THE lure of a spot in the NSW Open has attracted the strongest field ever assembled for this year’s NSW Mid-Amateur Golf Championships at the Bathurst Golf Club.
A guaranteed place in the 2018 NSW Open for men and the 2019 Women’s NSW Open is on offer for the winners of the titles and as such, it is not only players from the host state who will converge on Bathurst.
Amongst the field of 150 competitors aged 30 and above are golfing talents from Queensland and Victoria. They will do battle over three days, with the 54-hole event commencing on Sunday.
Defending champions Mark Boulton of Phillip Island and Jan Crichton of Killara Golf Club will face stiff opposition, with no less than 20 competitors on handicaps of scratch or better.
The men’s field boasts three former champions, including two-time winner Andrew Tharle (Royal Canberra) and Logan Toms (Woolgoolga).
Other contenders include: Danny Nesbitt of Shellharbour; Gavin Fitzgerald of Moruya; Nicholas Crews of The Australian Golf Club; and the 2017 Bathurst Open Champion, Mark Hale from Mudgee Golf Club.
In the women’s section, Gungahlin Lakes golfer Adele Douglas is the lowest handicapper at +1 and should be hard to beat.
Still, 2016-17 champion Crichton will be keen to make it three in a row, while four-time champion Gemma Dooley of NSW Golf Club could figure prominently in the final round as well.
The golf general manager of Golf NSW, Graeme Phillipson, expects the level of competition to be high, especially with a spot in the NSW Open on offer for the winners.
“The competition will be fierce, more than a few of them have already played in the NSW Open, and a couple have even pre-qualified for the Australian Open as well,” he said.
“Bathurst Golf Club is perhaps one of Australia’s finest inland courses. It has hosted many of our most prestigious championship including a NSW Open, and is always a challenge for the game’s best.”
The Bathurst Golf Club will be represented by Tony Forster, Tim McKinnon, Martin Meredith and Ash Lamb in the men’s draw and Jane Mitchell in the women’s. Oberon trio Barry Lang, Alan Cairney and Daren Gordon have entered as well.