Charlestown's Michael Wade claims Newcastle district order of merit

TWICE AS NICE: Charlestown golfer Michael Wade added the Newcastle district order of merit to his championship win in May. It is the second year the order of merit has been held. Wade earns $500 and a new trophy for his success. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TWICE AS NICE: Charlestown golfer Michael Wade added the Newcastle district order of merit to his championship win in May. It is the second year the order of merit has been held. Wade earns $500 and a new trophy for his success. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

CHARLESTOWN’S Michael Wade thought Waratah rival Mick Coutman had pipped him at the post for the Newcastle district order or merit title after the series-ending Newcastle Cup on Sunday.

Wade was seventh with 80 and Coutman second with a 77, ahead of Chris Turnbull and Bruce Hill on a countback, at Fern Bay. With the results and those from the W.E Alexander at Waratah a week earlier to factor in, Wade and Coutman were unsure who was on top.

Wade was “over the moon” on Monday when told he had won with 1290 points to Coutman’s 1270 in the second annual series. The crucial result came at the W.E Alexander, where Wade took 10th spot – and an extra 50 points on the OOM – from Coutman on a countback. Waratah’s Ben Hillard was third on 1130.

“That’s awesome,” Wade said of his win. “It’s been a really good year and that’s topped it off now.

“I wanted to win it after coming fourth last year. I won the district championships this year as well and I’ve got the club championships on at the moment. They were my three goals for the year, so it’s been a hell of a year.”

Wade is third on even par at Charlestown after the first of three rounds. Brayden Petersen leads at five under.

Two and a half years ago, Wade survived having a blood clot on his lungs and he has since used golf to improve his fitness.

“I’ve just turned 40 so I’m happy I’m still competitive at this stage, but it is down to practice. I’ve put in the work,” he said. “And because of my health issues, I don’t drink any more and it gives you more time to get out there and get the practice done.”

** MORISSET Country Club’s Louise Mullard capped her return to competition with a 12-shot win at the Australian Mid-Amateur Championship last week.

Mullard won the ladies titles at the 30-54 years event at Links Lady Bay Resort in South Australia with a score of 15 over from rounds of 80-77-77 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. She started the final day with a seven-shot lead and grabbed birdies on the first and fifth holes en route to her first senior national title.

A two-time Australian Girls’ Amateur champion in the 1980s, Mullard played professionally overseas for more than a decade and returned to local competition in recent years after a break.

​** Leigh Messner came through under pressure as Nelson Bay claimed the B and C-grade pennants in finals played at Toronto Country Club on Sunday.

Nelson Bay beat Charlestown 5-1 in C-grade but were down 3-2 to Newcastle in B-grade with the match between Messner and John Theaker remaining. Messner won the 18th hole to force a 19th hole, which he claimed to level the overall contest. Messner then beat Chris Wratten on the first play-off hole with a bogey five.

Darren Hancock, Barry Elliott, Lloyd Goodwin, Brian Pobje and Ray Carruthers starred in the Bay’s C-grade win.

** Jake Higginbottom was inside the top 60 on the Asian Tour order of merit after finishing tied 29th at nine under in the Resorts World Manila Masters.

The Charlestown golfer was 56th on the OOM with five events left to secure a top 60 finish and his tour card for 2018.