THE course will be hard and fast and the talent bountiful this weekend as the Bathurst Golf Club stages the annual Peter O’Malley Junior Masters.
The event has attracted a field of 180 talented juniors who will battle for both overall honours and age group titles across two days of golf.
Bathurst Golf Club general manager Brad Constable is delighted with the response to the tournament named after the former Scottish Open winner.
“The Peter O’Malley Junior Masters is the largest Jack Newton event in New South Wales. It’s always been the premier one,” Constable said.
“I think you can attribute a certain amount of that to a guy who is held in as high a regard as Peter, but I think it’s also got to do with Bathurst’s proximity in the state as well, it’s a natural fit.
“We’ve got 180 kids both days and from what I can gather, that’s almost maximum for the Saturday and Sunday.”
With 2016 champions Jay Mackenzie and Steph Kyriacou not returning to Bathurst this year, two new major victors will be crowned.
Dubbo’s Jones Comerford is amongst the favourites to clinch the boys’ overall honours, but is expected to face some stiff competition from the likes of Lachlan Chamberlain (Federal), Ethan Keane (Bonnie Doon) and Brandon Shong (Castle Hill).
In the girls’ division, 12-year-old Sophie Yip from Concord is one to watch given her 0.7 handicap.
Still, Constable believes the Bathurst contingent – Ben Davis, Cameron Jackson, Ben Mackey, Ben McCrossin and Casey Thompson – can figure amongst the award winners.
“Hopefully from our point of view, one of the Bathurst kids, either in their age group, or you never know overall as well, can find a bit of success,” he said.
“Casey’s been going really strong, from the female perspective she’s been right up there in most tournaments she’s played.
“All the young guys are all up and coming and are poking their noses through at a few tournaments, so I think they are all headed in the right direction.”
Just as the competition will test the juniors, who will tee off from 7.15am both days, so too will the Bathurst course.
“The course is in remarkable nick for this time of year after such a dry period, but it’s going to be playing hard and fast,” Constable said.
“That’s probably indicative of Bathurst at it’s best – hard and fast – and the greens especially, they are fantastic”