The 2019 Harden Country Club Championships have come to pass, finishing on a weekend of regional snow, gale-force winds and freezing temperatures.
The tough conditions brought out the true grit in a number of players, resulting in a hard-fought win at the top of the grades by reigning club champion Ben Glover.
After rounds 1 and 2 the previous weekend, Mark Parker entered the weekend of the final one shot in the lead, having played excellent golf and better than his present handicap.
Glover and Parker traded blows that first weekend, with each having one good day and one bad, leading to such a close lead at the break.
Parker came out in round 3 and again threw another good round in the mix of 75, with Glover unimpressed by his 78, a few over his handicap.
This set the final round up, with Glover behind entering day four.
Glover landed quite a few birdies in the closing holes as they were all square with four or five to go, which could not be matched by Parker.
Glover ended up breaking Parker's dogged fight for this year's championships about the 69th hole and then cruised away to claim the win by five.
Glover claimed his 10th win from the last 11 years of play, but it was certainly the hardest fought with Parker looking to go wire to wire until Glover's gritty day four gritty round, shooting a par round in arctic blast conditions to do so.
All was not lost for Parker, as he did so well over the four rounds he easily accounted for the coveted McLean Gold Cup for the best four rounds to nett by all championships competitors.
B GRADE TO FILMER, C GRADE TO BATES
These championships were full of good stories and tight little tussles that defined each grade.
In B Grade, Craig Filmer entered the final weekend five shots behind Peter Steinke and Brian Wales, before bringing home two of his best rounds for the year despite the horrid weather, to end up 13 shots ahead of the field.
In C Grade, Robert Bates and his old sparring partner Herby Manwaring were all set to go toe to toe in the final day, but Manwaring ended up with other commitments.
Bates' consistency over the four rounds told the tale on a fast-finishing Tom Poole. Kevin Hoppe was streets ahead due to four consistent but not flashy rounds and easily accounted for the vets division.
Ben Glover 80 73 78 71 302; Mark Parker 74 78 75 80 307
Craig Filmer 85 88 82 81 336; Brian Wales 81 87 92 89 349
Robert Bates 90 93 91 90 364; Tom Poole 104 102 105 100 411
Kevin Hoppe 80 83 81 80 324' Darrell Cassidy 85 94 83 90 352
MCLEAN GOLD CUP
Mark Parker 65 70 67 72 274 (course nett par 284 so -10 to handicap); Ben Glover 75 68 73 66 282; Craig Filmer 72 75 69 68 284
DAY 3 - SATURDAY, AUGUST 10
Continuing his patch of form, Mark Parker knocked out another great scratch score of 75 to record a 67 nett and claim the daily prize.
Balls on the day went back to 73 such was the hard going after the snow. These were awarded to Craig Filmer (69), Robert Bates (72), Michael Baldry (73) and Ben Glover (73).
The hole in one did not go off this weekend, however, a ball was awarded to Parker, being the only bloke to hit the green at 5.5m into the howling wind.
DAY 4 - SUNDAY, AUGUST 11
Storming through the field to prove his mettle as a true champion, Ben Glover claimed day four with his big march, returning a round of 66 nett and shooting par off the stick, to claim Nathan's first prize. Similarly, Craig Filmer put on a bold effort to win his grade and claim the runners-up trophy with a 68 nett.
Balls went to 73 nett again and were awarded to Robert Bates (71 nett), Mark Parker (72 nett) and Tom Poole (73 nett). Again, there was no hole in one as the conditions proved too tough for the field to even hit the green on this last day.
A vote of thanks to organisers Ron Page and Kevin Hoppe for their diligent record keeping and starting of the field. Thanks also go to the club for the day 4 munchies to the tired and weathered golfers who completed this year's marathon in trying conditions.
A special mention also to Karen Glover for her support in record keeping, cooking and also internet duties on the home page and Facebook.
LADIES STARTUP GROUP REPORT
Our startup ladies group has been keen and brave new golfers, braving whatever weather comes their way to express their passion at this weird old game.
Some notable recent events that deserve big cheers are the fast-improving Susie Wales who is toppling shots off her handicap in front of the other ladies' eyes.
Jacqui Solah, too, is dabbling in some weekend golf with the wisened Ronnie Page for the foursomes nett win and recently recording an individual birdie as a career first on the 16th.
Karen Glover won two weeks ago playing one below her handicap on the day, while Cathie Sanderson last week won with a round, three shots under her handicap. The improvement is directly proportionate to the keenness these girls are attacking the course with and it's very impressive to hear about.
Ladies mentor and spring chicken Marj Manwaring slipped a good round in just to level the playing field among the girls and show she still has some game. The group also welcomed again the Sydney go-betweeners Deb and Leah, who really enjoy their Harden break on course.
If you are keen to have a run, this is a no-pressure, learn-the-game group all about having some fun and getting some frustration out by whacking the little white pill around the track.
If you are tempted to use your Tuesdays for some fun and doing something different, phone Marj Manwaring on 6382 4352.
Our gents will be lining up for Ron Kerr's Trophy in an individual stableford, while the ladies will be playing an 18 hole stableford with a secret 9 holes for a club trophy. See you on the course - the rain has got it looking a treat.