 148 and Peter Bennett (Royal Perth) matching at 148. This was going to be the foursome showing lots of excitement playing for the title. Barnes was playing consistent golf, but two early bogeys saw a first nine of 38. McKenna was looking like he could be a hot contender with one birdie and one bogey to turn with a solid 36. If he brought in some birdies on the back nine it could be his tournament. Brewer who has been favourite all week started off shaky being two over after 5 holes but a birdie down the par 5, 8th saw him turn with a one over 37. Bennett stalled at the start with a bogey on the second, steadied and then made a great birdie on the par 3, 7th but an unfortunate bogey on the 9th hole saw him turn one over, 37.
For the men it was going to be a back nine of excitement to see who would take out the championship.
The main contenders for the women’s title all teed off from the tenth tee. Setting the pace for the women’s tournament was Sue Wooster (The National) at 156 with her next opponent and playing partner Robyn Lamb (Lake Karrinyup) at 163, 7 shots behind. Making up the threesome was Janice Gaudet (Joondalup), a further one shot behind in the gross at 164 and, at this stage, leading the nett event. The group behind had an outside chance with Sharon Thompson (Avondale) at 165.
A chance for an upset loomed quickly for the opponents when Wooster had an early bogey on the 11th, then again on the 13th and a third on the 15th to turn with a three over the card 40. Lamb unfortunately started off the day poorly with a bogey on the par 4, 10th hole and a matching bogey on the par 3, 13th hole. She did steady the ship to par out the rest of the nine to turn two over 39. Gaudet also didn’t get away well with two straight bogeys and then two other bogeys to turn with a 41. It initially didn’t look good for Thompson, starting with three bogeys but a birdie on the par 5, 14th hole saw her with a chance and matching it up with four straight pars to turn with a 39. Could Thompson be the one to throw a scare at Wooster.
The back nine for the men had the shot of the tournament. It came late in the day, but it sealed the event.
Barnes started off the back nine with four straight pars but the three bogeys to follow meant his chances were gone finishing with a 77 (223 total). Mckenna also tired on the back nine with four bogeys to finish with a 76 (223 total). Bennett was another one suffering from fatigue with bogeys on the 11th, 14th, and 17th, however he will enjoy coming back next time after a birdie on the 18th to finish with 75 (223 total). Minogue’s could have been the match to bring it on. However, starting the back nine with two bogeys and a bogey on the par 3, 13th hole meant he needed some quick birdies. Unfortunately all he could muster was a bogey on the last to finish with 75 (223 total).
Getting back to our title line, it all happened on the back nine for the men’s champion, Ken Brewer. With a birdie on the par 4, 12th hole, it was looking good but following it up with a bogey on the par 3, 13th saw the good work undone. It was then steady as it goes with three straight pars, however it all got interesting on the par 3, 17th hole. After hitting a solid hybrid off the tee suddenly the ball wasn’t to be seen. The playing partners thought it went in, but Brewer didn’t think that was the case. It wasn’t until they made it up to the green that they realised it had come up aces. Like all good champions, when you are in form you just keep it going. On the par 5, 18th hole, two wonderful shots to make the green saw him taking on an eagle opportunity but the long 40-foot putt was a bit too much and he had to be happy to finish a great three days of golf with a birdie 4, finishing with a two under the card 70 (218 total).
Brewer said, “The last three days have been good, putted well the first two days, sunk a couple of long putts that got me started and today I got a little bit lucky at the end. To finish hole in one and a birdie was a great way to finish the day”.
The women, on the back nine, needed to bring something special to take on Wooster. Unfortunately the fight was hard to find with Thompson crashing badly with a back nine of 45 for 84 (249 total). Gaudet wasn’t showing much attack and faded with 5 bogeys and one double bogey to have 44 on her back nine giving a total of 85 (249 total). This just left Lamb to make Wooster sweat. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be after having four bogeys and a double bogey to finish with a back nine 43, and 82 for the game (245 total).
As the women’s champion Sue Wooster lead from the beginning and continued throughout the three days of play. Sue might not have been pleased with her game, saying adapting to playing on a course with trees was difficult but three good rounds of 80, 76 and 78 was enough to secure victory, and she thanks her putting for getting her through.
Wooster said, “I come from the Mornington Peninsula and at The National we don’t have many trees and the fairways are wide and it was intimidating, and I didn’t have the driver working like I would have liked. I enjoyed the greens not too fast not too slow, and the surface was consistent throughout the 18 holes”.
A play-off was required to determine the men’s WA winner, between Peter Bennett (Royal Perth), Nigel Barnes (Wanneroo), Martin Minogue (Lakelands), and Stephen Graham (Mundaring). The winner from the playoff to represent WA in the National championships will be Nigel Barnes.
For the men the gross runner up is Martin Minogue (Lakelands) with a total of 223.
Men’s nett winner is Stephen Graham (Mundaring) with a total of 217, runner up Rick Mckenna (Mount Lawley) with 220.
For the women, the gross runner up and women’s WA winner is Robyn Lamb (Lake Karrinyup) with a total of 245.
The women’s nett winner is Janice Gaudet with a total of 228, runner up Janice King (Lake Karrinyup) at 230.
The Seniors championship was a great success, proudly hosted by Lakelands Country Club, with the David Whitby club President saying Lakelands was keen to host any large GolfWA event, pitching to our CEO Gary Thomas in his presentations speech that Lakelands would be more than happy to host a WA Open. Going by how much the players enjoyed the last three days it could be on the cards.