DEFENDING champion, Phillip Island Golf Club’s Mark Boulton has survived a drama-charged final day to make it back-to-back NSW Mid-Amateur Championships at Bathurst Golf Club last week.
In the process, he’s book himself a place in the $400,000 NSW Open at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club this November.
Boulton, the reigning Australian, Victorian and South Australian Mid-Amateur champion, described the achievement of qualifying to compete in a Tier One PGA Tour event against players of the calibre of 2017 NSW Open Champion Jason Scrivener and PGA Tour winners Brett Rumford, Jason Norris, Jordan Zunic and Ben Eccles as one of his lifetime golfing dreams.
“It’s a career dream to get a foot in the door at a tournament like the NSW Open.
“To get out there with the big guys, I’ll have to get plenty of practice in,” he smiled.
Earlier, on a cold autumn afternoon that saw four players with realistic chances to win over the closing stages, it was Boulton who held his nerve to post a five-over par 76 to take the championship by a shot from local challengers Mark Hale, Andrew Tharle and James Ponder.
Hale, who was in the box seat for much of the back nine, made a disastrous double bogey on the last, while his playing partner Tharle let a knee-trembling one-metre putt for birdie and a chance to make it a playoff slip by.
Boulton, playing in the next to last group of the day, hadn’t fared much better, making a bogey six on the 18th.
It was enough in the end to claim victory, and he was a very relieved man after the round.
“It was hard work,” Boulton said.
“I started bogey, bogey, I thought I was in for a big score today.
“I held it steady on the back nine, so I guess I stumbled over the line.”
Boulton described the feeling of taking out the title back-to-back as “awesome”.
“It’s a huge achievement.
“It was a strong field, a great course in absolutely mint condition, I’m really excited.
“I’ll have to come back to defend, I’ll do the honourable thing, for sure.”
Top 10 results: 227: Mark Boulton (Phillip Island); 228: Mark Hale (Mudgee), Andrew Tharle (Royal Canberra), James Ponder (Cromer); 230: Daniel Nesbitt (Links Shellcove), Andy Campbell (Duntryleague), Nicholas Crews (The Australian), Justin Hurst (Windaroo Lakes QLD), Jamie Pitt (Mona Vale); 231: Kieth Shepherd (Antill Park CC).