For golf’s sake just another day of glorious torture


Night owls get straight into the swing of things.

Bill and Tilly Grant managed to lead the first day of the Skyline Golf Classic despite playing on limited sleep.

They only arrived home in Queenstown at 2.30 that morning after attending Golf Otago’s annual awards dinner in Dunedin. Bill is Golf Otago’s president.

Taking full advantage of their 1pm teeoff, the Grants swept the field on Saturday with a net 59, 13 under par, at the Queenstown Golf Club’s Kelvin Heights course.

They dropped to fifth overall after Sunday but were “thrilled with our result”, Bill says.

He and his mother June are club life members, as was his late father John, who developed the course in the 1970s with the late Hylton Hensman. Bill says the Classic’s special because it attracts so many people from out of town.

A Central Otago pair, Marie and Paul Kahukura, won the 30th anniversary event, followed by club stalwart Neville Stirling, who teamed with Brisbane’s Gary Honan, one of several Australians who return each year.

This year’s field of 108 pairs also included three teams from Auckland and one from Nelson who, after attending the New Zealand Open at The Hills near Arrowtown a year ago, booked to come back at the same time.

Although the Open’s now shifted to March, they kept their bookings and played the Classic instead.



Jim has another seniors moment

Queenstown golfer Jim Lapsley will be back with a vengeance for his third European Seniors Tour.

One of 78 golfers chasing 18 cards at the tour’s 2009 qualifying school in Portugal last week, 55-year-old Lapsley wound up 12th with rounds of 68, 78, 69 and 70.

“I blew it in the second round but I came back,” he told Mountain Scene from London. “My putting was really good.”

Lapsley says he’s won a “partial” card, rather than a full one, but it’s better than his category seven status this year – that saw him get into only seven tournaments.

He’s effectively placed 10th for next year because two qualifiers ahead of him can’t join the tour till they turn 50 halfway through 2009.

Last month Lapsley had his best-ever result in two seasons on the tour, finishing sixth in the Italian Seniors Open.

“I’m playing better but not getting into enough events.”

Due home today six months after heading away, Lapsley – who was joined in June by wife/caddie Noeleen – will play the Australian Senior PGA on the Gold Coast next week.

He may start the Euro-Tour earlier next year with new events in Brunei and Bangkok.

His “partial” card is “still OK for the early part of the season”, he says.