By Anthony Probert
PERENNIAL Denmark golf champion Marion Nelson made a recent long hike to Northam worthwhile, with a breakthrough win in one of Golf WA’s premier tournaments.
Marion won the 36-hole Provincial Cup for the first time against a tough field, all playing off a sub-20 handicap.
She hit 80 off the stick on the first day of play, then found herself in the leading group on the last day of competition, when she shot 79 off the stick to win.
“I knew I was in with a chance, because I was beating the people I was playing with on the last day,” Marion said.
The tournament was Marion’s first visit to the Northam Golf Club and she clicked her golfing-mind into gear with a quick round the day before the main event.
“I made many mental notes as I went around the course,” she said.
“There was a bit of undulation and a few rocky hazards to keep away from. They had white sand greens. You need special skills to play on them.”
She said the win was exciting but the opportunity to hop in the car for a few days away with a group of friends and catch up with some familiar faces in Northam was worth the trip in itself.
“It was nice to catch up with a lot of people I’ve played with in state events,” she said. “We had beautiful weather, and the club had some rain about three weeks before the event, without which we’d have been hitting in the dirt.”
Marion first picked up the clubs in 1996 and made a smooth transition from Denmark Country Club tennis champion to golf champion.
She attributes her long-running success to the start she made under the watchful eye of past Denmark champions and mentors Ellen Silver, Hazel Kernutts and Di Murphy.
“They were great mentors. The club has always had a good practice of recruiting new members and helping them,” she said.
“We’re here today because of the wonderful people at the club.”
Despite stringing together 22 consecutive Denmark championships and 13 Great Southern district championships, Marion is pretty relaxed at the prospect of one day being beaten, and perhaps passing the baton on.
“Someday, someone is going to come along and play better than me. For now, I continue to enjoy the game.”
Marion will represent Denmark at the Golf WA Silver Spoon playoff next month and compete at Country Week.