Practice makes perfect for busy Billy Gill
Rarely does a day pass without Billy Gill visiting Maroochy River Golf Club.
He competes in club competitions at least three times a week, and on the days he doesn’t play he visits the bistro for a coffee and a chat, catches up with his many friends at the bar, or practices for hours on the putting green.
Not that all this golfing activity made much difference to the quality of his game.
Billy, known throughout the Sunshine Coast as ‘the Sign Man’ before his retirement from the sign writing business a few years ago, is, by his own admission, a golfer of modest ability.
But in recent weeks something odd has happened.
Billy Gill has found his golfing mojo.
A couple of weeks ago, playing off a handicap of 19, Billy scored 43 points to win a Saturday stableford competition at Maroochy River.
“It was just a fluke,” the modest Billy insisted.
“Things went my way and I sunk a few putts.”
But there was no fluke about his follow up performance – 44 points last Saturday in another weekend stableford event, which won him the B grade trophy.
Ironically it was a day which was sponsored by Billy himself, along with his great mates Alex Somlyay, Terry Welch and John Gerrard.
He played off a handicap of 17, and his score was the best of anybody in any grade.
Even the unflappable Billy was impressed.
This week he travelled to Woodford to play with his pals in the Monday Club – something he does most Mondays - on a course which is scenic and tricky, but which has a quite low slope rating, particularly from the white tees.
Courtesy of his Saturday heroics, Billy’s official Golf Australia handicap had been cut to a lifetime low of 14.7, and when he tapped in his credentials to his GA phone app, he discovered he would be playing from a handicap of 12.
“Look at that,” beamed a jubilant Billy.
“I’m in A grade. That’s been a dream of mine for all my life.”
Shae sets his sights on Concord
Shae Wools-Cobb, whose quest for a Queensland Open was derailed by four bogeys on the first nine holes of Sunday’s final round at Pelican Waters, has now set his sights on next week’s New South Wales Open.
Wools-Cobb is one of three Sunshine Coast representatives – the others are Charlie Dann and veteran Glenn Joyner – to have earned a place in the big tournament to be played at Sydney’s Concord course.
The Maroochy River member will rue Sunday’s shaky start.
After virtually playing himself out of the tournament he rallied on the back nine with eagles on both par five holes, and eventually finished fifth – three shots from winner Andrew Evans.
“I was proud of myself for staying patient,” Wools-Cobb said, before turning his attention to the NSW Open, which starts next Thursday.
Sunshine Coast professionals Simon Tooman, Ryley Martin and Lochie Coleborn will need to pre-qualify to gain a start, along with Pelican Waters amateurs Blaike Perkins and Chris Crabtree.
Crowther back to reclaim title
Jake Crowther, whose bid for three straight wins in Headland’s Sunshine Coast Open Amateur Championship, was thwarted last year by COVID-19, will be back at Easter to compete against the best amateurs in southeast Queensland.
Crowther, a former champion junior when he was at Nambour, switched allegiance to Headland and promptly became club champion.
He won the Open Amateur Championship in 2018 and 2019, but then moved to Sydney, and could not defend his title last year because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Surfers Paradise amateur Adam Hawkins, who took last year’s championship in Crowther’s absence, will be back again, along with Headland club champions Adam Richards (1) and Dave Rattray (2).
Noosa’s George Giblett (plus 2) and Duncan Wood (Peregian, plus 1) will also compete in the event, which will be played on Saturday and Sunday, April 3 and 4.
Entries close at 5pm on Wednesday, March 24.
41 is Raffi’s lucky number
If Raffi Sekzenian isn’t this month’s winner of Noosa Springs Sunday Series it won’t be for lack of trying – or for any lack of consistency.
Raffi, playing off a 16 handicap, scored 41 stableford points to win the Sunday Series on March 7, and put himself in a strong position to shoot the month’s best score and qualify for the final in December.
He lined up again last Sunday. Playing off 15 this time, he scorched around Noosa Springs to record another 41 points to again win the weekly prize and match his best score for the month.
Sponsored by Universal Property, the Sunday Series offers golfers the chance to win the ultimate prize of a Noosa Springs holiday, including two nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast and two days of unlimited golf.
The event is open to everybody with an official GA handicap.
Sunshine Coast and Gympie golfers qualify for Noosa Springs’ special Sunday Locals Special rate of $79, including the cost of a golf cart.
Tooman takes it to the youngsters
The national Legends Tour does not resume until mid-April, but Sunshine Coast veterans Simon Tooman and Glenn Joyner are in no mood to take it easy.
They’re both competing against the younger pros on the Pro-Am circuit which is crisscrossing NSW this month.
Tooman, a club champion at Noosa before resuming his professional career a couple of years ago, took his game to Leeton at the weekend and showed he was more than competitive against golfers half his age.
He shot rounds of 70 and 67 to share the spoils with Canberra’s Matt Millar (68, 69) and Anthony Choat (65, 72).
The following day Joyner, the course ranger at Headland when he’s not touring the country, played consistently for a two-under-par 69 at the charity pro-am at Griffith to finish fourth.