2017 WBC

July 19, 2024
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Greetings all and welcome to the 2017 William Buckley Classic

13th Beach – October 20, 21 & 22

An event briefing will be held after dinner on Friday evening.

Golf on Saturday is on The Beach Course and commence from 11:30am

The Sunday rounds commence from 8:30 am at The Creek Course

Longest Drive and Nearest the Pin will be contested each day.

The organisers of The WBC would like to take this opportunity to thank:

Roger Brown from Focal Point Garden Design for the magnificent Murrangurk Perpetual Trophy;

Billy and the team at the 13th Beach Golf Links;

Denise, Steve and all the team at Heathcote Winery;

Sally Pitt, the Tournament Director’s Director;

All the Members of Bushranger Golf; past, present and future.

Giddy-up and enjoy!

The Golf

The Format: Teams playing 36 holes of 2-ball ambrose for stableford points.

The Rules: Since slow play is a potential problem for us, the rules are designed to encourage play in the right spirit and at the right pace. Teams play their chosen best ball on each shot and may place their ball half a club length (about 50cm) from where the chosen ball lies, no nearer the hole. Balls must be placed in the same cut as the chosen ball. In the interests of fast play from tee to green, teams are NOT required to mark with a tee and precisely measure from the chosen ball as they play each shot. Team members can play in any order on a shot. Please have fun, move quickly between shots and keep up with the group in front.

Putting: Once on the green, Bushrangers should mark near the chosen best ball so all team members play from near enough to the exact same position.

Handicapping: Each team will be assigned a handicap based on official Australian handicaps and information supplied by the Bushrangers. The handicapper will be governed by a commitment to rewarding good play according to a player’s ability.

Playoffs: In the event of a tie, a sudden-death playoff will be held. Teams play together as a twosome (taking alternate strokes playing one ball). Teams can determine the order as each member takes their first shot. This order is then continuous and carries over from one hole to the next until the playoff is decided.

The Rodeo Rule: This is minimum drives for each team member and will be enforced. Each team’s rodeo requirements will appear on their scorecard.

Who was William Buckley?

Born in Cheshire, England in 1780, William Buckley fought as one of the King's Own Regiment against Napoleon's forces in the Netherlands. He was convicted of receiving stolen cloth in 1802 and was sentenced to transportation to Australia for 14 years. He was among 300 prisoners sent out in 1803 to establish the first settlement on Victoria's Port Phillip near what is now Sorrento.

Buckley and two others escaped in December 1803 with the aim of getting to Sydney. Alas, they went the wrong way and circled Port Phillip Bay. Due to the harsh terrain and lack of food, Buckley's companions decided to return to the settlement and give themselves up. But not the determined Buckley. It was the last time any white man would see of him for 32 years.

A powerful man standing over 6'6", Buckley pressed on along the coast to Breamlea, Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and beyond. His first permanent resting place was near Mount Defiance where he found an abundance of shellfish, edible vegetation and natural cover. In the winter, Buckley was close to death but was rescued by an Aboriginal tribe.

Fortunately for Buckley, the locals believed that white people were Aborigines who had come back from the dead. They named him Murrangurk and took him in as one of their own. For the next three decades, Buckley travelled extensively throughout the region, mostly around Geelong, Barwon Heads, and the Otway Ranges. On July 7 1835, Buckley wandered into a camp of John Batman’s party and reacquainted himself with European society.

He was the first European to walk the bush on both sides of Port Phillip Bay, living off the land and on the run from the law. Given that our determined Bushrangers regularly ingratiate themselves with the locals on our trips and that this tournament is played on courses on both sides of the bay, we think it is fitting that this event is known as The William Buckley Classic.

The Form Guide

The Murrangurk Masters – Early in his travels, William Buckley found a spear by a grave near Torquay. It belonged to the respected warrior Murrangurk. The locals believed Buckley to be Murrangurk returned from the dead as a giant white man. The two-player team format and the name of WBC perpetual trophy reflect the lives of these two men combining under one name and each year the reigning champions will play as The Murrangurk Masters.

Richard Fellner (Quigley) & Pete Jensen (PJ) – Having famously completed ‘The Quigley Slam’ in 2016 when he carried his partner all the way to title, Quigley leads the charge here with WBC debutant PJ bringing up the rear as the tail-gunner. One is an excitement machine capable of lighting up the course with dazzling stroke play and the other has no idea of the demands this event makes on one’s skill, nous, wits, courage, character and liver. If they get it together they could tear these courses apart but, given their significant lack of preparation, they will need to produce something very special to contend this week. Long shots.

