ST. THOMAS— As the Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) season comes to an end, the final senior men’s event took place on Sept. 11 at the St. Thomas Golf and Country Club. There were 55 teams of senior men, 55-years-old and over, that took to the course in damp, fall-like conditions for the Senior Men’s Better Ball Championship.
With many great teams taking part, it meant there would be many great scores. By the end of the day there were 16 under par in total. None was greater than that of Collingwood’s Michael Jackson and Welland’s Sandy Billyard who posted the low round at seven-under (65). The difference for the duo came on the ninth hole when Billyard, from Hunters Pointe Golf Course, hit a hole-in-one on the par three.
“It really seemed to get us going,” said Jackson. “Up until then we had made eight straight pars. Sandy played a great round of golf today.”
That seemed to galvanize the team as they went on to play the back nine five-under and finished the day seven-under (65).
“Number nine was the nicest shot I hit all day!” said Billyard. “It was a four-iron, 180 yards up hill. It landed just in the right spot and rolled in like a putt. Mike made a clutch birdie on 17 and that was the winner for us.”
It is the first time that either Jackson, Georgian Bay Club, or Billyard have won the Senior Men’s Better Ball title.
“The win means a lot to me because I haven’t won a provincial event since 1973,” added Billyard. “I’m thrilled! For Mike it is just another notch in his belt.”
“It is always nice to win a tournament but it was especially nice to win with Sandy. We didn’t make a bogey all day and just played a solid game,” said Jackson.
Finishing second was a team from the host St. Thomas Golf & Country Club, Stephen Brodie and John Scott. The two used their hometown knowledge of the course to their advantage finishing six-under (66).
Rounding out the top five was a tie for third between three teams. Richard Evoy (Sault Ste. Marie Golf Club) & Tom Hossfeld (Hylands Golf Club), Ian Montgomery (Weston Golf & Country Club) & Richard Lockwood (London Hunt and Country Club) and Kerry Short & Les Westlake (St. Catharines Golf and Country Club) all ended the day at three under (69).
For the final leaderboard see the tournament site at: http://gao.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gao14/event/gao1426/contest/1/leaderboard.htm
The Senior Men’s Better Ball Championship was first contested in 1982. The trophy was donated by the Oakdale Golf & Country Club, who annually host the GAO’s Men’s Better Ball Championship. Notable champions include Ontario Golf Hall of Famers Nick Westlock and Stu Hamilton. 2014 marks the first year that St. Thomas Golf & Country Club has hosted the event. The GAO would like to thank St. Thomas Golf & Country Club for their support of amateur golf in Ontario.