BENDIGO’S best golfers will take part in the annual Victorian Country Golf Championships in Melbourne next week.
The full week of golf encompasses a 36-hole individual event to be played at Settler’s Run and Royal Melbourne golf clubs, as well as a five-match round robin matchplay series.
As part of the match play section, the Bendigo team will compete in the top division and vie for the Bendigo Bank Shield.
With nine players taking part in each contest, spots are up for grabs depending on form leading into the first round.
Bendigo will contest matches against Goulburn Valley, Ballarat, Peninsula, West Gippsland and North Eastern District, with matches being played at Victoria, Keysborough and Long Island Golf Clubs.
Bendigo District Golf Association Country Week team manager Peter Williamson is confident the team has what it takes to win the shield for the first time.
"We have a standout number one player in Lucas Herbert and a host of players in form who can fill any playing spots from number two to number nine,'' Williamson said.
"We are confident we can go one better than last year.
"In recent years we have finished in the top three, so the players are very clear on the level of sustained play required to be successful.
"We believe we have a very balanced team, with the perfect blend of youth and experience to do well’.
Player profiles at www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au
Lex Johnstone (captain). Club: Axedale GC. Age: 49. Handicap: 0. 30th Country Week. An experienced Country Week competitor whose consistency and reliability will be helpful in the middle-order.
Brent Rothacker (vice-captain). Club: Bendigo. Age: 32. Handicap: 1. 4th Country Week. An outstanding ball striker with a great combination of length from the tee, a great short game and consistency. Has considerable experience on Melbourne courses and will be a great asset near the top of the order.
Liam Anderson. Club: Heathcote. Age: 32, Handicap: +1. 15th Country Week. Liam has been one of Bendigo’s best golfers for many years. With considerable Melbourne experience, Liam has an excellent record against some of the state’s best golfers. Liam is a well organised, technically correct player whose friendly nature hides his fierce competitive nature. Liam is sure to play well in the top/middle order.
Eric Barclay. Club: Neangar Park. Age: 19. Handicap: +2. 4th Country Week. Eric is an excellent young player. Possibly the longest hitter in the team, Eric also possesses an excellent short game, with chipping and pitching his key strengths. Eric has the chance this year to stamp himself as one of the best young golfers in country Victoria.
Tim Daykin. Club: Neangar Park. Age: 41. Handicap: 0. 7th Country Week. Tim is a very steady player, capable of building pressure on opponents through making no mistakes. Tim is very accurate from the tee and a great putter from inside 3m . This is Tim’s first Country Week for a number of years and he will bring great strength and reliability to the middle-order.
Garth George. Club: Kyneton. Age: 26. Handicap: 1. 9th Country Week. Garth has played Melbourne pennant for Gisborne with a high win/loss ratio over the past 10 years. Garth’s excellent short game, strong iron play and meticulous shot preparation ensures that he is competitive in all matches. Garth has an excellent Country Week record and looks set to build on that this year.
Lucas Herbert. Club: Neangar Park. Age: 17. Handicap: +4. 3rd Country Week. World ranked under-18 junior, with significant national and international experience. Will play at the top of the order and is one of the favourites to win the individual Victorian Country Champion title. Lucas is an outstanding putter and a precision iron player. With significant matchplay experience in Melbourne, Lucas is sure to perform well.
John Howorth. Club: Castlemaine. Age: 19. Handicap: 4, 2nd Country Week. John is an up-and-coming player who competed very well in BDGA pennant this year. He showed great potential in first year of Country Week last year. A very determined competitor who backs himself on course. Will be a great team member.
Kurtis Lynch. Club: Neangar Park. Age: 15. Handicap: 3. Country Week rookie. Kurtis was recently crowned BDGA Division One Player of the Year after winning 5 ½ /6 matches. He showed poise to clinch the division one pennant flag for his team by winning a pressure packed match on the first extra hole last Sunday. Kurtis possesses an excellent short game and has considerable length from the tee.
Hayden Nielsen. Club: Axedale. Age: 29. Handicap: 2. 6th Country Week. Hayden has an excellent Country Week record, particularly in tight matches. Hayden won 5/6 pennant matches playing at number two in the recent BDGA pennant season. An accurate driver and an excellent iron player, Hayden’s consistency and fierce determination will be a valuable asset for the team.
Ray Tatt. Club: Belvoir Park. Age: 36. Handicap: 3. 5th Country Week. With considerable experience on Melbourne’s sandbelt courses, including pennant seasons with Victoria Golf Club, Ray will provide experience and steady play in the middle-order. Ray is an excellent driver of the ball, with both length and accuracy and a great long iron player. Ray’s determination will see him fighting all matches to the very end.
Team Manager – Peter Williamson, Axedale GC and district representative. Team Liason Officer – Rohan Dawkins , Quarry Hill GC and district representative.