PLAYING DOWN HIS CHANCES: Three-time Headland Golf Club champion David Rattray is short of practice ahead of this year’s edition.
PLAYING DOWN HIS CHANCES: Three-time Headland Golf Club champion David Rattray is short of practice ahead of this year’s edition. John Mccutcheon

Teens’ US move opens up club championship

RECENT past winners David Rattray and Aaron Shaw are among at least a dozen candidates who can win the 2014 Headland Golf Club championship, which starts on Saturday.

With 18-year-old reigning champion Matthew Samen-Curtis and 15-year-old prodigy Jack Trent recently moving to the US to further their burgeoning careers, the championship field is wide open.

The winner in 2009, '11 and '12, Rattray is among the more favoured.

He is hosing down his chances this year though, with the recent birth of another child meaning he has had limited chance to get out for a hit ahead of this weekend's tournament.

"I'm probably in no better form that anyone else around here and they always set the course up pretty hard," he said.

Rattray said he expected the greens to once again quicken up over the weekend, adding Headland could be a putter's nightmare if played the wrong way.

"I tend to play it on the safe side ... one thing you can't do around Headland is short-side yourself," Rattray said.

Dissatisfied with his consistency off the tee, he rated his current game at about 70% of where he'd like it to be.

"I'm a bit scratchy ... I get out and play a few holes, do a bit of chipping and putting every now and then and might hit the odd bucket of balls."

Rattray said he hoped to keep his putting to a minimum and be within a handful of shots of the lead in the final nine holes.

Scratch marker Adam Rydwanski is the lowest handicapper in the field, with Rattray and schoolboy Martin Ryley playing off one.

Another former champion, Adam Richards, plays off two, as do Wayne West, Scott Walker, Ashley Reck, Barry Howe and Dean Tipping.

Three markers Sean McGill, Darren McLeod and Shaw, the latter won in 2010, round out the top dozen chances.

The championship will be contested over 72 holes, with 18 played this Saturday and Sunday, and 36 holes the following weekend.

Almost 150 players, in three grades, will contest the club championships.

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