GRAFTON DRAWS THE CREAM OF LADIES? GOLF
By TONY WHITE
PROLIFIC Ladies May Tournament winner Jean Dahl once said of the game that has earned her legend status: "I used to think golf was a stupid game, hitting a ball and chasing it."
Dahl is still hitting a white golf ball around the fairways at Grafton District Golf Club and even at age 70 and using the 'baseball grip', Dahl still plays the game better than most.
'Amazing Jean' as Dahl has been dubbed and around other 140 lady golfers will take part in one of country NSW's most prestigious and longest-running tournaments ? the Ladies May Tournament.
The five-day tournament commences tomorrow with the Commonwealth Bank Jug, a 4BBB stableford event followed by the main event, the 36-hole Ladies May Tournament for the Ray White Trophy on Thursday and Friday.
It ends on Saturday with a mixed American Foursome sponsored by AC Small Maxwell and Co that has attracted a capacity field of 180 golfers.
This week marks the 41st running of the tournament which began in 1964 and was won by Mrs R McLennan.
From its embryonic stages the Ladies May Tournament has grown in stature with visiting golfers ? this year from over 20 clubs between Caloundra and Sydney ? doing battle with the locals for the major trophies.
Dahl has won the tournament an incredible 13 times (1968-77, 1982, 1985 and 1995). The Dahl family also hold a unique distinction ? Dahl's daughter Sue Reguson (Murwillumbah) won the event in 2001.
Both will return this year as will seven-time victor Gloria Hickey (Coffs Harbour) and last year's winner Dallas McCabe from Murwillumbah.
McCabe's win last year came in dramatic circumstances.
After leading clearly coming to the 16th hole, just three over, she all but dropped her bundle finishing triple bogey, triple bogey, bogey to tie Maree Breen from Shortland Waters on 159.
McCabe won at the second playoff hole.
It was just another chapter in the revolutionary tournament that has become an institution.
Grafton's 2003 heroine, Marlina Rumble, the tournament's youngest winner at 15, will miss this year's event.
Rumble and another strong local chance Samantha White have HSC commitments.
The chances of recording another home town win will be difficult this year with a number of single figure visiting golfers lining up like Robyn Reynolds (Ballina), Andria Glavocih (Ballina) and Adrian Amisano (Murwillumbah) rated highly.
However, Grafton's Dahl, Annette Williams, Jenny Townsend and Melissa Clark, a former outstanding junior back playing golf after recovering from major shoulder surgery, are certain to be prominent particularly in the nett event.
"The course is in great condition and we are all looking forward to a happy tournament," Grafton Ladies president Jan Patterson said. "One of the great aspects of this event is we have people returning year after year, some visitors have been coming to Grafton for around 20 years.
"We appreciate everyone's support."