Golf: Inaugural Sugar Valley Cup forms part of Newcastle men's order of merit and Hunter women's Beryl Tobin Trophy

SILVERWARE: Club members Chris James and Denis Kibble with the new Sugar Valley Cup. The inaugural prize will be up for grabs at the West Wallsend course on March 24 as part of NDGA men's order of merit and NHDLGA women's Beryl Tobin Trophy. Picture: Marina Neil
SILVERWARE: Club members Chris James and Denis Kibble with the new Sugar Valley Cup. The inaugural prize will be up for grabs at the West Wallsend course on March 24 as part of NDGA men's order of merit and NHDLGA women's Beryl Tobin Trophy. Picture: Marina Neil

IF it wasn’t already, Sugar Valley is about to get put on the map.

Later this month some of the region’s best golfers will converge on the little known course in West Wallsend to play a new event.  

The inaugural Sugar Valley Cup, stop three on the Newcastle District Golf Association (NDGA) men’s order of merit series and part of the Beryl Tobin Trophy women’s pointscore, tees off Saturday, March 24.    

Club member, nearby resident and Novocastrian basketball legend Denis Kibble reckons the revamped nine-hole par-29 course is in “really good condition” courtesy of greenkeeper Dave Johnson.

“It’s really improved over the last five years,” Kibble said. 

“We want to see some of the good players come out and see how they go. I tend to think they won’t find it that easy. It’s a nice flat course, but there’s a lot of tricky holes that fit in with the land they’ve had to go with.”

Spots in the Sugar Valley Cup are limited because players go around the course twice.

Kibble said the morning session was “pretty well booked out” while the second wave from midday remained available.

Meanwhile, the second leg of this year’s order of merit will take place on Saturday in the form of the Charlestown Cup, which also forms part of the NSW Vardon program. Toronto teenager Jacob Dundas took out the Karuah Cup opener last month.

* NDGA secretary Rod Carruthers reckons the “common theme” of this year’s A-grade pennants season has been the “emergence of young players” and that was on show in Sunday’s dramatic final round at Muree.  

Ladder leaders Merewether will now play title holders Waratah in this weekend’s decider after challengers Charlestown were held to a 4-all draw by last-placed Newcastle.

Teenager Josh Robards overcame experienced campaigner Michael Wade 1-up in the surprise result with Charlestown finishing third on the overall standings as Waratah, who beat Toronto 7-1, jumped ahead and qualified for the top-two showdown. Undefeated Merewether easily accounted for Pacific Dunes 7-1.

Carruthers pointed to “up and comers” like Robards, his teammates Harry Atkinson and Oscar Gilson as well as Dundas.  

HOLE IN ONE: Novocastrian Nick Flanagan at the New Zealand Open on Saturday. Picture: Twitter

HOLE IN ONE: Novocastrian Nick Flanagan at the New Zealand Open on Saturday. Picture: Twitter

* NICK Flanagan only qualified for the New Zealand Open last week and narrowly made the cut, however, the 33-year-old Novocastrian made the most of the chance by sinking a hole-in-one.

Unfortunately for Flanagan it wasn’t the designated win-a-car hole at Millbrook Resort, but the ace on the par-three second got him away in Saturday’s third round. 

He followed the eagle up with two more birdies on the front nine and moved momentarily inside the top 10 on the leaderboard.

Flanagan eventually finished tied 45th at 12-under with rounds of 68, 68, 65 and 72. He sat alongside European Tour player Andrew Dodt, who was one off the pace at eight-under after the opening day of the tournament.

Fellow Hunter pair Jake Higginbottom, currently on the Asian Tour, and James Nitties, second on the PGA Tour of Australasia order of merit with $182,101 prizemoney in 2018, both missed the cut.

* DODT will line-up for the $1.75million Indian Open at DLF Golf And Country Club from Thursday. 

* CARDIFF South 20-year-old Blake Windred flies out for the inaugural Major Champions Invitational on Friday. The recent Avondale Amateur winner heads to the US and plays on the team of Australian professional Adam Scott at Bella Collina in Montverde, Florida.