Fresh from victories in the Dubbo Open and City of Orange Championship, and a Veterans’ Trophy win at Parkes, Duntryleague phenom Robert Payne sent a pretty ominous message to his rivals as the region’s Open season ramps up.
He feels like he’s just getting better, improving with age like a fine wine if you will.
“I feel like I’m playing as well as ever after losing some weight,” Payne said, hailing that recent transformation as the catalyst.
“I’ve lost 20-odd kilos this year, I’m hitting the ball further. You know, I was hitting irons in par fives (during the City of Orange Championship) that I was hitting woods into last year.
“I’ve really improved my putting since I’ve dropped that weight. (In the City of Orange event) I was confident of holing putts from 20 feet in basically.
“It’s just onward and upward for me now.”
That’s a somewhat scary thought, considering his already-more-than-imposing record around the region.
His win at Dubbo was his eighth, the City of Orange Championship his 17th from 18 attempts. He’s won 14 Open titles at his home club, a dozen at Wentworth, more than half a dozen at Bathurst and countless others around the central west too.
In 2016 he won on all three of Orange’s courses, completing a clean-sweep with Blayney’s title too, and did all that on a troublesome left knee to boot.
That’s not taking into consideration his Central West District Golf Association pennants efforts, or any of his performances in Golf NSW seniors events either.
The next stage of Payne’s season is at Goulburn this weekend, where he’ll contest the 36-hole Golf NSW Country Championships, which also includes the Inter-District Teams Championship.
After that he’ll look to the Bathurst Open at the end of the month, before the Canowindra, Country Club, Blayney and Duntryleague equivalents in November.
The Wentworth Open rounds out the season on December 1 and 2.
“This is the season I really love,” Payne said.
“If you love playing tournament golf like I do, the next couple of months are just sensational. You’ve got the Country Championships then the three Opens in Orange and Blayney.
“I pride myself on my course management around the three (Orange) courses and everywhere really.”