WOORAYL Golf Club was the South Gippsland host of one of the 17 nine-hole district qualifying rounds of Sunday’s the Play 9 event, conducted by Golf Victoria.
This is the second year that this event has been played, and it is now establishing itself as a permanent fixture in the golfing calendar.
Qualifying events are played at club level, and players then progress to the district playoff. The format was changed from last year, and given that it was delayed in its release, there were exceptions granted to allow other players to participate with the district finalists. The top two stableford scores for the men and women not only receive a prize for the day, but also the chance to play in the State Final at Royal Melbourne on Sunday, November 4.
On welcoming the eleven men and six women, Golf Victoria’s Darren Cole, Regional Development Officer for Gippsland, announced that there would be an additional spot for both men and women at Royal Melbourne, which certainly added further incentive. He congratulated all those who had made it to the district event, and thanked Woorayl for hosting the day.
The morning was absolutely perfect for golf, and the course was in great condition, allowing impressive scores to be posted. In the ladies’ event, the qualifiers were Betty Williamson of Lang Lang, who was a clear winner with a fabulous 22 points (27), Elly Berryman of Woorayl, who was runner up with 16 points (16) on a countback from Marianne Leaver of Leongatha (27). The three qualifiers in the men’s draw all posted a score of 19 points, so a countback decided placings, with Stuart Canning (14) of Foster as the winner from Tony Vanin of Foster (8) and Marcus Luscombe of Woorayl (11). If any of the qualifiers are successful in being in the top two men and women from the Victorian Play 9 final at Royal Melbourne, they will earn an all-expenses paid trip to Sydney. These players will participate in the national Play 9 event at The Lakes Golf Club on day three of the 2018 Australian Open, and a win here would see them off to the 2019 British Open. Good luck to all qualifying players!

THE Country Teams golf competition was played on Monday, October 1, to Wednesday, October 3. The district team of South Gippsland Ladies were in action at Keysborough on Monday and Cranbourne on Tuesday, as they competed in the yearly event.
Having won Division Three last year, they were promoted to Division Two, and the goal set by team manager Anne Walker was to maintain this ranking or improve on it. The five-team round robin draw saw South Gippsland players faced with a challenge, as they had to play two 36-hole days, and rest on the Wednesday whilst the other teams played. A team of ten players were selected, with seven participating in each round. These players were: Ali Adams, Wonthaggi, Anne Walker, Wonthaggi, Andrea Thorson, Meeniyan, Dot Christie, Meeniyan, Faye Morris, Phillip Island, Jacqui Baker, Phillip Island, Lee Clements, Korumburra, Rebecca Thomas, Leongatha, Robyn Galloway, Foster, and Toni West, Leongatha. Unfortunately, due to illness, Lee Clements had to withdraw at the last moment, and Irene Holm joined the team for Meeniyan.
The first day at Keysborough saw a fabulous result, with the team taking home the points in both rounds. It was a beautiful morning for golf, and in the first round of matches, South Gippsland were up against South Western, and went on to win 5-2. In the individual matches, Faye Morris led the team off with a beautiful drive down the 10th hole, winning one up, Toni West went down 3-2, Robyn Galloway finished square, Andrea Thorson won 2-1, Ali Adams finished square, Jacqui Baker won 2-1, and Bec Thomas won 2-1. The afternoon’s match against Western was a cliff-hanger, as South Gippsland took the honours with a 4-3 win.
The round win was decided on the last shot of the day, on the temporary 19th par 3 hole. South Gippsland were in number one player Bec Thomas’s capable hands. Going to the tee, Bec was one down, and her opponent had put her tee shot into the green side bunker. Bec played a fabulous shot to put the pressure right back on her opponent by hitting her drive, pin high on the green. Her opponent took four shots to ‘get down’ with Bec, making the three, squaring the match and giving South Gippsland the round win. There were lots of hugs and a few tears, as the 36-hole day was certainly a memorable one for all in pink! In the other individual matches, Faye Morris posted her second win with two up, Robyn Galloway squared, Andrea Thorson lost one down, Ali Adams won 4-3, Dot Christie went down 4-2, and debut player Jacqui Baker posted her second win 2-1.
On day two at Cranbourne, an overcast morning greeted the team, and there was even a light shower of rain, but the skies cleared to lovely sunshine as the morning went on. It was tight all morning against East Gippsland, and it came down to the last couple of matches out on course. This time, the tight result went the other way, with East Gippsland winning 4-3. Faye Morris once again led the team off the first tee, and pushed her opponent all the way, finishing up going down 2-1. Robyn Galloway drove well and had a convincing win 5-4.
Andrea Thorson was all square at the 14th and came home strongly to win two up. Ali Adams was tenacious and made her opponent ‘earn the win’, going down 3-1. Dot Christie pushed hard but went down 6-5. Meanwhile, Jacqui Baker went one down on the 18th after a close match, and Bec Thomas reversed the result for the club on the 18th, winning one up. A great effort was made by the team, and the results were exceedingly close.
After three rounds in two days, the ladies teed off for their fourth and final round robin match in the afternoon against Dalhousie to complete their 2018 Country Teams campaign, and fell short going down 5-2. Faye Morris led the team off admirably with a well-positioned drive on the 10th. Faye registered a win 2-1. Robyn Galloway finished on the 16th, going down 4-2, Andrea Thorson powered home with a 6-4 win, and Ali Adams fought hard, going down 2-1. The sentimental pairing of the day was Dot Christie with Anne Walker, as it was fabulous to see these two wonderful ambassadors for golf and the district on the course together. They went down 5-4, Jacqui Baker had a challenging match, going down 7-5, Bec Thomas pushed Jess Pickwick, a Golf Victoria State Player, all day, going down 4-3. Thanks goes to the support team of Maxine Eabry of Leongatha, and the caddies Beth Curram and Deb Williams of Foster, Maree Anderson of Wonthaggi, Linda Shannon of Leongatha, and Marg Tuckett and Elly Berryman of Woorayl.
The results from the final round on Wednesday saw the South Gippsland ladies consolidate their position in Country Teams Division Two, finishing in overall third position. It was very close between all teams, and the neighbouring district of East Gippsland came out on top, winning the Division. Anne Walker, on behalf of the team, thanked all those supporting South Gippsland for their online encouragement and everyone who made it on course- the ‘ladies in pink’ were certainly seen- to share every shot with the players. She also thanked and congratulated the team for their commitment over the two days, as, whilst being exhausting, it was a very rewarding, enjoyable experience, and a privilege to have been involved with such a dedicated group. Well done to Anne, and bring on 2019!
It was a fabulous result for the men of the district at Rossdale, where they won the Division Three title. It was only 12 months before that the SG ladies were celebrating their Division Three win there. Many of the ladies were there on Wednesday to cheer the men on in their matches against Dalhousie, where South Gippsland only needed to win 1 match to secure the title. In fact, they won 3.5, to end up squaring with Dalhousie. This win promotes them to Division Two next year, so it will be great to have both teams playing at the same course. Well done and congratulations to everyone involved in South Gippsland golf!