The Sullivan Bay Ginger Bread Men – Buckley and two other convicts escaped from the camp at Sullivan Bay near Sorrento on December 27, 1803. The others turned back after a few days, but Buckley pressed ahead and stayed on the run for the next 32 years.

Gavan Doran (The Rose) & Dave Warwick (Diesal) – These two dashing stallions come in here with plenty to recommend their chances. The Rose has played more WBCs than any man and they have won 8 BRG Majors between them. With the perfect combo of skill, courage, cunning, wits, erudition, charm, confidence, style, nerve, couture, humour, intellect, chutzpah, lung capacity and liver power, they will be very hard to topple. They are proven big game performers with the ability to take this event by the scruff of the neck and embarrass the opposition with a frenzy of scoring. Super consistent and rock solid in the heat of the battle, look out if they get away to a good start because they will be very hard to run down on the home straight. One of the top fancies here this week.

The Corio Bay Fugitives – Buckley and his two fellow escapees reached the waterfront on Corio Bay at what is now Geelong a few days after escaping. He came to know this area very well over the next 32 years.

Nick Mouhtaropoulos (Moota) & Pete Solomou (Solo) – This pair of golfing superstars are famous for their majestic, sartorial splendour and impressive metrosexual refinement. They have a great deal to recommend their chances, notwithstanding that one of them stands on the wrong side of the ball. Both are ferocious competitors who are driven to get the best out of themselves on the golf course, so they should put in a strong showing if they settle into a good rhythm early. They raise the entire tone of this event and give the field here a finishing polish and touch of class it so richly deserves. Both have a strong golfing pedigree although appear to be a touch under-golfed of late. Moota played one of the great WBC rounds in 2014 to claim this title so he knows how to get it done here. Expect to see them in the thick of it on Sunday.

The Swan Island HackersBuckley and his two fellow escapees reached Swan Island at Queenscliff on New Year’s Day 1804. It was here that the other two chose to return to Sorrento but Buckley refused to give up and made the momentous decision to press on alone.

Adam McCaw (Richie) & Steven Humphries (The Bear) – The 2015 Champs come in here with fond memories of 13th Beach and an entourage of wannabe superstars keen to learn from the masters. They are certainly among the favourites here this weekend and for very good reason. This big-hitting, beer-swilling, gut-wrenching, ball-bursting, rib-tickling, nut-busting, knee-slapping, side-splitting pairing with a devil-may-care attitude believe they can carry all before them once again. One is all business but he will have his work cut out keeping his unruly team mate focussed on the job at hand and the other is a party animal who will need to be on his game to keep his partner rolling through the après-golf festivities and still maintain some momentum on the golf course. Worth a nibble each way.

The Point Lonsdale CavemenAfter parting ways with his companions, Buckley moved on to Pt. Lonsdale where he is thought to have sheltered in a cave for a short time. Buckley’s Cave is still a popular destination for local history buffs and Bushrangers on the lamb.

John Benson (Hedges) & John Coleman (The Medal) – This hard-hitting combo made their debut at the 2016 WBC and is one of the dark horses in the field here this week. Both claim to have been held back by a poor choice of partner last year and, despite placing 2nd & 5th, neither were happy with the result. Having shed their unnecessary baggage, they both seem much happier coming in this week than the same time last year. Of course, who wears the pants remains to be seen and it may be that their uncompromising externalising could come back to haunt them when it matters most. Unproven individually or together so must be rated as one of the roughies here this week. Consider for some trifecta value.

The Barwon Heads Sir Robins – On his first day marching alone, Buckley happened upon a group of Wathaurong people camped peacefully by the Barwon river. Fearing for his life, he silently crossed the river at the heads and bravely ran away.

Darren Nelson (Dazzler) & Dean Connell (Deano) – This unlikely combo of golfing superstars may be the surprise packet of the WBC with their uncompromising good humour, insatiable appetite for destruction, unstable character flaws, dry wit and cavalier approach to good times on and off the golf course. One is a wily old stager who has played in about as many BRG weekends as anyone here and the other is a newcomer to the scene who has made a big impression on the SGA Tour. Can this veteran and rookie combo find the perfect balance of youthful enthusiasm and sage experience to prevail here this week? Perhaps not, but it will sure be a lot of fun watching their bandwagon come steaming round the home turn with wheel nuts loose, nostrils flaring, flanks sweating and eyes popping out their heads as they come crashing towards the finishing post.

