After winning in 2022, both Ben Tatt and Olive Spitty have defended their Northern Victorian Triple Golfanza Championships played at Cohuna on Saturday, Barham on Sunday, and culminating with the final round at Kerang on Monday. The 50th staging of this prestigious event saw a full field playing at both Cohuna and Kerang, with the rolling start at Barham having 170 players participate.
For Ben, who hails from Belvoir Park Golf Club, this was his 6th title after winning in 2009, 2011, 2019, 2020 and 2022. Olive, a member at Kerang as well as Commonwealth in Melbourne, won her first Golfanza last year and was keen to defend her title this year. Her rounds of 77 at Cohuna, 76 at Barham and 76 again at Kerang saw her win by an amazing 26 shots from her closest rival. Ben, on the other hand had to come from behind, after scores of 81 and 76, to be 6 shots behind Malcolm Barnes from Neangar Park after two rounds. Ben’s 72 at Kerang saw him leapfrog Malcolm and eventually have a 5-shot margin at the end. Congratulations to both champions in the 50th staging of this popular event.
The organising committee also celebrated the 50th anniversary with a dinner at Barham Golf Club on the Sunday evening attended by past winners and current players. It was pleasing to have attendees Marion Smith (Cohuna) and Doug McKnight (Barham, formerly Kerang) who both played in the first Golfanza in 1974 and were winners of the event. Marion won in 1978, 1979 and 1983, and Doug won in 1982 and 1985. Other grade winners were in attendance, along with a large contingent of current players.
The weekend was a great advertisement for the quality of the local golf courses and the players were ecstatic with the local hospitality. Some of the players have been participants in this event for 30 years or more and certificates were presented at the dinner for all players who had been loyal supporters of this annual event. All clubs are to be congratulated on their course presentation, quality of the conduct of the tournament and the friendliness offered to all. Large contingents of players come from Melbourne Airport, Goonawarra, Cardinia-Beacon Hills, Belvoir Park, Neangar Park, Mooroopna and Rich River to support this three-day event, and vow to be back next year and the year after, to compete in this unique tournament.
- Northern Victorian Golfanza Champion 2023 – Ben Tatt 232. Ladies Champion – Olive Spitty 229.
- Mens Handicap winner – Richard Te Whare (Goonawarra) 222 nett. Ladies Michelle De Saulniers (Beacon Hills) 211 nett.
- The Men’s B Grade winner was Brian Kingma (Beacon Hills) 104 points and the runner up was Alan McAuliffe (Mooroopna) with 99 points.
- In the C Grade, Lewis Whitehead (Rich River) with 103 points was the winner, with Ian McGlashan (Mooroopna) scoring 100 points to be runner up.
- The Ladies B Grade was won by Suzzanne Barker (Moonah Links) with 106 points from runner up, Marj Dodd (Mooroopna) on 99.
- In C Grade, Maree French (Beerwah) was the winner with 90 points from Donna Guille (Neangar Park) on 89.
At the presentations on Monday at Kerang, tournament co-ordinator, Howard McClelland announced that he would not be continuing in the role in 2024 and welcomed Liz Thynne from Cohuna, who is going to take on the responsibility of the tournament on behalf of the three clubs. ‘Aldo’ has done the job for 28 years, commencing in 1996, after the clubs decided that the event could not continue unless a tournament secretary could be found. The tournament has gone from success to success over the years, with full fields each day and the clubs reaping the financial rewards of conducting this very popular weekend.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 16 March 2023.
Related story: Tatt and Spitty 2022 Golfanza Champions