HGQ MEMBER WINS THE WORLD HICKORY OPEN NET CHAMPIONSHIP
Seventy-nine hickory golf enthusiasts from fifteen countries recently converged upon the Troon area of Scotland to compete in The World Hickory Open championship. Two of those competitors were HGQ members Al Grieve and Bruce Collins.
The tournament was played over 3 days on three wonderful traditional links golf courses - Kilmarnock Brassie, Western Gailes and Prestwick ( where the first British Open was held in 1860 and subsequently for the next 10 years). The field was divided up so that some players played each course each day.
Brisbane was probably not the ideal place to acclimatise for Scottish conditions - 60km winds and 12 degree temperatures were testing for a couple of Brisbane lads. Luckily, the hosts were well-prepared for their visitors and wee lifesaving drams of whisky were administered at appropriate intervals.
Assisted by their support group of Lisa (Al’s wife) and Gail ( Bruce’s partner), Al and Bruce played their first round at Kilmarnock Brassie in probably the most benign weather of the three days, though still testing. They both played well, Al coming in with a meritorious 82 off-the-stick and Bruce not far behind with an 84. That put them both in the top five of the gross. Bruce at that stage was in fact leading the nett by a whopping 5 strokes, with Al comfortably in the top 10.
Day 2 was a very different beast … a word not lightly used. Western Gailes indeed blew a gale, and a bitter one at that. After the round Al and Bruce agreed that they had never played in more brutal conditions, and the scores reflected the elements. Al carded a 97 and Bruce returned a 95 to send them both tumbling down the gross leaderboard, and to take Bruce from 5 ahead to 2 behind in the nett.
Day 3 at revered Prestwick presented a kindlier aspect. Al returned a respectable 88, which included a wonderful 39 on the inward nine. Bruce did it the other way round, parring several holes in a row to card a 39 on the way out and held on for a handy 42 coming in. Was it enough to put him into contention to become The World Hickory Nett Champion?
There was an anxious wait until the final scores filtered in from the two other courses.
Finally word came through that Bruce had won the nett by 4 shots ! In fact, their good scores on the last day saw Bruce climb back to 5th in the gross, with Al in 10th spot.
The presentation was held that night with dinner at the historical LochGreen Hotel, accompanied by haggis, pipers and generous nips of Scotland’s finest.