GOLF: Grafton Ladies Golf Club is finalising preparations for their main event of the calendar when a host of competitors descend on the regional course for next week's Grafton Ladies May Tournament.
Last minute entries have buoyed the numbers for the four-day golfing extravaganza that will be highlighted by the feature 2Be Nourished and Hanks Kitchen 36 Hole Silver Cup stroke event across Thursday and Friday.
More than 100 golfers will take to the tees for the feature event, while a capacity field of 144 starters will contest the McLennan Deece Optometrist 4BBB event which opens the tournament on Wednesday.
Reigning Silver Cup champion Courtney Fuller will not compete during the tournament this year due to prior commitments, opening the door for a new champion to be crowned at the end of play on Friday.
Last year's runner-up Trish Nance from Coffs Harbour will enter the competition off the lowest marker (4) and will be aiming to go one better in the tournament this time around but she will have plenty of competition including from within her own club.
Three-time former champion and adopted Graftonite Sue Reguson (Coolangatta-Tweed) will again likely pose a serious threat, along with club partner Jodie Rockliff and Armidale's Amanda Carr. But they will first need to go through leading Grafton player Heather Purtill, who will play off a club-low marker of 10, and bring a rich vein of form into the competition.
For Grafton Ladies Golf Club vice-president Julie White, the tournament is an exciting time that seems to come around faster each year.
"It comes around very quickly each year, we think it is Christmas one day and then the next it is May,” she said. "We were a little bit concerned that player numbers may have slid from last year but a few late entries have seen the numbers rise. We copuld go close to the 115 player mark which would be good.”
White admitted the visiting golfers could be in for a bit of a shock when they arrive with the hard Grafton surface proving tough to negotiate in recent weeks, giving the hometown ladies an extyra edge on the day.