GALLERY: Young golfers shine through on a grey day to qualify for schools golf challenge

FIFTY-FIVE youngsters braved bitterly cold, wet and windy conditions yesterday in a bid to win their way to Melbourne in a local qualifying event for the Victorian Primary Schools Golf Challenge.

Hampered by heavy rain and high winds, participants from five district primary schools hit the Warrnambool golf course fairways in an attempt to snare only a handful of available spots.

Event organiser and physical education teacher at East Warrnambool Primary School John Millard said the foul weather was a shame.

“The conditions make it so much more difficult,” he said.

“Especially when they’re just starting out and learning. It’s unfortunate they have to play in such difficult conditions.”

Eight boys and two girls finished well enough following their nine-hole round to get through to the regional final in November.

“Depending on the scores, we can send up to seven or eight through to the next round,” Millard said. 

“We always send the winner on no matter what, and then look at that (the scores).”

Eleven-year-old St Joseph’s Primary School pupil Will MacKenzie fired a one-under 34 to win the boys’ division. 

He made it to the final in 2013 at Melbourne’s Kooringal Golf Club and finished seventh in the state, but he’s confident he can better that result this year.

Warrnambool Primary School’s Phoebe Marris finished on top in the girls’ category, after the 10-year-old shot 63. After qualifying for regionals last year, Phoebe said she could go one better this time.

“Last year I went to regionals but I came fifth,” she said. She’s hoping the weather will be kinder to her in November, after she jokingly described yesterday as “cold” and said she was having trouble keeping dry.

Other local qualifying rounds are also held at Port Fairy, Terang, Hamilton and Portland, with all top players returning to Warrnambool in November for their last chance to make it to Melbourne.

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