MAIN DRAWCARD: A strong crowd is expected to be at Coffs Harbour Golf Club tomorrow to watch the final round of the North Coast Open. Photo: LEIGH JENSEN
MAIN DRAWCARD: A strong crowd is expected to be at Coffs Harbour Golf Club tomorrow to watch the final round of the North Coast Open. Photo: LEIGH JENSEN

North Coast brigade plan to repel raiders at North Coast Open

THE raiders from out of town are coming to claim the North Coast Open but again the local golfers will prove hard to topple.

The climax of the 64th annual Pure Blonde Festival of Golf will see a crack field of 66 gun golfers vying for one of the most prestigious amateur titles in the state.

And according to Coffs Harbour Golf Club professional Matt Allan, the 36-hole event over the course of the weekend is well worth coming out to watch.

"There's some really long hitters in there so that's exciting," Allan said.

"It's always good to watch how far they hit it, particularly some of the young guys, they just absolutely bomb it and that's what everyone gets excited about, too. It's good to watch."

One of the young guys Allan is talking about could become a star of the future.

Past North Coast events have seen players such as Jason Day, Scott Gradiner and local product Paul Sheehan compete, players who've gone on to win professional tournaments around the globe.

"You'll see some high quality golf," the club pro promised. "These guys are some of the best amateurs in the state and a lot of them play Division 1 pennants in Sydney."

While Allan suggested players such as Adam Verity (Bayview) and Port Macquarie golfer Andrew Kirkman could add their name to the honour board, he believes local players with plenty of prior knowledge of the Coffs Harbour layout and its greens have a distinct advantage.

Recent winners such as Grant Skinner, Tim Hyland and Logan Toms had plenty of time at Coffs under their belts and Allan believes the local players have no need to feel intimidated by the raiders.

"I think we've got some great local talent. When the golfers come from out of town, it's pretty rare these days for them to win," he said.

This weekend will also see three other events being played.

A record field of 36 players is ready for the Ladies Classic while the higher handicapped players have also registered in record numbers to participate in the weekend-long Coffs Cup and Coffs Plate.



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