The Bream Creek Freaks – Buckley cruised past 13th Beach and crossed Bream Creek the next day. Later he returned and it was here he built a substantial hut and lived for many years on the abundant supplies of food, including the fish he trapped in the creek.

Ian Steer (Steery) & Peter Guille (PG) – This robust and uncompromising pairing has all the attributes to vault themselves into contention here this week - tonnes of competition golf experience, dapper good looks, unbridled enthusiasm for the contest and the strength of character to take their opportunities when the chance presents and hold sway when the going gets rugged. Expect big things from them both on and off the course as they attempt to rampage their way to the podium and add an illustrious WBC title to their already glittering resumes. If Steery can keep his mind off the Caulfield Cup for long enough on Saturday and focus on the golf, this super competitive pair could be worth a nibble with your friendly neighbourhood SP bookie. A huge chance.

The Aireys Inlet Slicers – As his situation became more wretched as he trekked alone, Buckley found clear water at Aireys Inlet and much needed food. He built his first dwelling near here, a primitive hut of which Maslow would have been proud.

Corey Kelly (Mr Cheese) & Peter Calverley (The Cavalry) – The Wallace and Gromit of the BRG Major Championships, one is a cheese-loving raconteur and creator of culinary masterpieces, the other is a wise but low-key type who has a finger on the pulse and does a bit of eyeball-rolling at his mate’s shenanigans. They are right in their element at this event as they share Buckley’s desire for a good feed. They are no doubt seeking to compensate for Buckley’s years of starvation by embracing the opportunities for outstanding gastronomic delights. Will need to get off to a good start as three days of culinary festivities can tend to retard their abilities on the golf course. Hungry for victory but need to be careful they don’t totally satisfy their appetites before the golf gets serious on Sunday.

The Torquay Hookers – Buckley camped on the banks of Spring Creek at Torquay during his solitary march through the district in 1804. It was here he picked up the spear from the grave of Murrangurk that later would be his saviour.

Steven Jurisic (Stevie J) & Kirk Hayward (Wayward) – A couple of very handy golfers from The SGA Tour who have shown some form in the shorter version of the game but have no idea of the demands that will be placed on them at this level of golf. They are amongst the lowest markers here and have the character, golfing skill and the good humour to match it in this company, but a complete lack of experience at the highest level will surely find them wanting. Will need to jump from the barriers on Saturday morning and clear out to a massive early lead if they are to have any chance of holding off the challenges from their more fancied opponents. Look for a stronger showing at the after-golf activities than anything they can conjure on the course during the day. A long shot here and really just making up the numbers in their maiden run together at this level.

The Mount Defiance Alliance – At Mount Defiance just past Lorne, Buckley found a cave with fresh water and food nearby and made it his first permanent home, living there for several months through the autumn of 1804. As winter set in, he began to struggle and decided to make the long trek back to Sorrento.

Jason Pratt (JP) & Sal Amenta (As a mental) – It is the first start for this pair in a field of this quality but they come in here with a reputation as big-game players with a thirst for the spotlight. A very easy-going combo, they know how to handle themselves at the between-round festivities and will make a strong impression around the WBC campfire. Although relative unknowns here, their connections are hugely confident that they will comfortably see out the journey. If that mail is correct, then this pair is as close to a sure thing as ever there was. They are not just the Best Bet - go and pick out the bookie you most want to take to the cleaners, bet the farm and then just sit back & relax & wait for the riches to start rolling in.

The Swan Island Hackers – Buckley and his two fellow escapees reached Swan Island at Queenscliff on New Year’s Day, 1804. It was here that the other two chose to return to Sorrento but Buckley refused to give up and made the momentous decision to press on alone.

Simon Lovett (Simmo) & Nathan Smith (Kiradech) – If trophies were handed out for knowing how to have a good time then these two bodacious units would need extensions on their pool rooms to house all the silverware. If late nights, good food, quality refreshments, jocularity and wholesale liver punishment were the criteria that the bookies framed the market on BRG Major Championships, then these two shy and quiet wallflowers would be absolutely unbackable favourites here this week. This couple of flighty stallions will certainly have a good time between rounds and must be given half a chance of getting amongst the action on the leader-board on Sunday arvo if they get their games going.

