In a hot if small field, on a hot if small golf course, Australian Golf Media Association secretary Michael Green won the fourth annual Peter Stone Cup at Massey Park Golf Club on Friday.
In humid conditions by the banks of Exile Bay, 8-marker Green, a member of Links Shell Cove in the Illawarra, shot 5-over for 39 points around the short, tight and testing par-65 home track of the Cup’s namesake.
“I feel very privileged to win this prestigious trophy.
“Some very big names have graced it already,” Green said.
Golf Australia editor Brendan James of Brookvale ran second with 36 points that could’ve been anything after a “Jean van de Velde moment” late in his round.
With the southern hemisphere of his ball submerged in the lateral hazard left of the par-4 17th, James stood over his Hot Dot and pondered several things, notably if the tide was coming in as it had at Carnoustie in 1998.
Yet with playing partner Warren Smith taking photos, offering advice and playing the Craig Parry role, James decided that fortune would not necessarily favour the bold and took a drop, escaping with a bogey-5.
“It was very hittable,” said an onlooker. “And the slow motion video would’ve been all-time.”
James, who set expectations low on the first tee by declaring that he hadn’t picked up a club since February of 2012, also took out the Nearest the Pin on the 5th, his ball sticking just inside Steve Keipert‘s mark of 1286cm.
Smith may have been surprised to run third after shooting 68 in the 9-player golf tournament.
Yet that’s what happened to the Bonnie Doon man who, playing off 2 at the 114-indexed Massey complex, made four birdies in his three-over and 35 stableford points.
Smith said afterwards that his greatest regret of the round was that he couldn’t convince James to have a go out of the hazard because “the slow motion video would’ve been all time solid gold”.
Requests to re-enact the shot – with Smith commentating as if it were final minutes of a deciding State of Origin – were rebuffed by James.
Meanwhile Long Reef member and defending champion Me came in with 34 points.
Playing partner Mark Wilson of Golf Plus Media also scored 34 points playing in a tasteful, stylish, matching polo shirt.
The third member of the three-ball, Keipert, up from Launceston to critique Tom Doak‘s work at nearby Concord GC, began his round with 4-point birdie and 3-point par and looked set to dominate “the Stoney”.
Yet in sticky and “un-Launceston” conditions – indeed it was the second time Keipert had played in shorts in 12 months – the Golf Digest man couldn’t sustain momentum, a six-hole run of fence palings seeing the 5-marker finish with 32 points .
Elsewhere Stone came in with 33 points – nine better than he’d shot the previous day, according to Stone.
And bringing up the rear were 2018 champion Adrian Logue and Clark Gable-moustachioed Jimmy Emanuel with 30 and 28 points respectively.
Afterwards over a tin of Victoria Bitter Stone paid tribute to the winner, to attending members of AGMA’s greater Sydney chapter and to the greens staff of his public-spirited home course.
“Congratulations to Michael on the win – and for organising the day,” Stone said.
AGMA’s greater Sydney chapter, including late-arriving podcaster to the stars Rod Morri, then enjoyed a very fine counter lunch in the Massey Park bistro.
And there over steaks, hamburgers and prawn-tagliatelli surprise, talk centred on the next tournament with Smith agreeing it would be in Bonnie Doon’s interest – even privilege – to host the Stoney in 2022.
39 Michael Green
36 Brendan James
35 Warren Smith
34 Matt Cleary
34 Mark Wilson
33 Peter Stone
32 Steve Keipert
30 Adrian Logue
28 Jimmy Emanuel