No pain, no gain
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
OF all the lucky omens that can happen in sport, being hit by a flying golf ball isn't exactly a well-entrenched indicator of good fortune.
Standing on the 22nd tee on Sunday during the weekend's North Coast Open, Richard Gallichan had built up a comfortable lead when suddenly he hit the deck quicker than a Mike Tyson victim.
A stray shot from another group hit the Toukley member at full speed on the foot.
Spectators were suddenly left both bemused and confused as to what had happened to leave the strapping golfer lying prostrate on the deck in pain.
"It cracked me and I went down like I was shot," the champ recalled yesterday.
"It has blown up a fair bit today, it looks like there's another golf ball there."
The setback didn't stop Gallichan racing away to a three-stroke victory after shooting six-under par for the 54-hole event, but the 22 year old said that although it was a healthy margin, the weekend was full of hard work for him.
"My driving was really ordinary but luckily I chipped and putted really well," he said.
"I needed all those up and downs because I struggled to find the fairways."
Gallichan went into the tournament confident of his chances simply because of the amount of golf that he's been playing lately had him feeling that he was at a distinct advantage over the rest of the field.
"I've been playing in America so I've been playing a lot of golf lately," Gallichan said.
"I've also been doing a lot of fitness work and working hard on that and I've lost a fair bit of weight which I've found has been a big help, so I've been starting to feel confident about my game."
While dropping putts left, right and centre came a pleasant bonus, the national squad member admitted coyly that it didn't surprise him.
"Compared to back at Toukley, the greens at Coffs were pretty grainy and I've found that the further north you go, the grainier the greens get," he said.
"I've found that I usually go alright on those types of greens.
"Other than the greens, the course was very similar to my home course with it being tight off the tee which was something that helped."
Runner-up for the tournament was Grant Scott from Nelson Bay while Woolgoolga's Logan Toms stayed level with the card to finish in third place.