A nearly full field will take to the fairways this weekend for the Blayney Open, with 68 golfers set to line up for the club’s annual championships.
Robert Payne is the favourite to take out the open after being in scintillating form to start the season, with Mal Gregor one set to challenge him on the fairway.
Blayney Golf Club stalwart and former winner Tony Smith will be another one on the fairway this weekend, but while some of the giants of the Central West will clash, Smith said he’s certainly not expecting to come home with the trophy.
“It’s another game of golf to me,” he said.
Smith had a hit-out at Orange Ex Services’ Club this weekend gone, and while he didn’t want to elaborate on his Saturday performance he said he was hitting them “pretty well” on Sunday.
However, he said the course could trip a couple of unsuspecting golfers up.
“I’m expecting to go okay but it’s a tough course, the greens are very sharp,” Smith said.
“They’re the hardest part of the course.”
Smith’s been golfing at Blayney for over two decades, with his time in the sun as winner of the open some time ago – he doesn’t recall which year he won it – but still enjoys knocking around the fairways of the Central West.
“I’m just going out to enjoy myself, I haven’t got any high expectations,” he said.
Although Smith admitted it was hard to go in with high expectations considering Robert Payne will be playing, with the virtuoso having won at Wellington and come second at Canowindra in recent months.
“Robert Payne will be the favourite,” he said.
“There’ll be a few golfers – about a dozen – who usually come down from Orange and we might get the odd few from Bathurst as well.”
Defending champion Mark Hale hasn’t been confirmed to return to Blayney to defend the crown he won in 2017.
Mudgee golfer Hale won the tournament last year ahead of Payne with a 107, two ahead of his nearest rival, with Payne’s club-mate Rob Parfett, who shot 110 in what were described as difficult conditions on the course.
It also looks unlikely James Conran will make an appearance after playing the NSW Open in Sydney this week.
Conran finished 55th in the NSW Open last weekend after hitting three under par, 17 shots behind winner Jake McLeod.
The Blayney Open kicks off on Saturday at Blayney Golf Club, with entries to be confirmed on Friday.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE SPORT?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...