Rain and favourites fall in Cup
HYPE surrounded the proven pairing of Brock Wooldridge and Roy Howard before the first round of the Wide Bay Australia Burnett Cup on Sunday.
But it counted for nothing as the three-time winning pair bowed out on the final hole against the experienced Bill Ives and Les Stone.
Wooldridge missed a birdie putt on the final hole that would have squared the tie, but it was mistakes earlier in the round that were the difference.
“We didn’t play too badly, just a few bad holes cost us,” Wooldridge said. “Bill and Les played solidly and made a few good putts to stay ahead. They deserved the win.”
It was the biggest surprise on the rainswept Bundaberg Golf Course, but not the only talking point in an eventful opening round.
Professional Craig Swift three-putted the final hole on his home course to send the tie into sudden death.
His partner, Scott Grogan, could not believe what he had witnessed, but their opposition of Nev and Jason Beeston returned the favour by missing a short putt on the 21st hole to keep them in the game.
The four players reached the 23rd before bad light forced them from the course – they will return during the week to decide the winner.
Last year’s winners, Bruce Tree and Ray Austin, had an easy win, while Sean Stuchbery and young Andrew Ikstrums proved their worth by winning convincingly.
“Andrew has been playing very well of late and that pair will be one to watch,” Bundaberg Golf Club captain Geoff Loveday said.
Loveday and Russell Ezzy also exited, and will now compete for the Peter Hitchcock Memorial Plate with Wooldridge and Howard.
There was better news for Brock’s brother, Mark Wooldridge, who progressed with his partner, Kevin Cherry, after leading by four with three holes to play.
“My brother and Kev Cherry had a good win, as did Bruce and Ray, so along with Sean and Andrew I’d say they are the ones to beat,” Wooldridge said.