Nathan Streckfuss has defied the elements and a slow start to win his third-straight Tumut Open at the Tumut Golf Club over the weekend.
Teeing off in miserable conditions on Saturday, Streckfuss played through the rain, finishing with 74 scratch; three shots adrift of Tumut product and Wagga golfer, Charles Talbot, who shot an impressive 71.
On Sunday, Streckfuss and local golfers were treated to glorious conditions but slow fairways and greens, yet Streckfuss hit 72, whilst Talbot capitulated with 77; giving the reigning champion an unexpected two-shot victory and a well-earned hat trick of Tumut Opens.
“I didn’t think I would win at all when I was finished,” Streckfuss said.
“I had 72 on my second round and didn’t think that would be good enough, I definitely thought Charles, being the goffer that he is, would have had something around that and would have held on.”
Streckfuss said it was a trying contest on Saturday, after sitting on par for the first 11 holes, before dropping three shots as his first round came to a close.
“I fell away on the back nine, the grips where wet and I couldn’t hit the ball at full pelt, it was hard to hold the clubs and play golf,” Streckfuss said.
It was a completely different story on Sunday though, with Streckfuss starting off slowly before finishing one over for the round.
“Today (Sunday), I started off terrible, I was three over after five (holes) and then pulled three back before hole nine; I birdied six, eight and nine and went one over on the back nine,” Streckfuss said.
“It was tough being wet on the first day and on the second day there was no run, but that’s golf and I’m just happy I won.”
Streckfuss has made a habit of coming from behind in feature events, sitting two shots behind Keith Dehnert in the 2019 edition, before storming home for a big win and repeating the same dose on Talbot this year.
“My dad always taught me to never give up, I’ve got the length and I know what I can do, I can be harsh on myself, but I just needed to keep focused,” Streckfuss said.
“It wasn’t two perfect scores, but I got it there in the end.”
The win was news to Streckfuss too, who couldn’t stay to celebrate the weekend, heading straight to work after two days of golf.
“I was at work when I found out, but I was really glad,” Streckfuss laughed.
“I honestly didn’t think I would win but that’s golf; anything can happen.”
A humble local golfer didn’t want to fixate on himself too much, but admitted it was a nice feeling to have a hat-trick of local opens next to his name.
“I’m definitely very proud, it feels good knowing that I can do it,” Streckfuss said.
Streckfuss did take time to thank the Tumut Golf Club for offering a course that stood up to the elements and nearly 100 golfers.
“The course held up really good, other than a couple parts of the course and the fact it was definitely wet under foot, it was good,” Streckfuss said.
“Considering it’s all volunteer work, they need a pat on the back, I think the greens are playing the best they have been for a while.”
Golfers play through elements
The annual Tumut Open had 96 golfers tee off on the first hole on Saturday, but by the time it came to the crunch, only 54 golfers played the 36 holes, with poor weather forcing many to call it quits.
Still, those who pushed through were rewarded, with Nathan Streckfuss finishing with a flurry to win the Tumut Open with 146 from Charles Talbot on 148, while Dwayne Murray took out the A-Grade Nett competition with 143.
Adrian Pentland played very well in B-Grade, winning with 73, which was six shots ahead of his nearest rival, Greg Kell on 67.
C-Grade saw Paul Bevan with a three-shot win over Todd Broad, while in the ladies’ competition, Kim Power’s 42 was good enough for the win, while Pam McDonald finished second with 35.
For the second year running, Tom Stewart was crowned the junior champion, hitting 162 for his 36 holes in A-Grade.
Despite the weather, Tumut Golf Club proshop manager Helen Pearce, who organised the event, believes the weekend was an overall success.
“It ran really well and very smoothly,” Pearce said.
“The course held up very well considering how damp it has been and how much rain we had.”
Pearce complemented those golfers who persevered and played through the elements, admitting it would have changed many golfers game plans.
“Those that continued on had to change their whole game plan, as they couldn’t putt as usual,” Pearce said.
“So, a lot of the times, if they were just off the green, they had to chip it over the water instead of putting, as the water was stopping the balls.”
Sunday might have seen better conditions, but Pearce explained golfers were still challenged.
“It was taking a longer club to hit the balls in; the greens were mowed and rolled this morning (Sunday), which made them a lot quicker, but there still wasn’t any run on the fairways because they were still quite wet,” Pearce said.
Pearce, who was thanked by outgoing club captain Ted Clarke for her efforts to get the Tumut Open running as smoothly as possible in tough conditions, said it was getting easier to run the event in her fifth year in the job.
“This is my fifth year doing it, and now we are just getting into a routine and following that through and its working well,” Pearce said.
Tumut Open results
Scratch winner: Nathan Streckfuss 146
Scratch runner up: Charles Talbot 148
Nett winner: Dwayne Murray 143
Stableford winner: Adrian Pentland 73
Stableford runner up: Greg Kell 67
Stableford winner: Paul Bevan 60
Stableford runner up: Todd Broad 57
Stableford winner: Kim Power 42
Stableford runner up: Pam McDonald 35
Tom Stewart 162