WINNER: Eli Richardson at the Eastern University Games last week. The former Pacific Dunes trainee won the event to earn a start at the national university games on the Gold Coast in September.Former Pacific Dunes trainee Eli Richardson will head to the Gold Coast in September for the Australian University Games after winning the qualifying tournament last week.
The 27-year-oldstopped his traineeship two years ago to start a primary school teaching degree at Newcastle University but continues to play weekly competition golf.
He shot 75-75-76-75 at Waratah and Merewether to win the Eastern University Games title by eight shots from University of Technology Sydney’sLachie Robinson.
Wollongong’s James Anderson was another five shots back in third, and Charlestown’s Bryce Pickin, the tournament’s lowhandicapper at -0.3, was fourth.
Richardson,who plays off scratch, was part of Pacific Dunes’ winning A-grade division-two pennant team in March after recovering his amateur status at the end of 2016.He beat Muree’s Peter Gardiner 5&3 in the final.
University games have a reputation for placing as much importance on socialising as sport, but Richardson said the golf tournament was reasonably serious.
“It was pretty good, because there was quite a few low markers who played, a couple of guys from The Australian, so it was a pretty strong field,” he said.
“It wasn’t just a Mickey Mouse thing. Some of them were, but there was a few people who were actually trying to win it.”
He said he had no regrets about ending his traineeship.
“I was really enjoying the teaching side of it, but the pro shop side was a bit boring,” he said.
“I was running all the junior clinics at Pacific Dunes and enjoyed that, and primary teaching was something that I always wanted to do, so I ended up enrolling.
“I always wanted to get more into the teaching side of it.
“I think the reality of trying to make a playing career out of it is a bit of a fantasy unless you’re a superstar these days.”
Queenslander Jed Morgan was head and shoulders above the rest of the NSW Junior Championship field at Shelly Beach and Toukley last week, defending his title by 14 shots.
Morgan wonthe Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation Junior Championships in Taiwan inAugust to secure a start in a professional event on the Japanesetour.
The country’s top-ranked junior also won the Singapore Junior and Northern Territory Open in 2016 and blitzed the Queensland Junior by seven shots two weeks ago, including a final-round 63 at Bargara.
Morgan finished at 11 under over four rounds last week and was the only player under par. Branxton’s Corey Lamb was the best of the Hunter contingent in a tie for 11th at nineover.
Toronto’s Jacob Dundas came closeto a state age title in the 13-years division but lost in a play-off to Ali Rachid (Bardwell Valley).