THE 49th Seaside Classic week of golf will tee off on Sunday at Port Macquarie Golf Club.
The week commences with a medley four-ball best ball stableford on July 24 and concludes with the 49th Seaside Classic Championship over 36 holes on the weekend of July 30 and 31.
The Ladies Championship is also a 36-hole event and will run from July 26 to 27.
Other events include a single stableford for both men and women on July 25, a men’s four-ball best ball stableford on July 28 and a Medley four-ball best ball stableford on July 29.
The Seaside Classic over 36 holes on the final weekend is a Vardon event from the compulsory list.
The Seaside Classic will count towards the senior Order of Merit.
The Ladies’ Classic is a Jean Derrin event which is their equivalent of the Vardon trophy.
The Seaside Classic always attracts a quality field and this year is no exception with entries from all over the state as well as some from interstate.
Many past winners have gone on to make successful professional careers.
The defending champion is Tim Hyland of Bonville who beat Jack Pountney in a play-off last year.
The winning score last year was one under par for the 36 holes.
Hyland is one of only three players to have won the classic in two consecutive years and he will be attempting to become the only player to win three years in a row.
Port Macquarie has a strong contingent of juniors including Jackson Jubelin, Lachlan Richards, Oliver Payne and Tom Biron and it wouldn’t surprise to see one of them do well.
Sam Hutchison is just out of junior ranks and he and his father John are both capable of challenging the visitors.
Phil Pye has won the event twice in the past, Wayne Stewart, who has not yet entered, will be a real threat and other chances include Dave Bagust, Terry Davis, Blake Poulter and Matt Hayes.
There are a number of past winners in the ladies event with strong entries coming from Wauchope and Coffs Harbour.
Last year’s event was won by Jane Horne from Wauchope.
The local challenge will be led by Geri Lavender, Sheena Gunn and young Lily Baker.
The Port Macquarie Golf Course is a challenging layout where the wind has a strong influence on scoring and the course is in excellent condition.
The course record, which stands at 63, was set by Paul Marantz in the 2001 Pro-am and equalled by Nathan Goodchild in winning the 2002 Seaside Classic.
The ladies’ course record of of an even-par 73 was set by Vikki Tutt in winning the 2000 Ladies’ Classic and equalled by Chantelle Hodson in the Australian Schools Championship in 2010.
The Port Macquarie Golf Club extends an invitation to members and visitors to view some of the state’s best golfers testing their skills on the demanding links layout.
A seeded draw will be used for the final round on the Sunday.