Mitch Williamson has defended his Australian SpeedGolf Open crown at Yarra Bend in Melbourne.
The Orange athlete, who broke the SpeedGolf world record at the same venue in 2015, was again too good for a world-class field, keeping the title he won two years ago in a tight duel with world champion Jamie Young.
Williamson, a former trainee professional who has become a competitive runner, took 81 shots to complete the par-70 layout in just 33 minutes, giving him a SpeedGolf total of 114.
Running four golfers later, American Young was close for most of his round, but in the end a 72 in 43 minutes left him with a total of 115 for second place.
Newly crowned New Zealand SpeedGolf Open champion Steven Holloway was third on a total of 120 after his 77 in 43 minutes.
Nicole Williamson, brother of Mitch, won the women’s division from their sister Carrie, but this time with a nice buffer. Nicole played her round of 92 in 43 minutes, with her 135 SpeedGolf total 22 clear of Carrie (101 in 56 minutes) with Carole Whitehouse (95 in 63 minutes) one further back in third.
In the tough men’s amateur division, Josh Fisher’s 87 in 36 minutes gave him an exceptional total of 123 to narrowly edge American Mike Nelson (73 in 52 minutes) and defending champ Jared Dries (80 in 46 minutes).
Organisers were again thrilled with the depth and competitive nature of the event, enhanced by having back-to-back events with New Zealand on the global tour’s Pacific swing. The 5,490-metre course had a running distance of approximately 7.1 kilometres, slightly longer than in 2015 because a short-cut from the seventh green to the eighth tee was eliminated.
Melbourne club Crosbie Crew provided runners of all levels to match the running skills of the players, record their scores, find balls and rake bunkers.
Very few players carried bags with the trend in Australia to reduce weight by carrying the clubs in hand.
The lowest stroke score of the day was Young’s 72, while the fastest run time went to Mitch Williamson for his 33-minute dash.