Matt sets his sights on three Jaca titles in a row
By TONY WHITE
MATT Worthing, the big man with a silken swing, has won a swag of titles during his golfing career and this weekend at Grafton District Golf Course will attempt to add a third successive men's Jacaranda Open to his impressive portfolio.
And if current form is any guide Worthing will start favourite in the Tooheys/Coca-Cola sponsored 36-hole tournament on Saturday and Sunday.
The Jacaranda Open was inaugurated in 1948 and conducted at the 9-hole course in the centre of Grafton racecourse until transferring to the current Bent Street course in 1955.
Australian golfing icon Greg Norman (1973), representing the Virginia Club from Queensland, is listed among previous tournament winners.
This year 38 players from Virginia, who have been coming since the 1960s, will make the trek to Grafton.
It was in 1960 that the Jacaranda Open boasted 52 players, who travelled by train, including two Eisenhower Cup players, Bruce Devlin and Ted Ball, the latter winning the tournament that year.
And visitor Erroll Fifer, from the Australian Club, had an amazing weekend on the par five 13th that year, with a birdie on Saturday, an eagle on Sunday morning and an albatross in the afternoon, reaching the green with a wood and two iron each time.
Worthing, who plays off one and first won the Jacaranda Open in 1998, recently annexed his eighth club championship when he shot a final round 68 for a four-round total 279 (70, 70, 71,68) to beat perennial club champion Graham Dewberry 291 (79, 71, 72, 69).
Dewberry is also a multiple winner of the Jacaranda Open.
Worthing created a course record 63 in the first round of last year's Jacaranda Open.
His club championship win however, delighted the Grafton Golf Club character.
"I was absolutely thrilled, especially as it's a couple of years since I won it," he said. "I hit the ball exceptionally well, but putted like a goose.
"In the end everything came together over the last weekend. I was rapt."