The Port Phillip Procrastinators – For many years Buckley had heard reports of visits to his local region by groups of Europeans and he had always avoided them. He worried about if he would be punished or pardoned and whether he could assimilate again having forgotten his native tongue and even his name. So he dithered, dawdled, equivocated & prevaricated for years until finally taking the plunge in 1835.

Joel Matthews (Montclaire) & Roger Templer (The Knight) – These two devious reprobates must be respected and regarded as a massive chance here if they can briefly curb their inter-round activities and stay away from any large sheets of glass. It may be that their heinous commitment to jocularity and a bi-partisan appreciation of the good times on offer at the BRG weekend festivals de ambrose means their competitive juices have all but flowed downstream by Sunday afternoon. If they don’t burst a few valves on Sunday morning and start leaking oil all over the track, then expect to see them come flying home at the finish. These big-game performers will put on another spectacular show and, as always, deliver great value to their backers.

The Indented Heads – It was at Indented Head in 1835 that Buckley, after 32 years in the wilderness, decided to return to European society when he walked into the camp of John Batman’s exploration party. Standing 6’ 6”, dressed in possum skins and carrying a spear, a driver, 5-iron, wedge and putter, he made quite a first impression.

Brian Davis (The Postman) & Dave Morris (Son of Fridge) – This Jekyll and Hyde combination are capable of serving up anything worthy of Palmer and Nicklaus right through to something more resembling Laurel and Hardy. Their golfing ability is not in question as they can whale the pill all over the park. The trick for them is somehow harnessing their rabid commitment to the social aspects of the weekend and sometimes over-indulging in the good times and camaraderie on offer. They certainly have their priorities right and are a good chance to winkle themselves into contention. They may just have the perfect mix of wily experience and youthful enthusiasm to get the job done here. A big chance to surprise.

The Coonewarre Revivors – It was near the banks of Lake Coonewarre, a short walk north of the 13th Beach Golf Links, that two local women found the weak and starving Buckley. They thought he was the ‘white ghost’ of Murrangurk and nursed him back to health.

Yvonne Grant (Better Half) & Andrew Grant (Other Half) – First start for this combination in a field of this quality and there are huge question marks over whether they will handle the step up in class. Have both been plying their trade in SGA Tour events, but fronting for the WBC is an entirely different proposition. The long days toiling on the golf course and the even longer nights around the campfire singing songs, spinning yarns, making merry, telling gags, goofing off and getting involved in general, common or garden-style Bushranger shenanigans can take their toll on even the most battle-weary competitor. They will back themselves and come out swinging early on, but expect them to find them gasping for air by Sunday arvo and requiring some medical attention after having been completely overwhelmed by the intoxicating adventure of the WBC!

The Point Addis Bashers – During his life among the Wathaurong tribe, Buckley travelled and lived along much of the Surf Coast. They moved with the seasons for meetings and ceremonies with other tribes and Point Addis was a regular haunt for some ripping corroborees.

Jodene Tuau (Two-Oh) & Dennis Williams (Den) – This pairing of cracking sorts are at very short odds for the award of nicest folks playing this week. If there was such an award. Alas, the unscrupulous rogues and highwaymen who run BRG do not hand out the WBC trophy on the basis of gentility of character. They are as keen as any of the golf nuts here but, as WBC debutants, they have no idea of the demands this event makes on one’s skill, nous, wits, courage, character and liver. They certainly have the pedigree to handle this step up in class, but they may not have the ideal preparation coming in here. They can both give the pill a decent whack and will back themselves to do some damage but they really seem to be a long shot here and probably just making up the numbers.

The Otway Rangers – During his 32 years roaming around the Surf Coast, Buckley rambled and ranged for 1000s of miles including crossing the Otway ranges many times and travelling as far west as Lake Corangamite and as far north as Ballark.

Sharon Morrell (Shazza) & Steve Morrell (Mozza) – This belligerent pair of hardened golf-nuts are making their BRG Major Championship debut here. Better known for their inland experience, they have travelled further than most to be here and may struggle to adjusting to a costal golfing environment near the banks of Bream Creek. They do add a touch of class to a field that is already glittering with golfing superstars and they will be looking to make a name for themselves here this week. Rumoured to be of a jocular nature, they will need to pace themselves to ensure that they have enough in the tank at the business end of the weekend, both on and off the golf course. A wildcard in the deck and not the biggest roughies here this week, they will certainly be backing themselves, even if no one else does. Could surprise.