The Marlborough Golf Club has a new course record holder.
Millbrook professional Ben Gallie shot a five-under-par 67 during Thursday’s Whitehaven Wines Pro-Am at the Fairhall venue, breaking the previous record of 69.
The Otago-based player, who was one of the late starters and had to battle blustery winds, was somewhat surprised by his success, especially given the limited amount of competition golf he has played in recent times.
“I’m a full time [goal] teacher at Millbrook and I haven’t actually played any competitive rounds for about five years,” he explained.
His first return to competition came on Wednesday in Nelson, at their Pro-Am where he shot a 73, a score he termed “OK”.
Ben was doubly surprised to win in Blenheim, given the strength of the field which was bolstered by several professionals who would be plying their trade on various tours abroad but for COVID. In total, 52 professionals turned out yesterday.
“The level of golf this year was pretty awesome so it was good to be able to beat the guys that play full-time.”
Among that list he mentioned high profile players such as Josh Geary and Michael Hendry, plus rising stars such as Kieran Muir and Dan Hillier.
“They play pretty solid golf so it was pretty good [to get the win]. I hit seven birdies and two bogeys, drove two of the par fours and birdied all of the par fives.
“I’ve got a new driver in my bag, the new Ping G425 that hasn’t come out yet, and I’ll be keeping it,” he added.
Although Ben knew what the course record was he felt someone else would go lower on the day.
“I didn’t think my score would be good enough … I assumed someone would be about seven-under, looking at the scores from Nelson, so was hoping I would get top-five, then someone said when I came in ‘you are leading by two and have got the new course record so get your speech ready’.”
Ben enjoyed the course, a layout he had never played on before.
“I didn’t have a practise round so I didn’t actually know where I was going”, he said, “so I was just using my laser and aiming and firing and it turned out quite well.”
Six professionals either equalled or beat the previous course record.
The top team on the day was the Robinson Construction combination. They played with Geary, who finished second with a 69 on the individual standings. The Robinson’s team comprised Nick and Hugh Robinson, plus Mark Watson.
Second was the Whitehaven Wines team of Hendry, Julian Terry, Wendy Batchelor and Allan Shutkowsi.
1 Robinson Construction – Nick and Hugh Robinson, Mark Watson and their pro player Josh Geary
2 Whitehaven Wines – Julian Terry, Wendy Batchelor, Allan Shutkowski and pro Michael Hendry
3 Barking Cat – Murray Swanson, Lance Nuttal, Duncan Bint and pro Kieran Muir (last year’s winning professional)
4 Harcourts – Mark Davis, David Searle, John Davis and pro Peter Fowler
5 The Pin Seekers – Pru Jensen, Marion Tripe, Lizzie Turnbull and Harry Bateman
6 McKendry Ford – Tracy Bary, Marilyn Smit, Julie Smith and Gareth Paddison
7 Teamsters – Sue Murray, Steve Marfell, Tony Jordan and Troy Ropiha
8 North and South – Mark Kininmonth, Youngho Cho, Malcolm Mackenzie and Robin Smalley
9 Kaikoura Livestock Limited – Liam Harnett, John McDonald, Geoff Pacey and Lachie McDonald
10th Pertatetts – Roger Pears, Shane Tate, Sean Hassett and Peter Giles
The Ping Putter was won by Julian Terry – the money raised from this putting competition bought a set of golf club and trundler for Junior Golf.
1 Ben Gallie from Millbrook who shot 67 (broke the current course record of 69); 2 Josh Geary 69; 3 on countback 69 Michael Hendry; 4 on countback 69 Mark Hutson; 5 on countback 69 Tae Koh; 6 on countback 69 Kieran Muir.