Defending Champion Mark Boulton has survived a drama-charged final day to make it back-to-back NSW Mid-Amateur Championships at Bathurst and booked himself a place in the NSW Open at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club this November.
Boulton, the reigning Australian, Victorian and South Australian Mid-Amateur Champion, said qualifying to compete in a Tier One PGA Tour event against players of the calibre of 2017 NSW Open Champion Jason Scrivener and names like PGA Tour winners Rumford, Norris, Zunic & Eccles was one of his golfing goals.
“It’s a career dream to get a foot in the door at a tournament like the NSW Open.
“To get out there with the big guys, I’ll have to get plenty of practice in,” he smiled.
Earlier, on a cold autumn afternoon that saw four players with realistic chances to win over the closing stages, it was Boulton who held his nerve posting a five-over par 76 to take the championship by a shot from local challengers Mark Hale, Andrew Tharle and James Ponder.
Hale, who was in the box seat for much of the back nine, made a disastrous double bogey on the last, while his playing partner Tharle let a knee-trembling one-metre putt for birdie and a chance to make it a playoff slip past.
Boulton, playing in the next to last group of the day, didn’t fare much better, making a bogey six on the 18th. It was enough in the end for the Phillip Island golfer to claim victory, however, and he was a very relieved man after the round.
“It was hard work,” Boulton grinned.
“I started to bogey, bogey, and I thought I was in for a big score today.
“I held it steady on the back nine, so I guess I stumbled over the line.”
Boulton described the feeling of taking out the title back-to-back as ‘awesome’. When asked about the chances of returning and trying for the ‘three-peat’ he didn’t need a lot of convincing.
“It’s a huge achievement.
“It was a strong field, a great course in absolutely mint condition, I’m really excited.
“I’ll have to come back and defend, I’ll do the honourable thing, for sure,” he smiled.
FINAL RESULTS (top 10 placegetters) 227: Mark Boulton (Phiilip Island), 228: Mark Hale (Mudgee), Andrew Tharle (Royal Canberra), James Ponder (Cromer), 230: Daniel Nesbitt (Links Shellcove), Andy Campbell (Duntryleague), Nicholas Crews (The Australian), Justin Hurst (Mona Vale), Jamie Pitt (Windaroo Lakes QLD), 231: Kieth Shepherd (Antill Park CC).