Fraser, Hassal the front-runners as City of Orange Veterans Classic looms

FAIRWAY FOUND: Shelley Beach's Hans Jeuken rips a drive straight down the middle during last year's City of Orange Veterans Championship. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
FAIRWAY FOUND: Shelley Beach's Hans Jeuken rips a drive straight down the middle during last year's City of Orange Veterans Championship. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Veteran golfers from all over NSW, and interstate, will once again land in the colour city ahead of next week’s 21st edition of the City of Orange Veterans Golf Classic.

Tournament director Dave Gunner confirmed a field of almost 250 will compete across the men's and women’s divisions – with a 134 and 109 split, respectively – at all three of Orange’s courses.

“It’s a good field, although numbers are a little bit down on the last couple of years,” Gunner said.

“But, there’s so many veterans tournaments to play in these days that’s not entirely surprising.

“I’d say it’ll be a really good week, it always is, we’re all looking forward to it.

“Now we just need Mother Nature to play her part. We certainly need some rain out this way, I guess we just want it to hold off until after next week.”

Although he said both the men’s and women’s divisions are “pretty open” Gunner also conceded it’s tough to go past a couple of former champions as favourites.

With reigning men’s winner Steve Bray, from Wentworth, not in the 2018 field, Shoalhaven’s Cameron Fraser will enter the tournament with the short odds.

He last won in 2016, his second title in a row after claiming the 2015 top prize too.

“I don’t think he’s all that confident though, because I think he’s had a bit of work on the old ticker,” Gunner said.

“But he’s still playing off a handicap of two so he must be doing plenty right, and he’s won this event before, so I think he will probably be among the front-runners.

“Definitely with Steve not playing this year, anyway. They tend to have good little battles.”

In terms of the women, the reigning champion is returning with an eye on going back-to-back.

Parramatta-Ryde’s Robin Hassal carded a combined 73 stableford points to win the women’s championship last year.

“Robin won last year and is coming back so she’ll be pretty hard to beat I think, but both the men's and women’s are pretty open competitions,” Gunner said.

“There’s a lot of locals who are playing that good chances across the different division as well.”

Registration on Sunday, March 11 at Wentworth from 2-5pm.

After that the men will play at Duntryleague, Country Club and then Wentworth on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

On the same days, the women will take to Country Club, Wentworth and Duntryleague respectively.

The 54-hole competition finishes on the Wednesday, before the golf is concluded with a friendlier, more social 4BBB medley stableford at Duntryleague on the Thursday.

The presentation dinner follows that, at Orange Ex-Services Club.

Keep an eye on the Central Western Daily for progressive updates and photos.

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