On the ball: Queenslander Gavin Fairfax keeps a close watch on the flight of his ball during the State of Origin battle at Coffs Harbour.
On the ball: Queenslander Gavin Fairfax keeps a close watch on the flight of his ball during the State of Origin battle at Coffs Harbour. Bruce Thomas

Festival of Golf a great hit

WITH the last divots replaced and the bunker sand raked back into place, Coffs Harbour Golf Club officials have had time to consider the success of the 60th Festival of Golf.

Golf coordinator and club marketing manager Clive Herring said the inaugural State Of Origin battle with Queensland was so successful it virtually demands a permanent place on the calendar.

“The winning trophy was presented to New South Wales captain Brett Drewitt by PGA life member Dave Mercer,” Herring said.

“Dave has kindly agreed to lend his name to the trophy and is very keen to return to Coffs Harbour next year and onwards.”

Adding to the lustre of the festival was having the North Coast Open again turn into a nail-biter with eventual champion Kyle Grant pulling out thrilling scores against Brett Drewitt over the last three holes.

“Kyle and Brett were level with three holes to play but Kyle bogeyd the 25th after fluffing a tricky downhill chip,” Herring said.

“He parred the last two holes and Brett, who was leading by one shot as he stood on the 26th, hit one of the biggest shanks with a 7-iron in tournament history.

“All he could do was bump and run his second shot into a greenside bunker and hope for an up-and-down.

“He two-putted for a double and dropped one stroke behind with one hole to play.

“Next was a hooked drive on the final hole, meaning he had to play a punch shot through the trees to finish just short of the green.

“Finally, Brett needed to chip in to go into a play-off and it was a great chip when you come to mention it ... except it pulled up about 10 inches short of the hole.”

Herring has commended all participants on their behaviour and their demeanour over the final three days, when the building successes tempted all to become boisterous.

“They were well mannered and approachable and many members and visitors made comment to me of this,” he said.

“In particular, I must give young Kyle Grant a huge wrap after he took our local juniors under his wing and gave them more time than any.

“It was a remarkable sight to see all the kids mob him after he made a par on the final hole and he dead set must have felt like Nicklaus.”

Herring said the reunion dinner was also great night.

“The old boys certainly enjoyed themselves and some have not changed a bit,” he said.

“It was fantastic to have six life members of the PGA in the one room and especially moving to have Dan Cullen present at the age of 96 years.”

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