It has been 13 years since a schoolgirl has won the 36-hole Grafton Ladies May Tournament.
Seventeen-year-old Courtney Fuller (4) of Grafton performed that feat last Friday with a score of 160 (80/80) to take the title, two shots clear of Coffs Harbour’s Trish Nance (5) on 162 on a count back from club mate Rebecca Goldsmith (1). Following a r/up finish in 2015, Courtney was thrilled to claim her first, of what we are certain will be many more, May Tournament champion’s titles.
With two days of varying weather, which brought cold early morning conditions on the Thursday, followed by mid-morning gale force, westerly winds arriving for the final round on the Friday, it was hard going for all players.
Course playing conditions were also vastly different to what most visiting players are familiar with. With the course in an extremely dry state, preferred lies on the fairways were relished by some, our usually likeable greens were presented super-fast with rolled surfaces, which continued to become quicker as the days progressed causing frustration for many players.
Courtney played some great golf in the final round on Friday to be square with the card following her first nine. However, as the windy conditions strengthened, and some wayward dropped shots crept in on the back nine, including a double bogie on the 11th, Courtney had to really dig deep to remain calm and focussed. Although continuing to drop shots, she stayed steady and managed to hold off her challengers to come in with a solid round of 80 hits to claim victory.
Courtney attributed most of her recent good form and success to putting in some hard practice and attending many junior tournaments during the past few months. She thanked her coaches, family and support crew for all their assistance in making her dream come true.
It was in 2003 that the then 15-year-old South Grafton High School student Malina Rumble claimed victory with a score of 156 (77/79). Malina adopted a casual approach when she attended school in the morning for her English lesson before heading into her final round on the Friday. On the Thursday afternoon she had returned to school to attend her final two lessons of the day.
Former Grafton junior player, and fellow 15-year-old South Grafton High School student, Samantha White, was the winner of both the 2003 Overall Nett Shield and the Dorothy Sparks Memorial Rose Bowl with 138 which capped off a great Tournament for the two juniors. Samantha returned “home” during her university studies to win the Tournament and Silver Cup in 2009.
This year, it was our long standing Grafton Ladies’ Committee Treasurer, Marilyn Powell, who returned the best overall nett score to claim the title of Champion Overall Nett winner and be awarded the Clarence Valley Council Shield and Crystal Vase. Marilyn also received the Dorothy Sparks Memorial Rose Bowl with a score of 143 on a count back from fellow Grafton player Lorraine McLaughlan.
A very excited Marilyn was overcome with tears and emotion upon being named the winner and was lost for words as she graciously received her silverware and beautiful prizes from Clarence Valley Council Mayor Richie Williamson.
Our 36-hole gross division winners were Rebecca Goldsmith (162) of Coffs Harbour, Helen McFarlane (182) of Maclean and Sonya Baker (203) of Grafton. The 36-hole nett winners were Marjorie Askew (145) of Byron Bay, Chrissy Danvers (147) of Grafton and Shirley Goodger (148) of Grafton. The 36-hole veteran winner was Sue Petty of Grafton with 148 on a count back.
Our tournament had commenced on the Wednesday with the 4BBB competition. A field of 144 starters contested this event which was kindly sponsored by McLennan Deece Optometrists.
This year saw the Commonwealth Bank Jug event taken out by the Dorrigo pairing of Heather Menzies and Jennifer Maxwell when they returned an incredible 50 stableford points in the nett event. Runners up were the seasoned combination of Millie Harris of Grafton and Kim Moore of Maclean with a very nice 47 points.
Gross winners on the day were Janette Blair of Grafton and Jodie Rockliff of Coolangatta-Tweed with a fantastic 36 points which was five points ahead of the runners up Amanda Carr and Kay Nash of Armidale.
Saturday saw the final day of the Tournament with the traditional and always popular Mixed American Foursomes event attracting a field of 118 starters. With our long term sponsors, A.C. Small Maxwell & Co., once again supporting this event, we were delighted to have Derek Alden and his wife Kay present for our evening presentation following this event.
Winners of this event with a fine score of 75 were defending champions Jodie Rockliff and Greg Harvison. Nett winners were Margaret Rickwood together with son Grant of Bonville on 65. Gross runners up went to Courtney Fuller and Dave Morgan with 79 on a c/b from Sue Reguson and John Dahl.
It was fitting that Sally Beresford (who teamed with Matt Worthing) were awarded the nett runner up prize on 65.875. Sally’s late husband, Peter, had been a partner in the firm of A.C. Small Maxwell & Co. and Derek made mention of the instigation by Sally and Peter, some 40 years ago, of the sponsorship by the firm towards the supporting of our May mixed event.
Players this year travelled from a wide area including Coolangatta-Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Kyogle, Byron Bay, Ballina, Iluka, Maclean, Yamba, Tamworth, Armidale, Dorrigo, Woolgoolga, Coffs Harbour, Bonville, Gosford, Maitland, Cromer and Mona Vale.