Today saw the action start in the NSW Open and what a day of golf!
The golf was underway when I arrived and after setting up my computer in the media centre, I coated myself in sunscreen, grabbed my hat and hit the fairways. As I hadn’t been on the back nine, I headed to the 18th and watched Jeffress, Price and Lyle hole out then head off to the 1st.
I checked my tee sheet and was pleased to see Brett Coletta coming through as I had chatted to him earlier in the week and wanted to watch him play. He dropped his birdie putt on the 18th and was -7 through 9 holes having started on the 10th.
Not a bad start!
A quick check to see who was in the next group and I smiled seeing it was Zac Murray. I had told Zac and his caddy, Oscar, I would snap some action shots while he was playing and tweet them to him.
I followed Coletta to the 1st, watching him, Allenby and Millar tee off and followed them down the fairway. Allenby had landed in the bunker on the right and I was a little amused to see people walk right up and stand on the edge of the bunker to watch his shot.
Only some fairways were roped off to keep the spectators away – the 1st was not one of them.
I watched Millar drop his eagle putt own the 1st and tie with Colletta at -7. I then stayed at the first and had a golf chat with Gerry (a volunteer on the 1st) while Murray played the hole.
I snapped a couple of photos and followed Murray’s group to the 2nd tee watching for snakes before I hurried down the fairway catching up with Coletta’s group again.
Coletta is so calm and collected. Nothing phases him. When Allenby pushed his putter away in disgust after missing his birdie putt on the 4th, Coletta lined up, sunk his birdie and strolls off to the 5th tee, making golf look like the easiest game in the world.
This took him to -9 and then I watched him sink another birdie on the 6th for -10. He just missed his final putt on the 9th finishing his round and equalling the course record with a -10.
Not a bad day at the office.
My phone was nearly dead and as I headed back to the media centre, Gerry (the volunteer from the 1st) caught up with me and gave me a pen and some fundraising ideas. I then checked the tee sheets after seeing Pearce on the 1st and hurried down the fairway to watch Jason Norris tee off, just beginning his round.
Jason and I exchanged salutes, I snapped two photos and went back to the media centre to get out of the sun and charge my phone.
I had a golf chat to some of the fellow media and ate the quinoa cakes I made last night before grabbing my umbrella and heading back out on the course.
I caught up with a couple of gentlemen who were enjoying a cold beer as they wandered, watching the golf. Steve and Andrew are part of the Cutters Crew (Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club members) and I then spent the next couple of hours with them.
I was initially heading out to find Norrey but instead hung out with the Cutter Crew watching long drive champion Jamie Sadlowski and bit hitter Lincoln Tighe duke it out. I must say Mueck can certainly hold his own.
I heard the story about the creation of the course (designed by Greg Norman) and how the dead tree in the middle of the 5th fairway was requested to be removed by Greg as he didn’t like dead trees on his courses and yet there it is.
Snakes are commonplace and there are certain parts of the course they frequent which Andrew happily pointed out as we meandered our way around.
I met Pat the Postman and a few other guys (don’t recall all their names), Graham, Cameron and of course Steve and Andrew. I hung with the Cutter Crew while we followed the big hitters marvelling at their skill.
On the 4th we watched Saslowski’s ball vanish (we assumed in the water) and when he teed it up again he smashed a ball approx 33om into the woods. I must admit we looked at where it went in and I initially opted to steer clear of the snake territory but after numerous people were stomping around in it, I also helped look for his ball.
He hit a great ball out just as a spectator beside me choked on a fly.
I might have giggled as he spat wildly.
We followed the boys to the 7th where they were then held up as another group were only teeing off, so I said my farewells to Andrew and Steve, headed back to the media centre, grabbed my gear and headed home.
Tomorrow I am teaching golf at Greenwell Point Primary school with kindergarten as my first class. I look forward to sharing my passion before returning to watch the business end of the golf start on Saturday.